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125th Anniversary Meetings 2013


Saturday 1st June - 125th Anniversary meeting and dinner. The meeting was held in the Department of Geography, University of Hull . The Dinner was in Staff House at the University.

There was a "Members Morning" with short talks from members of the Society about their interests. In the afternoon there were lectures about the history of the Society and our local geology. The first Felix Whitham Memorial Medal was presented at the meeting by Maggie Evans to Stuart Jones..

Lectures and displays at the meeting -

Brenda and Jack Almond - display -

Dr Derek Gobbett - “The periglacial origin of the Wolds landscape”.

Dr Derek Gobbett - poster - "Geomorphological map of the Wolds".

Ian Heppenstall - "The Ipswichian Buried Cliff: an important feature between Sewerby and Bridlington".

John Green - display - Cretaceous fossils from Lincolnshire and Yorkshire

Katie Wilkinson - display - sculptures

Dr Kristian Saether - "New Zealand Miocene seep faunas: their diversity and palaeobiogeography"

Maggie and Trevor Evans - specimens from the Felix Whitham Collection

Dr Mark Seaward - display - Thomas Sheppard

Mike Horne - "The Centenary Chalk Project - the Stratigraphy of the Yorkshire Chalk."

Mike Horne - slideshow - Hull Geological Society Feild Meetings

Mike Horne - "Recent History of the Hull Geological Society 1988-2013."

Mike Horne - poster - the Stratigraphy of the Yorkshire Chalk

Mike Horne - poster - the Biostratigraphy of the Yorkshire Chalk

Prof Patrick Boylan - the HGS and the Quaternary

Rod Towse - slideshow - geology of Barmston

Rodger Connell - new boreholes at Bridlington.

Rodger Connell - poster - geology of Barmston

Prof Pete Rawson - "Speeton: 50 years and still learning."

Stuart Jones - display - "Erratic ammonites and belemnites from Holderness"

Stuart Jones - display - "Photographs of the Sewerby Buried Cliff, November 2007. "

Stuart Jones - display - "Photographs of the Skipsea Mere. "



Dr Derek Gobbett - “The periglacial origin of the Yorkshire Wolds landscape”.

During most of its history the Chalk plateau which we know as the Yorkshire Wolds would have been eroded in a warm to cool temperate climate mainly by internal solution. The main effect of this erosion on the surface would be to produce small dolines and pipes which are both present today. The lithology of the Chalk would preclude the development of true karst.

The present geomorphology of the Wolds ha been largely sculpted during relatively short periods of cold climate during the Quaternary. Under periglacial and permafrost conditions during the summer, physical weathering and surface erosion rapidly transformed the Wolds plateau into a highly dissected “badland” topography of rills, and gulleys, and steep-sided valleys. Intermittent yet powerful braided streams transported large quantities of chalk gravel into the broader lower reaches of the valleys.

The last episode of this process was active only about 20Ka ago and has left a fresh, young appearance to this fossil periglacial landscape made more obvious by the clearance of woodland since the Neolithic. In the post-glacial period thawing of the permafrost modified the steep slopes by causing land slips. These occurred on an impressive scale along the Wolds escarpment where thin Chalk overlies thick clays.

Ian Heppenstall - "The Ipswichian Buried Cliff: an important feature between Sewerby and Bridlington".

As well as Rifle Butts Quarry the Hull Geological Society also keeps a watching brief over the Ipswichian Buried Cliff near Sewerby. In recent years the Flamborough Quaternary Research Group has also kept a watch on it and on the cliffs between Sewerby Steps and Bridlington. As part of my search for old photographs I found some of the Buried Cliff on the BGS website and have combined these with some of my own in order to illustrate some of the old and new geological features to found along this section of the coast as well as a little local history.

Jack and Brenda Almond - display of fossils

Jack and Brenda will be displaying a selection of their fossil collection relating to beach finds on the Holderness Coast; most are erratics with the exception of the ones collected at Speeton.

Dr Kristian Saether, K Campbell and C Little - "New Zealand Miocene seep faunas: their diversity and palaeobiogeography"

A diverse fossil fauna is present in 13 Early to Middle Miocene (25-10 Ma) hydrocarbon seep deposits from the Hawke's Bay region of North Island, New Zealand. Specimens belonging to at least six phyla have been identified in the deposits, several new species have been described from them, and other new taxa still await formal taxonomic treatment. Furthermore, the deposits are rich in trace fossils that reflect the activities of some of the identified taxa, as well as those that perhaps were not preserved. The diversity and ecological structure of the communities are similar to those at modern New Zealand hydrocarbon seeps, but there are few shared species, with a preliminary endemicity estimate of ca. 40% for the fossil fauna. Among global contemporaneous seep faunas, the most taxonomically similar to New Zealand are found in the Caribbean, northern Italy, and Japan.

Professor Mark R. D. Seaward - "Thomas Sheppard (1876-1945)"

" Thomas Sheppard was born on 2 October 1876 in South Ferriby, Lincolnshire but spent his entire life in East Yorkshire. He received only elementary education, leaving school at the age of 13, but during his time as a clerk, he furthered his education, gaining certificates in a wide range of natural history subjects and a 1st class advanced stage certificate in geology which not only qualified him to teach, but facilitated his appointment as the first City Curator of the Hull Municipal Museum in 1901. Over the years, Sheppard was responsible for establishing a further six museums in Hull (Natural History Museum, Museum of Fisheries & Shipping, Museum of Commerce & Transport, Wilberforce House Museum, Mortimer Collection of Prehistoric Antiquities and Railway Museum) and the Tithe Barn Museum at Easington; the innovative Hull's 'Old Time' Street Museum, on which Sheppard had been working for much of his career, was unfortunately destroyed by bombs in 1941 before its official opening. As Director (a title conferred in 1926) of such a large number of successful museums, Sheppard was highly influential locally and nationally, but his often ruthlessly acquisitive activities made him a decidedly controversial figure. He was a prolific writer, being the author of numerous books and innumerable papers in c.165 journals and magazines; he also edited several journals, including The Naturalist (1903-1933), and held presidencies, secretaryships and other offices in many societies, including the Yorkshire Naturalists' Union and Hull Geological Society. He received numerous honours, including an MSc from the University of Leeds and the Lyell Award of the Geological Society of London, and was made an honorary member of at least 16 societies. Through boundless energy and imagination, Sheppard amassed one of Britain's finest provincial museum collections; by doing so he not only put Hull on the map but also gained a national reputation for himself which was unfortunately tarnished by his overly-aggressive methods in acquiring material for these collections, many of which were destroyed by bombs and fire in 1941 and 1943 - the destruction of these and many of his notes, his lifetime's work, contributed to his further decline in health after his retirement in 1941, and he died in Hull on 18 February 1945."

Mike Horne - "The Centenary Chalk Project - the Stratigraphy of the Yorkshire Chalk."

"The group research project started by the Society in 1984 to mark the Society's Centenary will be reviewed. As well as meeting its aims to record sites, collect representative fossils and log the lithostratigraphy for display in 1988 the members of the project contributed further to our scientific understanding of the Yorkshire Chalk. Felix Whitham published the detailed lithostratigraphy naming many of the marl bands of the Flamborough Formation. Samples of the marls provided geochemical results that indicated that some of them had a volcanic origin. A number of the sites were designated as RIGS in an attempt to conserve exposures that collectively gave a near complete succession. Research on the Chalk is not complete: to stimulate interest and debate the author will propose some definitions of the biozones of the Yorkshire Chalk."

"Proposal to define some of the biozones of the Yorkshire Chalk"

"Although geologists have been using macrofossil zones to describe the biostratigraphy of the Yorkshire Chalk for over a hundred years, the zones have never been formally defined. Like lithostratigraphic units biozones are defined by their base; in the case of biozones this is usually a biological event such as the first or last appearance of a fossil. There needs to be further consideration of appropriate macrofossil zone fossils because some of the zones are based on fossils that are rare or have been misidentified in the past. However I suggest the adoption of the following zones for the highest exposed part of the Yorkshire Chalk -

"Unitacrinis partial range zone - base - first appearance of Unitacrinus socialis

Marsupites total range zone - base - first appearance of Marsupites testudinarius

lingua p.r.z. - base - last appearance of Marsupites

binodosus p.r.z. - base - first appearance of Discoscaphites binodosus"

"Recent History of the Hull Geological Society 1988-2013"

"In this illustrated talk the author will remember members of the Society who are no longer with us and review the various activities of the Society since the Centenary. As well as the traditional lectures, field trips and publications there have been a number of innovations. In order to bring our science to a wider audience we have held roadshows and public walks, taking the geology to the public rather than expecting them to visit a quarry. This led to the revival of Yorkshire Geology Month in 2005.

"The Society has also embraced new technology. The quality of our printed journal has improved and we embraced other media, producing a CDROM version of Humberside Geologist, as well as special publications which featured recordings of special meetings. We also took the decision to publish articles on our website in 1999 allowing free access to all and started an e-mail newsletter to members the same year."

Prof. Patrick Boylan - "The Hull Geological Society and the Quaternary".

"Since Hull and getting on for half of the traditional East Riding would not exist were it not for the glacial and postglacial deposits laid down in the past 20,000 years or less it is not surprising that from its foundation and throughout the past 125 years the Quaternary has been a special interest of the Hull Geological Society.

"The key founder of the Society, and its longest serving Secretary John W. Stather, a Hull wallpaper manufacturer, was already actively concerned with the local glacial geology before the founding of the Society and continued to make very significant contributions through his life. The same was true of other early members of the Society, George Lamplugh of Bridlington, who rose to high office in the Geological Survey, and the Lincolnshire-born railway clerk, Thomas Sheppard, who became the first salaried curator of the Hull Museum and served in that office for forty years through to his retirement in 1941. Lamplugh's work on the Sewerby-Hessle interglacial buried cliff and Sheppard's on the history of the formation of Holderness and particularly the postglacial erosion of the Holderness coast were particularly notable.

"The Society's early and continuing interest in the glacial erratics of the county and particularly of its coastal boulder clay exposures was also very important, and had the added advantage of developing in the Society's members (and their collections) expertise in relation to a very wide range of igneous and metamorphic rocks, and sedimentary rocks from the early Palaeozoic through to horizons in the chalk younger than any found on land in England, which we now know must have been derived from the floor of the North Sea. Sheppard among others also collected large numbers of fossil mammal bones, teeth and tusks derived from the boulder clays.

"Another important landmark in the Society's history was the arrival in 1921 of William S Bisat from the West Riding, sent to the Melton area to supervise major civil engineering works there by his Doncaster-based company. Already an acknowledged authority on Carboniferous goniatites and their use in stratigraphy, Bisat quickly joined the Society and began to work on the Pleistocene and Holocene geology of the area around Melton and North Ferriby where he was working and living, and soon widened his Quaternary interests into the whole of eastern Yorkshire.

"In the 1930s Bisat carried out a most detailed examination of the whole of the Holderness coast from Kilnsea to Bridlington and recording his findings in very detailed large-scale sections, very often assisted by the Hull Geological Society stalwart and photographer C.W. Mason. Bisat developed from this both a new classification of the Holderness tills, and also identified traces of older glaciation or glaciations outside the areas covered by the last glacial advance.

"The Hull-born George De Boer went on a scholarship from the local Hymers College to Cambridge where he read geography, and while he was still a student applied the methods of Percy Fry Kendall of Leeds University to identify pro-glacial or sub-glacial lakes and channels on the southern part of the Yorkshire Wolds in a notable paper in the Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society. Already a Hull Geological Society member, after war service and Cambridge he joined the growing Hull University College as its physical geographer and soon turned his attention to what was to become a life-time interest in the history and processes of the Holderness coast and Spurn, encouraging and supervising more than 60 years' research, which continues in the University today.

"Soon afterwards Lewis Penny also joined the University College, again from Cambridge, and established the University's Geology Department, while both carrying out his own research on the Quaternary, not least in relation to Yorkshire, but also encouraging and supervising generations of students, of which his collaborations with John Catt were especially important and influential. George De Boer, Lewis Penny and other members of the University staff were also very influential in their continuing support of the Hull Geological Society, which has carried forward its century or more long tradition of a strong focus on the Quaternary through to the present day. "

Prof Pete Rawson - "Speeton: 50 years and still learning."

"When Mike Horne asked me to speak at the HGS anniversary meeting I realised to my horror that October this year marks the 50th anniversary of a keen young graduate of the then Department of Geology at Hull starting his research for a Ph.D. there, on Speeton Clay ammonites. Now this still-keen “retired” pensioner continues to work on the Speeton Clay – and is delighted to see Geology returning to Hull in the year that HGS celebrates its 125th year.

"To any Speeton Clay worker, G.W. Lamplugh is our god: he worked out the lithological succession (A, B, C and D beds) in cliffs that were described by one of his contemporaries, J.F. Blake, as “a wild and tumbled slope of clay, in which at first sight it is impossible to make out any order”. Determining the lithological sequence in as much detail as possible is the starting point for any palaeontological, sedimentological or environmental study. But 50 years after he started working at Speeton, Lamplugh (1924) observed that he had still not been able to see a complete exposure of the B beds while the A beds were so affected “by squeezing and slipping that even now we cannot be sure that the whole sequence has been seen”. Lamplugh also noted how there were periodic changes in the state of exposure reflecting the alternating influences of landslip and marine erosion, and that has been my experience too. For example, exposures of the Lower B beds were probably better in the 1970s and early 1980s than in any part of Lamplugh’s lifetime, but have deteriorated significantly since then. Conversely, in the early 1990s parts of top B and the A beds were unusually well exposed whereas at present they are barely visible, while erosion in the last 3 months has provided some fascinating glimpses of middle B, the “Cement Beds”. So despite the publication of sections in the B and A beds by Kaye (1964), Rawson and Mutterlose (1983) and Mitchell & Underwood (1999) much remains uncertain about the detailed sequence in this part of the section. And even the generally better exposed D and C beds merit continuing study.

"Despite these limitations, Speeton is a key section for unravelling the Early Cretaceous history of NW Europe. Thanks particularly to research instigated at Hull by John Neale and continued by successive postgraduates there and later by oil industry micropalaeontologists, much has been learned about the ammonite, belemnite, foraminiferal and ostracod faunas and nannofloras over the last 50 years. And we now know that sedimentation was affected by Milankovitch cycles and by distant vulcanicity. But there is still much to be discovered, both about the depositional environment and the faunas and floras. In particular, Lamplugh’s observation that among the fossils “the variety of forms scantily present is great; and interest is constantly stimulated by the discovery of novelties” remains as true today as it did in 1924. For example, it was only in 1995 that I published the first record of Heteroceras from Speeton – a “Tethyan” ammonite in which the initial whorls form a helical spiral - while we still know of only two phylloceratid ammonites in almost 200 years of collecting. And among the fossil lobsters, only a single specimen of Astacodes falcifer, described by Henry Woods in 1927, is know with eyes preserved, whereas in an Argentine fauna I have recently described with Argentine colleagues several examples of the same species have eyes preserved in beautiful detail. And the most fascinating discovery is of two incomplete Plesiosaur skeletons – one that I found in 1975 and is now in the NHM (undescribed) and a second that sits on display in the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough. Only a handful of Early Cretaceous plesiosaurs are know from anywhere in the world. So Speeton really is a place for rarities! "

Ron Harrison - Displays and short talk

Specimens from the Cayton Bay Plant Bed. Ron collected these whilst on field trips led by Kenneth Fenton. Ken was the Secretary of the HGS and taught biology at Hull College. Ken's main geological interests were fossil plants and the Quaternary.

Specimens of recent marine shells collected on HGS field meetings. This display is in memory of Donald Beveridge, Eric Chicken, Lynden Emery, Kenneth Fenton, Percy Gravett and Felix Whitham. In his talk Ron will tell us about these members of the HGS.

Keneth Fenton's diagram of the geology of the Yorkshire Coast will be on display. Ron has donated this to the Society's Library.

Stuart Jones - display - "Photographs Of The Sewerby Buried Cliff November 2007. " "After severe south-easterly storms this classic exposure was exceptionally clean."

display - "Erratic ammonites and belemnites from Holderness"

display -. "Photographs of Danes Dyke April 2013" " On 13th April 2013 on the field meeting to Flamborough members noticed that the sand had been removed from the beach in front of Danes Dyke Valley exposing tightly contorted Chalk. The sand had covered the site again two days later."

display -"Photographs of the Skipsea Mere. " Members of the Centre for Lifelong Learning classes and of the Society have been monitoring the erosion of the mere for the last 12 years."


Sunday 9th June - field meeting to Speeton Cliffs led by Jack Doyle. The meeting will be a leisurely ramble from Reighton Gap to Speeton Gap to view the Kimmeridge Clay, Speeton Clay, Red Chalk, White Chalk and Quaternary deposits. The great importance of the Speeton Clay for inter-continental correlation will be emphasised. The rich flora of the cliffs, including orchids, will be noted.

Abstract -

"First hour or so of the walk to be spent examining the Devensian tills and associated superficial sediments exposed near Reighton Gap. Till types, fabrics and derived clasts to be identified. The ravages of tides, drainage, climate and time, on these glacial deposits, to be noted, before passing on to Mesozoic sediments, below Middle Cliff.

"Hopefully, an exposure of Upper Jurassic, Kimmeridge Clay may be found; but if not, the relatively well exposed Lower Cretaceous Speeton Clay will be next on the agenda. This is, of course, the stratotype locality for this unique and important formation.

"Within the Speeton Clay, key marker horizons will be picked out. Important breaks and changes in the succession will be demonstrated. The importance of the ammonites and belemnites as zone fossils, and their value for intercontinental correlation, will be emphasised. Changes in sea water temperature and current directions, in an arm of the ancient Mesozoic ocean known as Tethys, will also be demonstrated, as indicated by these molluscs.

"Finally, if time and weather permit, the cliff base to the south-east. of Speeton Gap will be looked at. Here, examples of `Red Chalk` and White Chalk will be found as fallen blocks.

"For the botanically minded, it may be of interest to know that the chalk and lime-rich boulder clays support an interesting flora, which includes pyramidal, fragrant, and early purple orchid, as well as the lovely, grass of parnassus. "

Report (MH)

Eleven members attended the meeting, setting off from the old cliff-top car park down the now much cambered concrete roadway. For our first stop we looked at the till deposits just south of the ramp. Further along the cliffs was an exposure of the Kimmeridge Clay. Then we climbed up to examine the exposure of the Speeton Shell Bed and debated its origin: is an in situ deposit or rafted material? Beneath this Jack showed us the colour change tat occurs between the D2 and D3 beds and the band of Acroteuthis belemnites and ammonites that occurs there. The rest of the visit was spent climbing the rills that have developed in Middle Cliff to collect large uncoiled ammonites from the C7 beds, that usually not accessible. Really we did not get that far along the exposure, but the joy of Speeton is that there is always something different to look at.


Saturday 15th June - 125th Anniversary field meeting to Kelsey Hill and Keyingham led by Stephen Whittaker.

The first ever field meeting of the HGS was to Kelsey Hill on 16th June 1888.

Abstract -

"The first field trip of the newly formed Hull Geological Society, on 16th June 1888, was to visit Kelsey Hill, most probably to the pit immediately to the east of Kelsey House, Burstwick. Examination of the old ordinance survey maps 1820 & 1855 show small workings to the north of Burstwick Drain, (The Burstwick Pits) with access from the Burstwick to Withernsea Road.

"The majority of the extraction of sand and gravel occurred following the construction of the railway in 1854. The O.S. map of 1927 shows a "tramway" from the junction with the Withernsea railway going northwards, over Burstwick Drain and into the Burstwick Pits. An old photograph shows a full size railway track and rail wagons together with a steam excavator. At this stage all excavations were above water level. The " Burstwick Pit" was excavated below water level, probably in the 1930's. The Kelsey Pits were reopened and formed three deep lakes by the 1960's, at which time the extraction plant was moved to a new site north of the Burstwick Pits at Grange Farm. This was exhausted by the 1970's.

"The Keyingham deposits are separated from those at Kelsey Hill by a deep, alluvium filled valley, through which the Keyingham drain passes. The deposits here have been worked continuously from 1945 to the present day by the Holderness Sand & Gravel Company."

Report (MH)

Ten members and guests attended the meeting starting off with a visit to Kelsey Hill 123 years and 364 days after the first ever field trip of the HGS to the site. Stephen showed us old maps and photographs of the site and told us about the development of the gravel pits in the area. We then visited the North Lake, the site of one of the pits now used for coarse fishing and the largest of the two SSSIs in the area. Here we found an exposure of dipping beds of chalk rich gravel in which we could see specimens of Ostrea, Cardium, grey flint and Gryphaea.

After taking refreshments at the Kelsey Gardens Cafe and sheltering from a short downpour of rain we drove to the two Keyingham Gravel Pits. In the sandy beds of the present site south of the main road we collected as variety of sub-fossil shells from the sands: bivalves, scaphopods, winkles, Buccinum, Astarte, Corbicula and oysters. Here we also saw a variety of erratics including Gryphaea, Exogyra, black flint, vesicular basalt, weathered chalk pebbles and rhomb porphyry.

The older northern pit is no longer worked but Stephen showed us the site of a trench that reached into 'Basement Till' and then allowed us to collect from a stockpile of larger erratics. Near his office Stephen has a rockery of some large specimens which includes Whin Sill, Brockram, Shap Granite, Asteroceras, gneiss, and Kimmeridge Clay.

The Society thanks Ian of Kelsey Gardens for allowing us to visit.

I thank Sue and Stephen Whittaker for their help in preparing this report.


Tuesday 18th June - East Riding Boulder Committee led by Mike Horne- evening field trip and picnic at Mappleton.

Report (MH)

12 members assembled at what remains of the car park at Mappleton Cliff to share a picnic at 6-30pm before having a wander along the beach. We were lucky that the sand had been stripped off a large portion of the beach leaving boulder clay exposed at low tide. We were thus able to record and collect erratics from in situ till. These included - Canninia, Chalk, crinoidal Carboniferous Limestone, Lithostrotion, black flint, pink chalk, Cheviot porphyry, Polyptichites, Jurassic belemnite, Kimmeridge Clay, red granite, Gryphaea, coal, Pecten in Jurassic limestone, Oxyteuthis, belemnite in soft Chalk raft, New Red Sandstone, Middle Jurassic Sandstone, Norwegian Porphyry, Pentacrinus, Jurassic oolitic limestone, Jurassic plant bed and a Kellaways belemnite.


"Cretaceous Adventure" and "Ice Age Adventure"

"These weekend field meetings will be looking at the work of the Centenary Chalk Project and the Flamborough Quaternary Research Group. We will look at the lithostratigraphy of the Chalk, search for fossils and discuss the biostratigraphy. At these sites also we will look at the Quaternary deposits and discuss the latest theories on their stratigraphy, origin and age. The meetings also form part of a new project working with a group of artists."


Saturday 22nd June - (field trip) "Cretaceous Adventure" - The Chalk of Flamborough Head led by Mike Horne.

Report (MH)

8 members and guests attended the meeting at Danes Dyke. With the help of visual aids (an umbrella to draw in the sand) the leader describes the rules of stratigraphy in its various forms and how they applied to the site. The beach exposure of the distortions in the Chalk the Society had seen in April were now covered by the sand. The leader pointed out the cross-cutting relationships of the Quaternary deposits and demonstrated the overlap between the zone fossils Marsupites and Inoceramus lingua. Amongst the fossils collected were two complete Marsupites, two sponges and an Echinocorys.


Sunday 23rd June - (field trip) "Ice Age Adventure" The Quaternary of Flamborough Head led by Mike Horne.

Report (MH)

8 members and guests gathered at the car park at South Landing and walked down to the beach. Following on from the previous field meeting we searched for the zone fossil Hagenowia finding a couple in the cliff just east of the cross sectioned sink hole. Then the various Quaternary gravel deposits of the bay were compared and contrasted; a new exposure of sand near the slipway being noted. The larger erratics found on the beach included Jurassic plant bed, red granite, basalt, Old Red Sandstone and Carboniferous

Anna Kirk-Smith writes - "A select group of national artists and member s of the Flamborough Quaternary Research Group will be meeting to explore the diversity of inspiration and exchange information on a 2 day field experience at Flamborough Head. Through creative dialogue, the scientists and artists will share cross-disciplinary knowledge and experiences, and question discipline-dependant perceptions and visualisations of the coastal landscape.

"This and further collaborations will form the foundation for a nationally touring sci-art exhibition launching in January 2014 in Hull, which will examine the glaciation and geology of the headland alongside the work and members of the FQRG. The artists' disciplines include fine art, poetry, jewellery design and public realm intervention."


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