Hull Geological Society



News archive 2005-6

(updated 15th August 2009)


16th November 2006 - "The Supra-Ophiolitic Sediments of Cyprus" by Philip E Brierley (MGeol) - A Talk Derived from the Research Titled: A New Depositional Model for the Middle Miocene (Serravallian) Sediments of the Pakhna Formation, Cyprus

"Cyprus is probably most well known for the superb sequence of mantle and crustal rocks that once were the ocean crust but were subsequently obducted and displayed as the Troodos Mountains ophiolite. However the overlying sediments show a succession that shows a gradual facies change from deep-water sediments to river-mouth hyperpycnites. These sediments are dominantly carbonates although the Messinian evaporates and more recent clastic fanglomerates are exposed. The research was carried out in 2004 and aimed to look at a specific section of interbedded marls, micrites and calciturbidites. Through a combination of sedimentary logging, palynological samples, microscopy and fossil collecting it was hoped that the deposition of a faunal assemblage of Syngnathus pipefish could be corroborated with an earlier piece of work carried out by Gaudant et al (2000). The results contrasted heavily with this work despite a proximal location of study sites. What caused a variation in results? This talk aims to look briefly at some of the ideas mentioned in this synopsis including how to survive behind a bush in the Cypriot wilderness for a fortnight. "


Gaudant, J. et al. 2000, A New Fossil Fish Fauna from the Middle Miocene (Serravallian) of Cyprus, Proceedings of the Third International Conference on the Geology of the Eastern Mediterranean, pp. 327-337


Humberside Geologist number 14 was published in October 2006. It is available in printed form or as a CDROM.


Joint meeting with the Yorkshire Geological Society - 28th October 2006 - "Papers on Palaeontology (a tribute to Professor John Neale)"

In the morning there was a "Pick your own Microfossils" workshop in the morning led by Mike Horne, Pattie McAlpin and Stuart Jones. This was attedned by twelve people. About 50 people attended the lectures in the afternoon.

Abstracts -

" Still going strong: palaeoecological research at Hull University" by Jane Bunting, Mike Rogerson and Jane Reed.

"Hull has a long and rich tradition of micropalaeoontological and palaeoecological research, and of sharing these skills (particularly through the former Geology Department's M Sc in Micropalaeontology). This expertise did not disappear along with the Geology Department. This talk will briefly review current activities in these areas, and use case studies to show that palaeoecology is still a lively, varied and relevant discipline within the University.'

"Ostracods, Ancient And Modern A Review Of John Neale's Scientific Contribution", by Alan Lord, Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Frankfurt and David J. Horne, Department of Geography, Queen Mary University of London.

During a professional career of 42 years John Neale published 111 scientific papers and book chapters, and edited 5 books, mainly concerning the bivalved crustacean group Ostracoda. Although dominantly taxonomic in nature, this body of work includes an extraordinary range of material both living and fossil, from late Jurassic to modern in age, from a range of marine and non-marine environments, and demonstrates a pioneering combination of palaeontological and zoological methods.

"Silurian Events In The Howgill Fells, Cumbria", by Barrie Rickards

The author will outline Professor John Neale's input to the beginnings of what has turned out to be a major research programme including the author's Ph.D. in 1963: the field training by Cambridge University of well over one thousand undergraduates and post graduates; and the publication of numerous papers on Silurian sedimentation, Caledonian and Variscan deformation, the graptolite and trilobite faunas, global correlation, and palaeoenvironments. And, latterly, extensive remapping of the Silurian, partly in conjunction with BGS and linked to mapping in the main Lake District outcrop and the Barbon and Middleton Fells to the south of Sedbergh. The current phase of research began sometime ago and involved interpreting the oxic and anoxic regimes in the Silurian ocean, using very precise correlative tools.

"A Glimpse Of The Near Future, From The Geological Past", by Mark Williams, Department of Geology, University of Leicester, Leicester []

In the 18th and 19th centuries James Hutton and Charles Lyell developed the idea of using present Earth processes as a key to the geological past. But does the past also provide a clue to Earth's future? The past 50 million years of Earth history has been characterised by a gradual change from a Greenhouse to an Icehouse climate, but in the near future, global surface temperatures may rise by several °C as a result of greenhouse gas warming. This magnitude of warming has not happened for millions of years. From the Antarctic to the tropics, the fossil record provides a signal of past global climate change. How does this signal provide a key to the Earth's near future? That is the question to be explored in this lecture.

"The Earliest Cretaceous (Berriasian To Valanginian)Ammonite Faunas Of The Speeton Clay: What We Know And What We Don't", by Pete Rawson, UCL.

The phosphatic nodule bed (D2D) at the base of the Hauterivian clays at Speeton marks an important divide; ammonites are reasonably common and well-preserved above, but generally rare and poorly preserved below. Almost 50 years ago Jack Doyle and John Neale discovered the first ammonites to be recorded from the lowest D beds (D7 and D6). These were described by Neale in 1962 (Palaeontology, vol. 5) as Laugeites?, Paracraspedites, Subcraspedites and Tollia. Their preservation was very poor so it is hardly surprising that within a few years Casey had challenged many of the generic identifications based on newly-discovered, better-preserved, related faunas from Norfolk and Lincolnshire. But Casey confirmed Neale's dating of this Speeton fauna as Berriasian in age. Bed D5 marks a brackish-water interval, without ammonites, but beds D4 to D2E have long yielded pyritised innermost whorls, some of which were figured by Pavlow and Lamplugh in 1892. Most are too small for firm identification, but they give tantalising glimpses of forms apparently closely related to Early Valanginian faunas from North Germany and the Russian Platform. Even more frustrating, several museums include beautifully preserved large Polyptychites that were collected by 19th century collectors but are never found today! One of the biggest challenges it to determine where these came from. The phosphatic nodule bed at the base of D2D is one of the most fascinating horizons. It includes both pyritised earliest Hauterivian Endemoceras and a wide range of phosphatised Valanginian taxa. The latter include representatives of nearly all the North German late Valangian zones, condensed into a few centimetres of sediment. The major stratigraphic break represented here can be traced across much of eastern England and into the North Sea Basin.

Jack Doyle also gave a short personal tribute to John Neale.

John Catt proposed a vote of thanks to the speakers.

Back numbers of Humberside Geologist and the new CD-ROM version were sale at the meeting.



In the footsteps of Lamplugh.

Saturday 8th October 2005 - joint afternoon lecture meeting with Yorkshire Geological Society - looking at the work of G W Lamplugh and the progress made in local geology in the last 100 years. Speakers - John Catt, Mike Horne, Paul Hildreth, Rory Mortimore and Pete Rawson. Followed by a field meeting.

The HGS Secretary compiled a CD-ROM of the October joint meeting. Included on the CD are recordings of three of the talks (as wav files), the text of two of the talks, a report of the field meeting and photographs of the displays and field meeting taken by Paul Richards. The CD should play on all modern computers that have web-browsing facilities; no technical support is offered.

Abstracts -

Pete Rawson - The Speeton Clay: ‘a section that is impossible to exhaust’

It is frustrating that in his 1898 talk Lamplugh observed that "the open questions that [the Speeton clays] supply would make too long a tale for one night" so said relatively little about them! But he stressed that the Speeton section 'is impossible to exhaust'. Despite the wealth of information that has been obtained since, that statement remains as true today is it was in 1898. The transient nature of the exposures, especially of the higher beds, and the occasional sweeping clean of parts of the section means that it is continuously changing and we may still make new discoveries. We can also look at it afresh in the light of broader geological discoveries made since Lamplugh's time, such as the effects of Milankovicz astronomical cycles on sedimentation.

Lamplugh's (1889) seminal work on the subdivision of the Speeton Clay had established the main, fourfold division into the A to D beds (based on the belemnite sequence) and by 1898 he could claim that the succession from the D beds to the 'Cement Beds' (middle B) was fairly well known. But he noted in his 1898 talk that knowledge of the remaining part of the succession and its faunas remained 'indefinite'. The gaps began to be filled by Lamplugh himself, together with the local workers Danford and Stather, so that by 1924 he could suggest, in his Presidential Address to our Society, a provisional correlation with the Lower Greensand and Gault sequences of southern England. Members of the Hull Geological Society also focused on the poorly known higher beds in the 1930s and 40s. But it was not till the 1990s that good temporary exposures allowed Mitchell and Underwood to produce a detailed stratigraphy of these higher levels, though the patchiness of exposure and degree of disturbance of these beds suggests that much more remains to be gleaned.

Renewed research on the main part of the sequence was stimulated by John Neale and his research students at the University of Hull in the 1960s. This led to documentation of many of the microfaunas, and renewed investigation of the ammonite and belemnite faunas. Since then Speeton has become a key section for comparison with the offshore North Sea area - the development of an oil industry there is something that Lamplugh could not foresee but would have been fascinated with. Nor could he foresee the many non-biological methods of correlation that are so important now. For example, Milankovicz-scale cycles are recognised in parts of the section, while the belemnite guards that are so common there provide important material for isotope stratigraphy. But despite all this work, Lamplugh's comment that 'whenever there happened to be a good exposure I never failed to find some detail of the stratigraphy or some fossil which was new to me' remains as true today as it did in 1898, and that is what makes the Speeton section so fascinating.

Rory Mortimore - What have we done to the Yorkshire Chalk?

Abstract -

In March 1898 Lamplugh identified the inadequacy of information regarding the Chalk of Yorkshire as positively surprising. Despite the immense advances in knowledge in stratigraphy, linking many parts of the Yorkshire Chalk-column to a regional, national and international litho- bio- and chemo-stratigraphical framework, and the work on sedimentology, tectonics and hydrogeology, there are still some surprising inadequacies. These include explanations for the hardness of the Yorkshire Chalk, the origin of many of the marl seams and the precise relationship between the Yorkshire Chalk and the southern chalks of England at various levels.

This paper first explores some of the contributions to the advances in knowledge in stratigraphy and tectonics made by many amateur and professional geologists over last 100 years and then investigates some of the areas still to be explored, supporting Lamplugh’s observation that nothing is exhaustive or final.

Mike Horne - Open questions in East Yorkshire Geology - answers from the amateurs.


There is a long history of quality geological research in East Yorkshire by amateur geologists. G W Lamplugh carried out most of his research in the area as an amateur, before taking a job with the Geological Survey in 1892. He worked on three main areas of interest - the Speeton Clay, the Chalk and the Quaternary deposits around Flamborough.

The Speeton Clay continues to attract many amateur collectors and some have published papers about its fossils including Danford, Ennis and Thompson. In the 1970s Lynden Emery studied the bivalves and gastropods for an unpublished thesis.

Lamplugh provided an early lithostratigraphy of the Chalk, which was followed by Rowe's biostratigraphy. A succession of Hull Geological Society members worked on the inland exposures: D W Toyne started a survey of the Chalk pits of the Wolds and when he died in a road accident the young Ted and Willy Wright continued the work until their research was interrupted by WW2. Felix Whitham and the Hull Geological Centenary Project produced a lithostratigraphy of the whole sequence in the 1980s and 90s.

The East Riding Boulder survey recorded the erratics of the region and W S Bisat's research included an accurate survey of the Tills in the Holderness Cliffs.

As well as continuing the research on the Chalk in recent years Hull G S members have informally revived the Boulder Committee and have been investigating the Quaternary deposits around Flamborough and the 'rafts' in the Holderness boulder clays. Members have also undertaken 'rescue geology' - recording and collecting from temporary or threatened exposures.

But is amateur research now under threat? Inland exposures are being filled (including fly-tipping in RIGS), university geology departments have been closed, there is a decline in the number of geology teachers in schools and the number of students studying geology 'A' level, libraries are replacing books and periodicals with computers and Hull Museums have just "deleted" the post of Keeper of Geology and will no longer be "pro-active" in the science.  How can researchers put their important specimens and data into the public domain in the future? What can geological societies do to reverse these trends and encourage amateurs to carry out research?

J.A.Catt - The work of G.W.Lamplugh in understanding the Quaternary history of East Yorkshire

Abstract -

Brought up and initially employed in Bridlington, G.W.Lamplugh took an early amateur interest in local Quaternary deposits, such as the tills and erratics, the shelly Bridlington Crag, the Ipswichian interglacial raised beach at Sewerby and the Speeton Shell Bed. His understanding of the Holderness till sequence was based on Wood and Rome (1868, Quart. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 24, 146-184), though he correctly realized that their Basement Clay included two slightly different units, which he termed the Basement and Lower Purple (the Basement and Skipsea Tills in modern nomenclature). Lamplugh’s detailed accounts of these two tills and associated deposits exposed in the cliffs on either side of Bridlington Harbour (before they were obscured by concrete sea walls) and in Filey Bay were more careful than any published in Britain or elsewhere for almost a century. Consequently they are valuable even today.

In his 1888 report on the Sewerby raised beach (Proc. Yorks. Geol & Polyt. Soc. 9, 381-392), Lamplugh tentatively identified the till exposed above the raised beach as the Lower Purple (= Skipsea), and this has been corroborated by all who have subsequently studied the exposure and analysed the till. However, in later papers (starting with Rept Brit. Ass. Adv. Sci. for 1888, published 1889, 328-338), he repeatedly asserted that this till is the Basement. Various unlikely stratigraphic reasons were given for this change of mind. However, the most probable (though unstated) reason was his conviction that there was only one Pleistocene glaciation in Britain, implying that the beach was ‘preglacial’ and not interglacial. In view of the widespread evidence for several glaciations and numerous interglacials in the British Quaternary sequence, Lamplugh’s monoglacialist views are now untenable. Also in 1963 temporary shore exposures between Sewerby and Bridlington showed that the Basement Till underlies the Sewerby interglacial beach and later deposits (Marine Isotope Stages 5e and 2), and is therefore attributable to MIS 6 (Late Wolstonian) or an earlier glaciation.

Displays -

"Belemnites from a raft of ? Oxford Clay found on the Holderness Coast" by Stuart Jones.

"Squat Lobster from the Speeton Clay" by Dave Turner.

"Fossils from the Tealby series and chalk succession of North Lincolnshire " by John Green.

Abstract - "Investigations I have made into small but important exposures of the latest Jurassic and earliest Cretaceous, Spilsby and Claxby beds of Lincolnshire in recent years have revealed a large and varied fauna, these faunas are of special significance largely due to the fact that large scale exposures of these beds are no longer available and those that are almost inaccessible.The display will include a selection of the aforementioned fauna and also a range of fossils from the chalk of North Lincolnshire I have been collecting fossils for 13 years and predominately specialise in the Tealby series and the chalk of North Lincolnshire, I would gladly welcome feedback or questions from other members and would be keen to view specimens from either area."

"A Tertiary bivalve from the Holderness Tills" by Mike Horne.

"Some Lamplugh correspondence" by Jack Doyle.

"Microfossils from the Chalk, Speeton Clay and Quaternary of East Yorkshire" by Mike Horne.

"Glacial erratics from the Wolds plateau" by Derek Gobbitt.

"Erratics from the Yorkshire Coast from Whitby to Easington" by Ron Harrison.

"Living fossils and plant fossils" by Gordon Binns and Chris Blackhurst.

"Fossils from the Lincolnshire Chalk" by Paul Hildreth


Hull Museums - geology.

Local geologists, the Society and East Yorkshire RIGS Group have been worried that Hull Museums have not replaced Matt Stevens, who left the post of Keeper of Geology and Natural History in 2004. In reply to enquiries we have discovered from Jayne Tyler in August 2005 that :-

"The Assistant Keeper of Natural History post has been deleted from Hull Museums Service as part of savings we had to make in terms of posts. This was not a decision we took lightly but one that followed a review of all of the City's Designated and non-designated collections and the use which was being made of the collections by the residents of Hull and the wider public. In a climate of local authority restructuring, reviews and reallocation of funding we have to continually justify the areas of our collections and Service which are being funded and the benefits for our community. I realise that this is not such good news for the areas of the Service which have been cut as a result of re-allocation of resources. The impact on the natural history/geology collection at present is that it is no longer an active collection but instead one that is being maintained and preserved by the Service. However we are pleased to inform you that we are currently seconding a natural history curator from the Yorkshire Hub to work on the maintenance of the collections on a monthly basis. This as you are aware is being carried out under the supervision of Bryan Sitch and a colleague at the Yorkshire Museum."


Donald Beveridge, a past Vice-President of the Society died on Saturday 20th March 2004. Donald and his friend Harry Thompson were instrumental in the planning, fundraising, design and construction of the shelter at Rifle Butts SSSI.


A small group of Society members has started work on a research project to investigate the Quaternary deposits of the Flamborough coast. Please contact me if you are interested in helping.


If you missed our contribution to the BBC's Sense of Place project you can listen to it on the BBC Humber website -


The "Hunting Dinosaurs in Argentina" lecture and "Stones and Bones" walk both attracted about 30 people. The Society thanks Hull Museums and Chris Ketchell (respectively) for their help.


News about the geology books from the University Library:

Members of the Society 'rescued' a substantial number of geology books that were no longer required by the University Library. We are grateful to the University for the donation of the books and to the Library staff for their help.

The Society has formed a Library sub-committee to decide on the future of the books and make a proposal to next year's AGM. Stuart Jones has kindly allowed us to keep the books in a room at his house and has volunteered to act as Librarian. The sub-committee is planning to create a catalogue of the books and make this available to members.

As an interim plan of operation, members may borrow up to six books and periodicals from Stuart for a period of one month. Non-members may also borrow books and periodicals, subject to a five pounds' deposit for each item. Any costs involved in the loan are to be met by the borrower.

We are happy to accept the donation of other publications to the new Library. We have already received some maps of the geology of the North Sea and parts of Scotland.

Stephen Whitaker has donated some copies of the Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society to our Library. This is a complete run from volume 34 (in 1963) to volume 52 (for 1999). We are grateful to Stephen for his donation.

Gordon Binns has donated about 50 books to the Library in August 2006.

You can contact Stuart on his mobile 'phone - number 07932 600 384


News from the East Yorkshire RIGS Group. The Group has designated eight Hull urban Geological sites as RIGS: King Billy Statue is good gilding, granites and crinoidal limestone used in the Gentlemens' toilets beneath; Lloyds - TSB Rapakivi Granite; Festival House - fossiliferous sandstone; Pillars on HSBC showing crystal settling; Williamsons Solicitors in Lowgate - Ashburton "Marble" with stromatoporoid fossils; Monument Buildings - granite with xenoliths; and the Volcanic tuffs on both the Police station and Methodist Hall for their sedimentary structures.






Copyright - Hull Geological Society 2014

Registered Educational Charity No. 229147