News

The latest news and information from EGS, including updates on our excursion and lecture programmes, and any other news we think you might find interesting or useful. Please let us know of anything important that we could share with others, by email or using our Contact Form.

Port Askaig 2020 – Workshop at St Andrews 12-13 May 2020

Cryogenian glaciation: the extraordinary Port Askaig record and its comparators
12-13 May 2020, University of St Andrews
www.portaskaig.org

This international conference is designed to allow full presentations of the results of a long-term field campaign on the 1100 m thick Port Askaig Formation focussed on the extraordinarily complete exposures in the Garvellach Islands and Islay. Presentations will include virtual fieldtrips. The meeting will be a research workshop and will be webcast.

Presenters include Roger Anderton, Doug Benn, Dave Chew, David Evans, Ian Fairchild, Mike Hambrey, Dan le Heron, Bruce Levell, Emrys Phillips, Catherine Rose (convener), Graham Shields,  Anthony Spencer and Richard Waller.

The purpose of the meeting is to allow full presentations of results from an intensive research programme by the convenors and collaborators since 2012 on the Port Askaig Formation (PAF), together with cognate contributions from other Quaternary and Cryogenian experts. This will ensure evaluation and discussion of the significance of the Port Askaig Formation as an exceptional exemplar of glacial sedimentary history. This meeting represents an important step in the preparation of a proposed new Geological Society of London Memoir on the PAF.

Further information and registration at www.portaskaig.org.

How Edinburgh's rocks were formed

School Poster – Edinburgh’s Rocks and People

EGS school poster - Edinburgh Rocks and PeopleWhat makes Edinburgh special? Lots of different factors make a city, but one key feature that most visitors to Edinburgh notice is the dramatic landscape of the city centre. This is a landscape of rocky crags, cliffs and steep slopes surrounded by lower, flatter ground. It is derived from a mix of different kinds of rock – sedimentary and igneous.

Our Edinburgh’s Rocks and People poster for schools is designed to give an introduction to the rich story of Edinburgh’s dramatic landscape. The A2-size poster will be distributed for free to all secondary schools in the Lothian area. We are also developing accompanying online material, including suggested activities exploring these themes:

Edinburgh’s Rocks – what kind of rocks do we find in Edinburgh? How have they been used by people?

Evidence from the past – what do Edinburgh’s rocks tell us about the past? Where was Edinburgh when these rocks were being formed? What did the world look like then?

Making Edinburgh’s Landscape – how has the landscape been formed? What has been the impact on Edinburgh of the Ice Age and changing sea level?

James Hutton & the Rock Cycle – The Edinburgh geologist James Hutton (1726-1797) proposed that the Earth operated as a machine, where natural processes acted over immense time scales to erode the land and create new rocks. This was the beginning of our understanding of the rock cycle and the inter-relationships between sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks.

Local Geology Leaflets

Geoconservation Leaflets - Edinburgh Geological SocietyThe Lothian and Borders GeoConservation Group has published over 30 leaflets about sites around Edinburgh. From St Abb’s Head on the Borders Coast to the Bathgate Hills in West Lothian, just about every important geological site in the area has a leaflet explaining a bit about the geology of the site, and guiding you to key exposures where you can see the best of the geology of this area.

The leaflets are all available as free pdf downloads – or for a small donation, they can be sent to you through the post.

 

 

Saving & sharing the Charles Lyell Notebooks

The Edinburgh Geological Society is delighted to support the successful campaign, launched by the University of Edinburgh, to save Charles Lyell’s notebooks. The 294 notebooks record in remarkable detail the life, travels, thoughts and ideas of this significant historical geologist. The Society pledged a donation towards the purchase of the notebooks, which were due to be sold abroad. A temporary export bar gave the University and supporters the opportunity to raise the necessary funds to purchase them. Over 1,100 supporters pledged to save the historic notebooks. The purchase price was originally set at £1,444,000, but reduced to £966,000 thanks to a restructuring of tax liability. With the full funds now pledged, the notebooks will be purchased by the University, who have promised to make them as accessible as possible as quickly as possible. You can follow progress on the University of Edinburgh’s Library Blog – libraryblogs.is.ed.ac.uk/lyell/

EGS Public Lecture: The Secret Life of Carbon

Wednesday 23 October 2019, 7 pm at Dynamic Earth

The role of carbon in the atmosphere is well known, but what else does carbon get up to as it cycles through Earth systems? Find out from experts about the role of carbon in soils, rivers and the oceans.

Speakers

Susan Waldron, Professor of Biogeochemistry, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow. Susan is an expert in the peats of Scotland and the role of carbon in soils and rivers.

Tom Wagner, Professor of Earth System Science, The Lyell Centre, Heriot Watt University. Tom will talk about carbon and nutrient cycling from land, through rivers to the oceans – in the modern environment and in the past.

Dick Kroon, Regius Professor of Geology, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh. Dick specialises in scientific ocean drilling, exploring relationships between long-term climate change and carbon cycling.

Venue: Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AS. Parking is available in the Dynamic Earth underground car park (charges apply).

Tickets £5, free for students and under 18s. Tickets available on the door, just turn up!

Recognising Scotland’s Geological Heritage: introducing the Scottish Geology Trust

The Edinburgh Geological Society fully supports the creation of the Scottish Geology Trust, a new, national charity that will promote and celebrate Scotland’s geology and its value to society, and encourage its conservation. This initiative arose from a meeting of interested parties hosted by EGS last autumn, which included all of Scotland’s geological societies, the Geoparks, universities and museums, geoconservation groups and the Scottish Geodiversity Forum.

The new organisation will offer opportunities for EGS to collaborate with other organisations on projects of national importance, to build on and expand the work of the Scottish Geodiversity Forum and support Scotland’s Geoparks. The Scottish Geology Trust will be a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation and a membership organisation, seeking subscriptions and donations from individuals and organisations. There is strong potential to raise money, for example from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, for significant projects that promote Scotland’s geology and specific sites of national/international importance. Updates will be available on www.scottishgeology.com and the new organisation will be launched in spring 2020.

Saving Charles Lyell’s notebooks for research

Edinburgh University has launched a campaign to to save Charles Lyell’s notebooks, which record in remarkable detail the life, travels, thoughts and ideas of this significant historical geologist. The Society has pledged a donation towards the purchase of the 294 notebooks, which are currently in private hands and were due to be sold abroad. Thanks to the level of support already offered, the bar on the export of the notebooks has been extended until 15 October 2019. This is now the final deadline to save Lyell’s notebooks. The price has been set at £966,000 and the University of Edinburgh is making good progress in raising the funds required. If you would like to donate, or find out more about the notebooks and plans to make them fully and freely accessible for the first time, visit www.ed.ac.uk/giving/save-lyell-notebooks, or come along to David McClay’s lecture on 16 October.

Photography Workshop Holyrood Park: Sunday 8 September 2019

This informal, outdoor workshop will explore techniques for taking geological photographs. It will be led by Jason Gilchrist from Edinburgh Napier University. No previous experience (in photography or geology) is required, just turn up with any camera. We will take a short walk experimenting with taking photographs at different scales – landscapes, outcrop and close-up details. Participants will be encouraged to submit their photos for future newsletters and the EGS website. If there is enough interest we will arrange a follow-on indoor workshop in the autumn.

Sunday 8 September 2019, 10am – 1pm
Meet outside Dynamic Earth, bring a camera, good footwear and warm waterproof clothing

Booking essential – contact Alison Tymon (how to book).

The Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club at Dynamic Earth’s Destination Moon Event

The Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club has revived and fostered the craft of the lapidary – the engraving, cutting, or polishing of stones and gems; with the objective to encourage an interest in natural minerals and in the crafts and craftsmanship that relates to them.

From Friday 19 – Monday 22 July 2019, the club will put up a display of lapidary work and minerals / materials related to Space, Earth’s Crust, and the Destination Moon at the event in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing at Dynamic Earth.

The Scottish Mineral & Lapidary Club is situated in Leith, and a lot more of information about its work can be found on the club’s website.

 

Charles Lapworth plaque unveiled in the Borders

Charles Lapworth plaque unveiled in Galashiels

A plaque has been unveiled to commemorate the life and works of the eminent geologist Charles Lapworth LL.D., F.R.S. (1842-1920) at the old Episcopal School in Galashiels. The listed building now housing Border Council’s offices was originally the school where Lapworth was headmaster between 1864-75. He moved to the Borders to teach from his original home in Berkshire. He married Janet Sanderson in 1869 and had four children, three of whom were born in the school house.

The unveiling on 20th May 2019 was done by children of the local St Peter’s Primary school in Galashiels. The efforts to erect the plaque were made by retired local residents and geology enthusiasts, Malcolm Lindsay and David Adamson.

Lapworth is a name which is long associated with Southern Uplands of Scotland. He did his initial research while living locally, but it was not until he moved to Madras College, in St Andrews in 1875 to continue his teaching career that he began to publish his defining work on the distribution of extinct organisms called graptolites. In 1879, he suggested the name “Ordovician” to describe the period between the Cambrian and Silurian ages, a name which was duly accepted across the world. Sir Edward Bailey, the Director of the British Geological Society and Professor of Geology at Glasgow University, later described Lapworth’s interpretation as “one of the miracles of science” and later said that “Lapworth grew up to be, perhaps, the greatest geologist who ever lived”. This plaque is therefore a fitting commemoration to the important time spent by Lapworth both teaching and researching in the Borders.