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.

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 –

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 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, 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.


Hutton's Section, Salisbury Crags

HOGG comes to Edinburgh on 11 and 12 July 2019

James Hutton by Sir Henry Raeburn, on display in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

The History of Geology Group (HOGG) of the Geological Society of London and the Edinburgh Geological Society are organising an open meeting, Aspects of the History of Geology in Scotland and the North of England, at Surgeons’ Hall, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh.  This meeting will include a programme of talks, several of them given by EGS members, on Thursday 11 July, followed by optional field visits on Friday 12 July.

Friday’s field visits will feature a morning stroll in the Old Town, and an afternoon stroll in the New Town, each two hours long and visiting sites of interest to historians of geology, with the spotlight on James Hutton.

Visit the HOGG website at for further details. Booking in advance is essential, payment can be made by PayPal.  The conference fee of £40 includes lunch, morning and afternoon refreshments, and an abstracts booklet. The meeting is open to all, you don’t need to be a member of HOGG or EGS to attend.

Lochaber Geopark Crowd funder

Lochaber Geopark – help required

The EGS has been contacted by the Lochaber Geopark about a crowd-funding initiative – as a not-for-profit charitable organisation, run mostly by volunteers, Lochaber Geopark needs your support to help continue our work and be self-sustaining. Many of us will have enjoyed the wonderful geology of this area and may like to support the worth efforts of the Lochaber Geopark to keep promoting it to a wider audience.  If you would like to support them, then please follow the link provided below.

You might even want to book a geo-tour with this summer – there are various options from half-day to multi-day tours. Check it out here –

Delving into Deep Earth

Science Festival 2019: Delving into Deep Earth, Exploring our Final Frontier

As a part of the Edinburgh Science Festival 2019 the UK Geoenergy Observatories project in cooperation with Dynamic Earth allowed visitors insights into the geological underworld.

As usual, exhibitors and Dynamic Earth managed to create an event that seemed like being aimed at children, but fascinated the adults just as much, encouraging everyone to touch, feel, laugh – and create their own earthquake catastrophe, should they so wish….

A big winner - the pet dinosaur

A big winner – the pet dinosaur


Visitors, especially of the childlike persuasion, enjoyed the warm welcome by a friendly pet dinosaur, carefully carried by a volunteer animal keeper.





The BGS rock exhibition - looksies AND feelsies

The BGS rock exhibition – looksies AND feelsies


It is one thing to hear and read about rocks, but touching them, seeing, feeling – and, if possible, smelling the difference is so much better!
The BGS rock samples found many fans.





landscape formations and their impact on waterflows

landscape formations and their effects


Another extensively used item was the simulation of landscapes and their influence on water flow and water levels. Children (and adventurous adults) could shape a landscape in the sand; depending on the height of ‘hills’ and ‘valleys’ light simulated the water flow after a rainfall, or its changes after a landslide.




The QuiverVision app: print - colour - play

The QuiverVision app: print – colour – play


An interesting use of modern technology was demonstrated by the QuiverVision app: visitors could choose a template, colour it in, and the app ‘animated’ it – watching one’s self-created volcano erupt is oddly satisfying, not just for children (we can assure from personal experience…).

The website offers a wide variety of templates for downloading.



Who wouldn't want to cuddle with the pet dinosaur

Who wouldn’t want to cuddle with the pet dinosaur


Of course, some had their own ideas of what they wanted to get their hands on. And truth be told, who wouldn’t want to cuddle the pet dinosaur?

Downloadable templates for dinosaur hand puppets can be found on the BGS website.




Earthquake simulation on one of Scotland's most important buildings

Earthquake simulation on one of Scotland’s most important buildings



To the surprise of absolutely no one, the earthquake-simulation-table was equipped not only with imposing, but also with some of the most important buildings of Scotland.







Additional to the fun of watching your self-created earthquake, experts from the BGS explained not only the works of a seismometer, but also presented real-life-earthquake data and gave an overview of earthquakes in Britain (more than one would anticipate, but mercifully weak).

Very good information material about earthquakes, but also on volcanoes and plate tectonics, can be found on the BGS website.


Geothermal Energy

As a sister project to the Glasgow Geothermal Energy Research Field Site the United Downs Deep Geothermal Power project was presented by Iain Stewart, Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth.

Professor Iain Stewart and the next generation

Professor Iain Stewart and the next generation



Professor Stewart discussing with what we hope will be one of our future geologists.





Dealing with questions and (mis-)conceptions about the effects of boreholes and geothermal projects underground, he asked the visitors what ideas they had about ‘earthquakes’, and invited them also to draw what in their opinion was to be found in the earth beneath Glasgow….

Treasures, bones, and lava under glasgow

Treasures, bones, and lava…



Stones, diamonds, and dinosaurs under Glasgow

…stones, diamonds, and dinosaurs








Once more it was demonstrated that science doesn’t have to be ‘watered down’ to be fascinating for people of all ages, just presented in appropriate (and entertaining) ways, by people whose love for science is rivalled only by their creativity.

A thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable experience.


Accidents *did* happen

Accidents *did* happen






…at the end of the day, some had a bit of bad luck…













Our thanks go to all exhibitors, volunteers, and enthusiastic young scientists.