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.

Southern Uplands terrane, courtesy Phil Stone

Clough Medal presentation & lecture: Phil Stone, Wednesday 22 March

Phil Stone lecture posterEdinburgh Geological Society is delighted to present the Clough Medal for 2016-2017 to Dr Phil Stone, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the understanding of the geology of the Lower Palaeozoic Southern Uplands Terrane and the Ballantrae Ophiolite Complex and many other achievements. The Medal will be presented on Wednesday 22 March, followed by Phil’s lecture: Scottish perspectives (old and new) on greywacke, graptolites and Gondwana. All welcome to the final lecture of the session.

Change in lecture programme: Wednesday 8th March

upcoming lecture, 8 MarchMartin Gilliespie, our next lecture speaker, has an unexpected work commitment overseas, so his colleague Paul Everett is stepping in. Looking forward to an interesting lecture, Building stone in Scotland: Glorious past … uncertain future.

Natural stone has been a favoured building material since the early days of human habitation in Scotland, and is still in fashion for modern architecture. The Scottish building stone industry has bequeathed a rich and diverse legacy of stone-built structures that embody the historic fabric of our cities, dwellings, monuments, places of worship and infrastructure.

Geopoetry at StAnza: 1-5 March 2017

StAnza logoStAnza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival, takes place in St Andrews in early March. For Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017, the Festival theme for this year is The Heights of Poetry, celebrating hills and mountains and asking how poetry can create and climb its own high places.

In the Middle Ages, the Pilgrim Way crossed Fife heading for St Andrews Cathedral. Now each year people journey here for poetry. The second theme in 2017 is On the Road, and we’ll be looking at all manner of travel and journeys.

EGS is supporting an event on Saturday 4 March that brings the winners of the recent Hugh Miller Writing Competition to St Andrews to share their poetry, inspired by the writings of Hugh Miller. >> Event information

There is also a fossil drop-in event at the Museum of St Andrews on Satuday 4 March, from 10-12. This event is organised by Geobus, you can find out about Fife’s fossils and get your own fossils identified –

Miller Memorials - after

Hugh Miller’s gravestone

Lothian and Borders Geoconservation became concerned about Hugh Miller’s gravestone in the Grange Cemetery, which was becoming difficult to read especially in bright sunshine. Andrew McMillan arranged for the gravestone to be cleaned and re-lettered so that the inscription is readable once again. At the same time we gave some attention to the stone for Hugh’s son (also called Hugh) which sits to the left of Hugh Senior’s stone. Although some of the lettering on Hugh Junior’s stone is too small to re-letter, the first two lines were done and the whole stone was cleaned up. You can see the results in the before and after photographs below. We are grateful for generous funding from Edinburgh U3A Geology Group and The Friends of Hugh Miller.

Lochranza Centre and the Arran Geofest

Students at Hutton’s Section, Arran. Photo: Stuart Blake

In October 2015, the company that owned the Lochranza Centre decided to close it, saying there was no future in feldwork! Senior staff and the local community have received wide support to create a new Community Interest Company to keep the Centre open and safeguard 14 jobs, 5 of which are held by geology graduates.

The Centre is now thriving, and is open to any groups who want to come and experience at frst hand the geology and beauty of north Arran. We were co-hosts of the frst Arran Geofest in 2016 and are planning the next one in September 2017 – volunteers welcome! We are also working with partners including the Arran Heritage Museum and National Trust of Scotland to move towards UNESCO Global Geopark status in the next few years.

Come and experience Arran’s geological treasures: the dyke swarm of Kildonnan, the Drumadoon sill, the myriapod trail. Contemplate process and time at Hutton’s Unconformity, only a 25 minute walk from the Lochranza Centre where a warm welcome, accommodation, refreshment and tuition await you and your party if needed.

Stuart Blake, Director Lochranza Centre CIC 01770 830637.

Geological Excursion Guide to the Stirling and Perth Area.

Review of Stirling & Perth Excursion Guide

Geological Excursion Guide to the Stirling and Perth Area.

Geological Excursion Guide to the Stirling and Perth Area.

The Society was very pleased to see a great review by Tom Bradwell of one of our recent publications: A Geological Excursion Guide to the Stirling & Perth Area –  by Mike Browne and Con Gillen, published in the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association.

“This is a well composed and thoughtfully illustrated guide from the first page. A valuable opening chapter summarises the geology of the whole area, starting in the Precambrian (Dalradian) and spanning the Devonian, Carboniferous and ending in the Quaternary. With up-to-date references, bespoke maps and useful cross-sections this chapter is an excellent summary of the geological history of central Scotland in 20 pages. Going beyond more than a ‘regulation’ summary, this chapter is an authoritative but succinct review of the stratigraphy of the whole region. As such it represents an excellent synthesis, built around the editors/authors’ considerable experience in this field, worthy of publication alone.

The remainder of the book, exactly 200 pages, contains 18 colour-coded chapters each describing a separate geological excursion. The excursions are carefully chosen to reflect a wide variety of rock types, landscapes and walking abilities. They are geographically well distributed within the area covered by the guide.”

Read more online at Science Direct …

The andesite lava dome of the currently active volcano in Montserrat, Eastern Caribbean.

Exploring and explaining the geology of Blackford Hill

The high volcanic ridge of Blackford Hill and the deep rocky gorge of the Hermitage of Braid have exciting stories to tell about Edinburgh’s geological past.

UK Oil and Gas Future?

Is there a future for the UK oil and gas industry?

UK Oil and Gas Future?11 January 2017 at 7:00 pm
Lecture by: Dr Phil Richards, formerly BGS Scotland

Approximately 27 billion barrels of oil has been extracted from the UK North Sea. Some claim there are 14 billion barrels remaining to be exploited, but of those, nearly 6 billion barrels are classified as “Yet to Find”. Recently, we’ve been finding them in 10 to 15 million barrel increments, suggesting it might take some 38 years to find them all, by which time the North Sea’s infrastructure will be well and truly rusted away. How might we speed up the rate of new discoveries through the application of new technologies, and perhaps more importantly, by going back to basics and doing better geology?

Phil Richards worked as BGS Regional Hydrocarbons Manager, and has over 30 years of world-wide experience of oil exploration experience, specialising in creating the technical conditions necessary for inward investment in hydrocarbon exploration in developing basins. He has published over 50 papers on geology relating to oil and gas exploration.

Volcanoes and the making of Scotland

Volcanoes and the Making of Scotland

The next lecture of the Edinburgh Geological Society’s winter series will take place on Wednesday 23 November at 7:30pm in the Hutton Lecture Theatre at the Grant Institute of Geology, King’s Buildings, Edinburgh, when Professor Brian Upton, University of Edinburgh will talk about Volcanoes and the Making of Scotland.

Volcanoes have played a major role in the creation of Scotland’s geology. The most recent examples on the west coast are a mere 60 million years old, but rocks composing many of the famous Scottish landforms such as Glencoe are the direct result of earlier episodes of volcanism. Volcanoes and the Making of Scotland will explore back in time from the most recent examples to volcanoes of the obscure Precambrian times which left their signature in the ancient rocks of the far north-west.

Brian Upton is a Distinguished Fellow of the EGS and is Emeritus Professor of Petrology and Senior Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Geosciences of the University of Edinburgh.  The comprehensively-revised second edition of his highly-acclaimed book Volcanoes and the Making of Scotland has recently been published and has been enthusiastically reviewed.

The meeting will be followed by tea and biscuits in the Cockburn Museum of the Grant Institute, to which all are invited.
A link to a map of the campus can be found at .
Volcanic Hazards

Volcanic Hazards

The next lecture of the Edinburgh Geological Society’s winter series will take place on Wednesday 9 November at 7:30pm in the Hutton Lecture Theatre at the Grant Institute of Geology, King’s Buildings, Edinburgh, when Dr Charlotte Vye-Brown, BGS Scotland will talk about Volcanic Hazards. Of all the natural hazards, volcanic hazards are unique in the sense that there are many hazards associated with, and produced by, any single volcano that can have impacts hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away. Globally, an estimated 800 million people live within 100 km of a volcano that has the potential to erupt. There remain significant challenges to understand volcanic risk and assist with disaster mitigation. These challenges are pronounced in Africa due to significant knowledge gaps, lack of real-time monitoring, uncertainty, limited early warning capacity and pressure on resources. This talk will focus on recent research in Ethiopia on understanding the periodicity and character of past eruptions, identifying potential impacts, and evaluating future threat.

Charlotte Vye-Brown is a senior volcanologist with BGS in Edinburgh, working on projects on rift volcanism, particularly in East Africa; the volcanic history of the Ascension Islands; and emplacement and eruption styles of flood basalts.

The meeting will be followed by tea and biscuits in the Cockburn Museum of the Grant Institute, to which all are invited.

A link to a map of the campus can be found at .