EGS Lecture Programme

Our varied programme of illustrated lectures runs from October to Easter, on Wednesday evenings. These meetings are open to the public, there is no charge, and visitors are most welcome.

Speakers and topics are carefully chosen to provide interest for both the amateur and professional geologist. These meetings also provide an informal opportunity to chat to other members, and find out more about geological sites from local experts. At the annual Fellows’ Night, members give accounts of their own geological interests, specimens or travels.

Our lectures are broadcast live on Zoom, with the same link for each lecture. If you are not a member, please contact Angus Miller ( for details.

Information about the lectures, including more detailed abstracts where provided, are available below.

Lecture Programme 2022-23 The Geological Society of London are producing a new (5th) edition of The Geology of Scotland, which is due to be published next year. In the 20 years since the last edition, there have been many significant steps forward in understanding the geology of Scotland. To celebrate this significant milestone, the new edition forms a prominent thread through this year’s lecture programme. Following an overview talk from the editors in November, we will have lectures delivered by key authors contributing to several chapters of the new book.

Graham Leslie, Lectures Secretary

The lectures usually take place in the Hutton Lecture Theatre in the Grant Institute of Geology, The King’s Buildings, James Hutton Road, Edinburgh EH9 3FE.

EGS Evening Lecture Programme 2022-23

Scotland’s Fossils

Full details –

Prof Bryne Ngwenya, Professor in Microbial Geochemistry and Head of the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinbugh

Our planet, health and wellbeing: Microbiological approaches to protecting the environment and feeding the world

Metal contamination of the environment is a major anthropogenic problem caused by mining, farming and manufacturing. Biology provides alternative solutions to physicochemical methods of remediation but the underlying mechanisms are debatable while the metals also pose a challenge to the organisms involved. This lecture will explore examples exploiting different microbial metabolisms to the clean-up and detoxification of zinc. The first example uses microbial biomineralisation to precipitate zinc from a stream contaminated by mining. The second example uses plants and bacteria to remove zinc from contaminated soils, and offers a way to optimise micronutrient bioavailability from cereal-dependent populations of the global south.

Bryne Ngwenya is a Professor of Microbial Geochemistry and also Head of the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. He studied Geochemistry at the University of Reading for his first degree, and stayed on to do a PhD on the geochemistry of phosphorus and lanthanides in rare carbonate igneous rocks called carbonatites.

Following failure to land a real job with British Gas as an analytical chemist, he moved to Edinburgh for a post-doctoral fellowship on the diagenetic and geo-mechanical responses of oil reservoirs to hydrocarbon production. He eventually joined the academic ranks, founding the Microbial Geochemistry Laboratory with funding from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council. His work has been supported through grants from NERC, EPSRC, EU FP7 and Oil companies.

Current research efforts focus on: (i) development of theoretical models for predicting metal interactions with microbes and their impact on metal mobility in soils and sediments, (ii) understanding how microbes control structure and types of biominerals that form as a result of microbial metabolism, and (iii) unravelling the role of microbes in bioavailability of traditional and emerging pollutants to higher plants/animals.

Dr Tom Dodd, British Geological Society

Insights into ancient deep-lacustrine sedimentary systems: turbidite fans and clastic injectite systems of the North Falkland Basin, South Atlantic

Like their deep-marine counterparts, ancient deep-lacustrine basins preserve important sedimentary successions, but are comparatively less-well understood. They contain multi-scalar heterogeneity, including depositional and post-depositional processes and products. It is important to understand their contained heterogeneity as the ancient deep-lacustrine bedrock is utilised for a wide range of applied purposes across the globe. This talk explores aspects of deep-lacustrine turbidite fan deposits, hybrid event bed models (Dodd et al., 2022), and associated post depositional clastic injectites (Dodd et al., 2020). The presentation showcases high-quality 3D seismic, wireline, and core from the Early Cretaceous North Falkland Basin, South Atlantic.

Figure 1. The Beverley Fan System of the Early Cretaceous North Falkland Basin (from Dodd et al., 2022)

Reference: Dodd, T.J.H., McCarthy, D.J., Amy, L., Plenderleith, G.E., and Clarke, S.M. (2022) Hybrid event bed character and distribution in the context of ancient deep-lacustrine fan models. Sedimentology, 69, 1891–1926.

Prof Rob Strachan, University of Portsmouth and Dr Martin Smith, British Geological Survey (retd)

A 5th edition of “The Geology of Scotland” – what’s new?

The 1st edition of “The Geology of Scotland” was published in 1965 and it has been updated at regular intervals until the tour de force 4th edition published in 2002 under Nigel Trewin’s leadership. Over 20 years later, is there a need for another edition? The answer to this is a definitive ‘yes’! In this talk we will summarise the main advances and research questions in Scottish geology that have emerged as the 5th edition has been compiled from a wide range of authors from academe, the BGS, industry and government. It is to be published in full colour by the Geological Society in 2023 and will be a further essential purchase for all afficionados of Scottish geology.

Dr Maarten Krabbendam, British Geological Survey

A new stratigraphic framework for the early Neoproterozoic successions of Scotland
(Moine Supergroup no more)

The advent of modern dating techniques has, in recent decades, provided much better timing constraints on the deposition of Neoproterozoic sequences in Scotland, in Greenland and Svalbard. This has shown that the Neoproterozoic evolution of this north Atlantic province is dominated by three tectonic episodes: the Grenville-Sveconorwegian orogeny, the Renlandian orogeny and the rifting and formation of the Iapetus Ocean. In Greenland and Svalbard, Neoproterozoic sedimentary rocks can be divided into three ‘megasequences’, constrained by the three major tectonic episodes. In northern Scotland, however, the classic subdivision of Torridonian and Moine is at odds with these megasequences: a new stratigraphic framework is thus necessary.

The oldest megasequence in Scotland is the newly named Wester Ross Supergroup, comprising the Iona, Sleat, Torridon and Morar groups of the Scottish mainland and Inner Hebrides, and the Westing, Sand Voe and Yell Sound groups in Shetland. These units were deposited c. 1000–950 Ma within a foreland basin to the Grenville Orogen.

The second megasequence is the newly named Loch Ness Supergroup consisting of the Glenfinnan, Loch Eil and Badenoch groups of the Scottish mainland. These units were deposited after the Renlandian orogeny between c. 900–870 Ma and record Knoydartian orogenesis c. 820–740 Ma.

The Dalradian Supergroup in the Grampian Highlands and Shetland belongs to megasequence 3; it was deposited c. ?800-480 Ma and records the opening of the Iapetus Ocean, ultimately leading to deposition of the passive margin Cambrian–Ordovician Ardvreck and Durness groups in the NW Highlands.

Fellows’ Night

This meeting, close to the anniversary of the foundation of the Society, is a chance to meet other members informally, with refreshments served from 6.30pm, followed by a series of short talks given by members. This year Fellows’ Night will be at our normal lecture venue: the Grant Institute, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh – upstairs in the museum.

All welcome – but you must book in advance via WebCollect –

If you would like to give a short talk on a subject of interest to members, please email Chris Lofthouse on

Prof Tony Prave, University of St Andrews

The Neoproterozoic Dalradian Supergroup: revisited, revised, refined

Although polyphase deformed and metamorphosed, the Dalradian Supergroup nonetheless contains a rich record of Neoproterozoic Earth history. During the past several decades, researchers have begun reconstructing that history by differentiating deformational features from those that inform on original depositional frameworks. This talk will present the latest such findings and ideas about the Dalradian Supergroup and how they are revising and refining understanding about the timing of its formation and evidence for breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia and opening of the Iapetus Ocean.

Image – Typical Dalradian exposure: deformed, covered, yet rich in Earth history.

Clough Medal Lecture: Prof David J A Evans, Dept of Geography, Durham University

Quaternary glacial geology and geomorphology: applications of modern analogues to reconstructing glaciations

Like the interpretation of the rock record pertaining to any geological period, the reconstructions of former Quaternary glaciations (palaeoglaciology) and the characterisation of surface materials and terrains in glacierized basins must be informed by a sound understanding of modern process-form regimes. Significant advances in this arena emerge from the compilation of glacial landsystems or holistic models of sediment-landform associations, which can be employed in reconstructing the extent, dynamics and impacts of former ice sheets and glaciers. Using modern glacier environments as case studies, this presentation will demonstrate how our developing knowledge of glacial geomorphology and sedimentology has contributed to palaeoglaciological reconstructions in Britain and further afield.

Dr Steven Hollis, Lecturer in Ore Systems
School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh

Closing the Iapetus Ocean: Late arc and ophiolite formation in the Grampian orogeny and implications for UK mineral potential and metal security

The Grampian orogeny marks the first phase of the closure of the Iapetus Ocean in the British and Irish Caledonides during the Late Cambrian to Middle Ordovician. Widespread metamorphism and deformation of passive margin sequences resulted from the accretion of several arc and ophiolite complexes (and outriding microcontinental blocks) to the continental margin of Laurentia. These remnants of that now closed ocean extend across Scotland and Ireland, into Newfoundland and Quebec. The Tyrone Igneous Complex of Northern Ireland represents a young, structurally dissected c. 484-480 Ma ophiolite and c. 473-464 Ma volcanic arc. Extensive fieldwork, geochemistry, isotope analysis (Sr-Nd), and U-Pb zircon geochronology have provided us with a detailed understanding of its tectonic-magmatic evolution, and potential metal endowment. Equivalent sequences in the Newfoundland Appalachians contain some of the most metal-rich massive sulphide deposits globally. Exploration efforts in Co. Tyrone have revealed numerous encouraging occurrences of base (Cu-Zn-Pb) and precious (Au-Ag) metals crucial for the energy transition, and also occurrences of energy critical metals (e.g. Co, Bi, Te). Parallels between the Tyrone Igneous Complex and the Ballantrae Ophiolite Complex will also be discussed in this presentation, highlighting the possible mineral potential of western Scotland.

Dr Alison Monaghan, Dr David Millward, Dr Tim Kearsey, British Geological Survey

The Carboniferous of Scotland: advances in the last 20 years

The Carboniferous geology of Scotland records fundamental global changes in climate, plant and animal evolution and plate tectonic configurations. In this talk we will use a time slice framework developed for the 5th Edition of ‘The Geology of Scotland’ book to highlight significant advances in our understanding in the last 20 years. These include the early Carboniferous adaption of vertebrate animals to live on land for the first time, integrated onshore-offshore paleogeographies and development of oblique-slip basins and volcanism through the welding of the super-continent of Pangaea, to the start of its break-up.

Ballagan Formation in the Tweed Basin: fluvial channel cut and fill into interbedded siltstone, fine-grained sandstone and dolostone alongside the Whiteadder Water at Edington Mill [3894 6548]. Photo: D Millward

Prof Bruce Levell, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford

Snowball Earth? The significance of recent work on the Neoproterozoic glacial sediments of the Port Askaig Formation

Recent work by a multi-disciplinary team led by Tony Spencer has resulted in a wide range of new data from the PAF. Much still remains to be understood. This talk details new findings and addresses the significance of these data with respect to: understanding the Dalradian Supergroup as a whole, the lower boundary of the Cryogenian, and the larger issue of what these, probably Sturtian, rocks tell us about the functioning of a “Snowball Earth”. Comparison with Quaternary successions also raises other discussion points. These include the operation of the preservation filter in glacial sequences, origin of cyclicity, and non-actualistic phenomena.

Christopher Jack, COWI

The interplay of engineering geology and rock engineering in the development of the Coire Glas project

The Coire Glas hydro pumped storage project is under development in the Great Glen in the Highlands of Scotland. This huge c.1.5 GW scheme will more than double the UK’s pumped storage capacity. In this talk Chris will present the engineering geological and rock engineering work that is being carried out during the exploratory phase of the project by Stantec, COWI and SSE, including mapping, ground investigation and an exploratory adit to assist with the design and the risk management of the project, which will be constructed within the Great Glen Fault Zone and the Tarvie Psammite Formation.

EGS Recorded Lectures 2022-23

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EGS Recorded Lectures 2021-22

Our YouTube Channel | Lectures Playlist

EGS Recorded Lectures 2020-21

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