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.

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

Programme:
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.

historicenvironment.scot/events

EGS members on Shetland

New tsunami evidence found on Shetland

EGS members on Shetland

EGS members examine the Storegga tsunami deposit in Shetland

New geological investigation on Shetland has found evidence that tsunami events have occurred more frequently than previously thought. The Storegga Slide, a series of submarine landslips off the Norwegian coast 8200 years ago, caused a tsunami some 20m in height when it reached Shetland. Now BGS and Dundee University researchers, with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council,  have uncovered evidence of  two further tsunami events at approximately 5000 years ago and just 1500 years ago. Dr Sue Dawson of Dundee University has been using a High Definition Micro Computed Tomography scanner to build a 3D picture of core samples which point to the tsunamis being 13m above existing sea level. The detail will help Professor Dave Tappin of BGS in determining the source of the deposited material – were these large catastrophic events far away from Shetland or smaller events closer to home?

The research is part of the Landslide-Tsunami project, ongoing research that forms a key element of NERC’s Arctic Research programme.

2018-19 Lecture Programme now online

scotlands energy trilemma roy thompsonWe’ve got a great line up of speakers in this year’s Lecture Programme, which starts on Wednesday 10th October and runs until Easter. Our Lectures are held on alternate Wednesday evenings, usually in the Hutton Lecture Theatre in the Grant Institute of Geology, The King’s Buildings. These are free and aimed at anyone with an interest in Earth science. Afterwards, you can join the speaker and members of the Society for a cup of tea and a chat.

Full details at www.edinburghgeolsoc.org/lectures/

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

Vote Geology

Prof Robert Jameson (1774-1854)

The National Library of Scotland (NLS) has a new display in the front hall of the George IV Bridge building in Edinburgh. The display features three diverse collections in need of conservation treatment, including a selection of 20th century booklets, a group of geological charts and a volume of 20 historical pamphlets. All of the items will be conserved but the winner of a vote which runs until the 8th September, will have its treatment documented under the social media hashtag #Rescueme.

The geological charts are those produced by Robert Jameson (1774-1854), Professor of Natural Sciences at the University of Edinburgh and where he taught both Darwin and Forbes.  He also produced a book on the mineralogy of the Western Isles. It would clearly be good to see his drawings better preserved and also to be able to follow this on social media.

To give the geological charts the best chance of winning, we need your votes either by visiting the George IV Bridge building or alternatively by using the buttons on the Twitter feed @natlibscot

Please note that NLS is open until 7pm Mon-Thur and until 5pm Fri-Sat.  Closed Sun.  The vote closes on the 8th September.

Raised dinosaur print

Dinosaur footprints discovered on mainland Scotland for first time

Raised dinosaur print

Raised dinosaur print by Dr. Neil Clark

Evidence of fossilised dinosaur footprints has been found on the Scottish mainland for the first time, on the coast near Inverness. The exact location is being kept secret to enable researchers to have access to the site. The discovery, by Dr. Neil Clark, Vice-President of the Geological Society of Glasgow and Curator of Palaeontology at the Hunterian in Glasgow, has been hailed as a significant find. The main site for dinosaur footprints and bones in Scotland is on the Isle of Skye and this significant new find is likely to give further insight into the dinosaurs of the Middle Jurassic period, some 170 million years ago. It is thought that the size of the newly discovered prints suggests they were left by a member of the sauropod family – large herbivores which stood up to 18 metres high.

 

This news item is to linked to a previous story posted on the EGS website – Preserving dinosaur footprint sites in Scotland.

The website team at work

The EGS website team

team at work

Our website, designed by EGS member Gordon Lang, is maintained by a small team of volunteer members. We meet every two months or so for training workshops where we discuss what updates are needed to keep the website fresh and how to make the necessary changes. Some of us are IT-savvy and some are less so, but we are all learning from each other and find it rewarding. Are you an EGS member who would like to help?  Please contact the EGS Secretary at secretary@edinburghgeolsoc.org.

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