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.

Written Evidence

The Future of the UK Oil and Gas Industry

Professor Roy Thompson of the University of Edinburgh has supplied written evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee Inquiry (at Westminster) into The Future of the Oil and Gas Industry. This evidence comes as a follow-up to his article in The Edinburgh Geologist (Autumn 2017) on ‘Can fracking, for gas and oil, power the Scottish economy?’.  His key point is that, despite the North Sea being a geologically well-studied, mature oil-province, surprisingly large discrepancies remain over best estimates of oil and gas reserves. Estimates currently vary between 4.8 and 80 billion barrels of oil equivalent (bboe) for the UK continental shelf. This corresponds to a difference to Scotland’s economy of about $4 trillion – assuming approximately 90% of the oil lies in Scottish waters and commands an average price of $90 per barrel. His recommendation is that in order to determine the likely size of the UK’s ultimately recoverable oil and gas reserves, a poll of stakeholders be conducted, asking each to provide a quantitative, evidence-based estimate of economically viable production potential.

Written Evidence

Preserving dinosaur footprint sites in Scotland

Sauropod footprint on Skye. Image courtesy Steve Brusatte.

The Edinburgh Geological Society has been contacted by Dr Neil Clark (Curator of Palaeontology, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow) regarding a campaign to raise £5,000 to undertake mapping of some new dinosaur footprint sites in Scotland. The new locations will it is claimed add significantly to the understanding of Middle Jurassic dinosaurs. The funding is to go towards the purchase of suitable drone to help with the mapping and photographic record of the footprints as well as 3D software to undertake referenced measurements of the rate of erosion from stormy seas in future years. The funding will also support student engagement in the project with transport and accommodation costs. A number of researchers from both Scottish Universities and Institutions are involved in this exciting geoconservation project.

The project has created a crowdfunding site for those interested in offering financial support to the project.

For further details, please contact

Front cover of guide

Moine Guide – reprinted 2018

News from our Publications Sales Officer, Don Cameron is that the Moine Guide has now been reprinted.  He has a good stock of guides available for EGS members at the reduced price of £14.40.  The non-members rate is £17.99.  Please contact Don if you would like to purchase a copy.

Front cover of guide

Front cover of Moine guide


New_EGS GSG Perth

EGS / GSG joint trip to Perth, Saturday 30 June 2018

The annual joint field trip with the Glasgow Geological Society took place to Perth City and surrounding Kinnoull Hill on Saturday 30th June 2018. The visit was led by Con Gillen (EGS) and examined both the Devonian volcanic and sedimentary rocks (Lower Devonian) of the surrounding area. The later rocks being famous for supplying the source rock for the Stone of Destiny. In addition, the trip also included ample opportunity to see the wide range of building stones used in Perth City Centre. The large group, approx. 30 members enjoyed the expert guidance of Con (along with the impressive work of those who compiled the Perth Excursion Guide). The splendid sunny day enabled us to capture the group in the Rodney Gardens, Perth – where lunch was had. The day also ended with a lovely high tea to round off another great field excursion.

New_EGS GSG Perth

EGS / GSG Perth 30 June 2018 (by Beverly Bergman)

Edinburgh Building Stone

From quarry to quoin: a conservation guide to stonework – training session Tuesday 19 June

This CPD training session on stonework is one of a series organised by Edinburgh World Heritage. These are opportunities for conservation architects, planners, students and any other interested parties to learn about specific aspects of the management of the built environment of the World Heritage Site.

It is taking place on Tuesday 19 June, 9am-1pm at Walpole Hall, next to St Mary’s Cathedral in the West End. Tickets are on sale now, with a discount for EWH members.

As the saying goes, we aim to leave no stone unturned when it comes to discussing stonework. The event will explore all aspects of stonework from the quarry to the workshop and beyond. It will be an opportunity to learn about the life-cycle of stone, how it is utilised in conservation work and how best it can be maintained and preserved. There will also be the chance to learn from the masons at St Mary’s Cathedral with a practical workshop demonstration. The RIAS is happy to recommend this event to its members, and it is recognised by the IHBC for CPD.

Speakers and their topics include:

  • Marcus Paine, Hutton Stone: Quarries
  • Katie Strang, Scottish Lime Centre: Geology
  • Luis Albornoz, British Geological Survey: Stone matching
  • Christa Gerwilker, Historic Environment Scotland: Stone conservation approaches
  • Maggie Tennant, St Mary’s Cathedral Workshop: Health and safety when working with stone
  • Jordan Kirk, St Mary’s Cathedral Workshop: Practical demonstration
  • Fiona MacDonald, Edinburgh World Heritage: Grants case study

Friends of Hugh Miller AGM in Edinburgh, Saturday 16 June

Image by Elekhh – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Friends of Hugh Miller are embarking on an ambitious “relaunch” including of our internal structure and external activities, and an element of this expansion is the decision to move our next annual meeting from Cromarty to Scotland’s capital for the first time in our twelve year history. All members and friends welcome!

The AGM takes place on Saturday 16th June, 10.30am at the Scottish Poetry Library 5 Crichton’s Cl, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. It is purposefully arranged to take place on the same day and at the same venue as the Awards ceremony for the winners of the second national Hugh Miller Writing Competition, in which we are one of the partners.

We are specially inviting individual members of our affiliates to attend our AGM including members of Edinburgh Geological Society, which was one of the grant funders for our successful conference last September, “The Old Red: Hugh Miller’s Geological Legacy”.
At the meeting, we will be displaying specimens from a newly donated collection of fossils found on the North East coast of Scotland, including in local deposits at Cromarty and Eathie, as well as a rare Miller artefact. Full details of the meeting will be included in the next edition of our newsletter, Hugh’s News Issue No 35,Summer 2018,  which will be emailed to our members and posted on our website

Antarctica: Thwaites Glacier meltback threatens global sea levels

Scientists from the USA and UK are launching a long term study into the history and present status of the massive Thwaites Glacier located in the remote and inhospitable western Antarctica. A detailed examination of the bedrock below and the climate above the glacier will be undertaken to further understand what has happened in the past and what may happen in the future. This is the result of meltback measurements showing the glacier to be receding at a rate which could, if not slowed down, result in global sea levels rising by more than a metre in decades rather than centuries.

The British Antarctic Survey team will drill into the ice and the rock below to measure isotope levels to establish whether climatic changes were affected by the glacier in the past while the survey vessel Sir David Attenborough will deploy its remote submarine to measure undersea currents and temperatures.

The following link is a podcast download of BBC Radio 4 ‘Inside Science’ from Thursday 20180503 where the first ten minutes follows the UK and US scientific leaders involved in the study and provides a good insight to the programme.

book cover

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

The Rise and Fall of the DinosaursAn exciting new book about the dinosaurs is published this month (May 2018). Written by Dr Stephen Brusatte, Reader in Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Edinburgh, The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs sheds new light on this amazingly successful group of reptiles which flourished for 150 million years. Steve is one of the new generation of fossil hunters, armed with cutting-edge technology, such as CT-scanning, who are working to fill the gaps in the dinosaur story. He follows the dinosaurs from their beginnings in the early Triassic period, through the Jurassic period to their eventual extinction by the end of the Cretaceous period, about 66 million years ago. Along the way he sheds light on some of his own discoveries, such as human-sized tyrannosaurs and feathered raptor dinosaurs entombed in lava in China. EGS members have already enjoyed Steve’s lectures and articles on the dinosaurs, including those that left their footprints in the rocks of Skye. If you’re curious to know more – much more – then this book is an absolute must-have!

Ellen's Glen Featured Image

Ellen’s Glen Field Excursion on 25 April 2018

Ellen's Glen - Copyright: Howard Turner

Ellen’s Glen. Copyright: Howard Turner

The first Wednesday field excursion took place on 25 April to Ellen’s Glen in SE Edinburgh. An enthusiastic group of members attended this event which was led by Al McGowan. The evening walk along the Ellen’s Glen included a good mixture of geological and botanical features. There was plenty of discussion as the group moved through the Glen. The image shows one of the outcrops.

Members who enjoyed this trip should look out for our next Wednesday evening excursion on the 9 May to Bonaly. Please use the excursion page of the website to book places on any of the excursions.


EGS Excursion Programme map

EGS Excursion Programme

EGS Excursion Programme mapOur bumper Excursion Programme for 2018 allows you to experience the superb range of geology that southern Scotland has to offer. Explore the building stones of Perth, find some amazing fossils, find out about the glacial history of the River Tweed area … or go on an evening excursion to a local hill and explore the historical links between landscape, resources and people.

Excursions are booking fast, and some are now full with a waiting list. Book now!