2018 EGS Public Lecture – What the Ice Age ever do for us?

At this time of year, its good to reflect on our successes as a Geological Society. This year we held our 2018 Public Lecture event at Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh on 21st November 2018. The event attracted around 150 people of all ages. Our topic was the Ice Age and we heard from three excellent speakers – Prof Emrys Phillips and Dr Carol Cotterill (both BGS Scotland) and Dr Tom Bradwell (University of Stirling). This event was our 2nd major public lecture in recent years https://www.edinburghgeolsoc.org/public-lecture/

Landscape and the human psyche – by Dr Carol Cotterill

During the interval at this event, a rolling slide show was presented giving an artistic interpretation of the landscape.  The work was put together by one of the speakers, Dr Carol Cotterill.  We thought that people may not have had a chance to view this in full and so a pdf download is now available.  Please note that the contents are copyrighted to Dr Cotterill, we would therefore encourage anyone who wants to make use of the material to contact Carol directly. https://www.bgs.ac.uk/staff/profiles/6747.html

Thanks again to all who contributed to this year’s successful 2018 Public Lecture.

Secrets of the Philosophers’ Stone unveiled by Physicians’ College

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh is revealing the secrets to finding the Philosophers’ Stone, as part of its new public exhibition – Searching for the Elixir of Life: The mysteries and legacies of Alchemy – which looks at the ancient tradition of alchemy that stretches back thousands of years and was a mysterious early version of science and spiritualism. This is the first time in 337 years that the college’s fascinating collection of alchemical books and manuscripts has been put on public exhibition. The display will include the College’s Ripley Scroll – one of only 23 surviving copies anywhere in the world, and the only one in Scotland. The scroll uses symbols and illustrations to reveal the steps needed to create the Philosophers’ Stone.

The exhibition is free to attend and open to the public from 10am-4.30pm Monday to Friday, until summer 2019, at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 9 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ.

Further information about the exhibition on the Royal College website.

Obituaries of Society members

Did you know that the Edinburgh Geological Society publishes obituaries of members in our Annual Reports? Annual Reports from 2006 are available as pdf downloads here. The obituaries of significant figures in the Scottish geological community and the Edinburgh Geological Society are also published on our obituaries page. We’ve just added a lovely obituary to Henry Emeleus, who died in 2017.

By Kim Traynor - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21286316

Vote Geology – Update

Prof Robert Jameson (1774-1854)

The results of the voting for the National Library of Scotland’s conservation project #Rescueme closed on the 8th September. Three objects in need of conservation treatment were displayed in the Library, and the public cast votes in person and online for their favourite (Ref. Vote Geology). In total 253 votes were cast, and the clear winner with 112 votes was the pair of geological maps produced by Prof Robert Jameson (Professor of Natural Sciences at the University of Edinburgh in the 19th Century). These 150 year old maps will now be conserved by one of Library’s conservators, Shona Hunter, and the treatment will be showcased through a series of blogs, tweets and short films, before the completed maps go back on display at the Library later this year. Thank you to everyone who voted geology!

We will continue to follow the story in subsequent news items.


Evening Lecture Season Kicks-off

First EGS lecture in the newly refurbished Hutton Lecture Theatre, University of Edinburgh

The 2018-19 Evening Lecture Season started on Wednesday 10th October at the newly refurbished Hutton Lecture Theatre, Grant Institute of Geology at the University of Edinburgh.  A large audience came together to hear Professor Roy Thompson (University of Edinburgh) talking about Scotland’s Energy Trilemma.  The talk ranged across a range of energy sources, always with a neat geological/geophysical angle, climate change and the environment.  Prof Thompson richly entertained his audience with the latest news on the subject and ensured that we all went away better informed for the future. He has published a blog post about his lecture, including a downloadable pdf of his slides, at https://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/thompson/Blog/

The lecture set a high standard for forthcoming lectures, the next one of which will be held on the Wednesday 24th October (7.30pm) when Dr Graham Leslie (BGS) will speak on What place for world class geology in future Singapore.

Finally, a reminder of EGS’s Workshop on North West Highlands Geopark to be held at the Methodist Centre at 25 Nicholson Square, EH8 9BX on Saturday 27th October 2018 between 11am and 3pm.  Tickets to be purchased in advance, from https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3620756


Pentlands Geology Walk – Sunday 4 November 2018

Join Victor Partridge from Forestry and Natural Heritage at the City of Edinburgh Council for this guided geology walk: From Fire and Ice. Come and find out how the Pentland Hills were created from volcanoes and glaciers on a moderate low-level 7 mile walk.

Meet: Threipmuir carpark
Time: 10:30-14:30
Bring: Sturdy footwear, waterproofs, packed lunch and a drink
Cost: £10 per person (concession £5). Over 16s only.

Please book by phoning 0131 529 2401 or email – pentlandhills@edinburgh.gov.uk

EGS Workshop: The North West Highlands Geopark

Saturday 27 October 2018, 11am – 3pm

The North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark spans 2000 sq km of mountain, peatland, beach, forest and coastline north of Ullapool, including some of the most well-known and important rocks in the UK.

This half-day workshop, organised by the Edinburgh Geological Society  will focus on the work of the Geopark, explore the historical development of ideas about thrusting and mountain building and give an overview of the modern understanding of the Moine Thrust Belt. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in geology to find out more about the Geopark, the UNESCO Global Geoparks network, and the geological story of one of Scotland’s most iconic regions.

Students exploring the geology of the Moine Thrust Belt at Knockan Crag. Photo: Rob Butler


Date & time: Saturday 27 October 2018, 11am – 3pm

Venue: Southside Community Centre, 117 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9ER. The venue is a short walk from Waverley Station.

Tickets: £15 (£10 students) including lunch. Booking essential – reserve your ticket at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3620756

From 10.30am – registration / refreshments
11am start Welcome from Bob Gatliffe (EGS) and Pete Harrison (NWH Geopark)
11.15am Current understanding of the Moine Thrust Belt (Rob Butler, University of Aberdeen), followed by questions and discussion.
12:15pm Lunch.
1:00pm Historical ideas of thrust faulting and mountain building, developed in the North West Highlands (Rob Butler, University of Aberdeen), followed by questions and discussion.
2:00pm The North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark. What is the Geopark, what does it do, how can we all support it (Laura Hamlet, NWH Geopark), followed by questions and discussion.
3:00pm finish

There will be stalls from other organisations, loads of resources to browse and plenty of opportunity for informal discussion.

Find out more:

North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark

51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology – including Smoo Cave, Scourie Bay and Laxford, Loch Glencoul and Knockan Crag NNR

Midlothian Science Festival 6-20 October 2018

The Midlothian Science Festival is a two-week annual festival that aims to reach and inspire audiences of all ages in science. Its bold, engaging and exciting events take place in libraries, mills, churches, centres of learning and even a superstore and 90% of events are FREE! You can find out more on the Festival’s website at www.midlothiansciencefestival.com but here are details of events with a geological flavour:

Sunday 7 October 2018 12.30pm and 2.30pm from Vogrie House, Vogrie Country Park
Lost limestone quarries of Lothian
A walk with a geologist from Edinburgh University will reveal Midlothian’s long lost past tropical climate and the long lost industry of making lime for agriculture.
For all aged 12 yrs+          BOOK ONLINE FREE

Wednesday 17 October 2018 11am to 3pm at Dalkeith Library and Arts Centre
Dino & Rocks
Explore the fascinating world of a prehistoric time. Dig deep for fossils, create your own models of geological processes such as plate tectonics and erosion, and see a glacier in action! Learn about different rocks from around the world, from the high Himalayan mountains to the volcanos of Iceland. Create your own rock pet, plant your own jurassic fern, make your own dino feet, and discover where in the UK you can find dino footprints and fossils!
For all          DROP IN FREE  

Thursday 18 October 2018 2pm – 3pm at Penicuik Library
Exciting Eruptions
Come see our giant volcano erupting and have some seismic fun making your own papier maché erupting volcano to take home using kitchen ingredients!
For families          DROP IN FREE 

Friday 19 October 2018 4pm – 7 pm at IKEA, Loanhead
Let’s Explore Earth
Join Dynamic Earth and the National Museum of Scotland to explore the wonders of our planet. Investigate renewable energy with the National Museum, and get hands-on with building wind turbines and testing solar panels. And then take part in Dynamic Earth’s ‘Operation Earth’ programme and help to solve some of the challenges facing the land, air and oceans of our precious planet.
For all          DROP IN FREE 

Saturday 20 October 2018 10am – noon in Roslin Country Park
Rocks: a record of a swampy past
Midlothian was once a tropical swamp – and the evidence is in the rocks. A walk in Roslin Glen with a geologist from Edinburgh University will reveal all.
For all aged 12yrs+        BOOK ONLINE FREE

Siccar Point Energy supports namesake landmark

Neil Mackenzie (EGS), Bob Gatliff (EGS) and Doug Fleming (Siccar Point Energy) with one of the new signs.

A Scottish Site of Special Scientific Interest of global significance in the history of geology has received a boost from UK oil and gas company Siccar Point Energy. Named after Siccar Point in the Scottish Borders, the oil and gas operator has formed a partnership with Edinburgh Geological Society to back its efforts to improve the visitor experience around the remote site.

Siccar Point is famous as the site where, in 1788, Edinburgh based natural scientist James Hutton found the decisive evidence he sought for his Theory of the Earth – the never-ending cycles of creation and destruction that shape our landscape today. This theory overturned the last vestiges of the Biblical account of a world shaped by the receding waters of a universal flood. Controversial in its day, Hutton’s work is now a foundation stone in the science of geology. Siccar Point Energy has provided funding to replace two interpretation boards and print 20,000 leaflets about Siccar Point and James Hutton. (You can download the leaflets here.)

CANCELLED Volcano Fun Day, Holyrood Park Edinburgh, Saturday 6 October 2018

We are very sorry to say that, due to circumstances beyond the control of the organising group, Volcano Fun Day 2018 has been cancelled. We are extremely disappointed about this, given the number of volunteers and organisations involved in this superb event. Volcano Fun Day will return!

Saturday 6 October, 11am – 4pm

The eight annual Volcano Fun Day is coming up, and every year it’s bigger and better! Join us for fun-filled, hands-on activity day to learn about Edinburgh’s volcanoes.

No booking required, contact the Holyrood Park Ranger Service for more information rangers@hes.scot or 0131 652 8150.