Hull Geological Society
News archive 2009-10
Saturday 23rd October 2010- joint afternoon meeting with Yorkshire Geological Society at Hull University on "New Techniques in Geology" .
The Role of Geoforensics in Policing & Law Enforcement: How do Geologists’ help the Police Investigate Crime? by Laurance Donnelly BSc (Hons), PhD, CGeol, CSci, EurGeol, FGS, FGSA Forensic Geologist Chair, Geological Society Forensic Geoscience Group IUGS-GEM Geoforensic International Network Forensic Geologist & Police Search Adviser Exploration & Engineering Geologist
"Forensic Geology (known also as Geoforensics or Forensic Geoscience) is the application of geology to criminal investigations. Forensic geologists may assist the police in some types of crimes to help determine what happened, where and when it occurred, or to help search for homicide graves or other objects buried in the ground. In a law enforcement context, geoforensic specialists may support the police in two broad fields of geoforensics. These are (a) geological (trace) evidence and (b) search.
"Geological (trace) evidence involves the collection, analysis, interpretation, presentation and explanation of geological evidence. Trace evidence can vary considerably and may include for example; rock fragments, soils and sediments, which occur naturally in the ground, artificial (anthropogenic) man-made materials derived from geological raw materials (such as bricks, concrete, glass or plaster board), or micro-fossils. These may be transferred onto the body, person or the clothing of a victim or offender. This evidence may then be used to see if there could be an association between different items or objects. Geologists’ help the police search for locating (and sometimes the recovery of) objects buried in the ground, including for example, homicide graves, mass graves related to genocide, weapons, firearms, improvised devices, explosives, drugs, stolen items, money, coinage and jewellery.
"This lecture provides a general overview on the history and evolution of forensic geology and how geologists have helped the Police with certain types of crimes including rapes, murders, robbery, terrorism and the search for graves, weapon, money & drugs. It draws on operational case examples and provides information on the logistical aspects of working with the Police. Since 2002 there have been at least 10 international meeting on forensic geology, five text books have been published and numerous technical papers and articles. Together, these all demonstrate the wealth in activity and interest in forensic geology in the UK and world-wide. "
"Applying new geochemical methods to old geological problems: three examples" - by Mike Rogerson of the University of Hull
"The rapid ongoing development of instruments and methods in analytical chemistry is gradually opening up new ways of looking at geological materials, and providing new insights into the past. Here I discuss three examples of the application of relatively new approaches to problems that have been discussed by geologists for at least a century.
"1) How closely are the mineral products precipitated from water related to the properties of the water itself? This is a particular issue for tufaceous deposits, which preserve a potentially important record of past environmental change in their chemical and physical properties. Using a unique experimental approach allied to trace element geochemistry and synchrotron radiation analysis, we have been able to isolate and understand an important secondary biological control on tufa calcite fabric and composition Ongoing work will determine whether critical parameters such as past water temperature can be extracted from these deposits.
" 2) What is the timing and climatic significance of stalagmite growth and its relevance to the archaeological record? Using U-Th disequilibrium geochronology and an automated XRF logging device on two stalagmites from Slovenia, we have been able to demonstrate that the timing of the local adoption of farming coincides with a period of slow stalagmite growth and high residence time of water in the aquifer. This new evidence indicates that farming in the northwest Balkans occurred during a period of relative aridity.
"3) Why do sites of early human occupation in the Sahara occur in places that are incapable of supporting life today? Recent work on stalagmites, tufa deposits and radioisotope distributions within freshwaters from Libya show that the coastal mountains were more humid though much of the last glacial cycle. Moreover, they were significantly more humid during the last interglacial at which time a continuous humid corridor extended from the Tibesti mountains to the Mediterranean."
"Understanding Bioturbation in Sandy Sediments" by Dr Mark D. Bateman, University of Sheffield.
"Key to using Quaternary sediments to reconstruct former environments is the assumption that the sediment have not undergone alteration or disturbance since deposition. In many circumstances the validity of this assumption can be easily verified by looking at sedimentary structures or the contexts in which units are found. However, in massive unbedded sandy sedimentary units the likelihood of preservation of crotavina (animal burrows) or more subtle disturbance by flora/fauna (bioturbation) is low. Should we then avoid such sediments when reconstructing former environments? If we do it would then be difficult to reconstruct Quaternary palaeoenvironments from many semi-arid and arid areas of the world.
"Luminescence dating, which directly dates the burial age of quartz and feldspar minerals, has been around for a few decades. More recently instrumentation has developed which allows the measurements and dating of individual quartz sand grains. With this comes the potential to see within a sedimentary unit whether some grains have been exhumed and moved up/down profile by bioturbation. It also holds the promise of being able to distinguish between these sediments and those which are still intact and therefore of greater utility for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions."
Is this the way you were taught Geology? Recent developments in methods of teaching Earth science in schools. by Peter Kennett, Earth Science Education Unit
Virtually all pupils in the maintained sector of school education are currently required to follow the National Curriculum. Earth science comprises approximately 4% of the National Curriculum for Science, with some complementary aspects within the Geography curriculum. Five versions of the National Curriculum have been published since its inception in the late 1980s. Support for science teachers, many of whom lack any geological background, has been patchy, with publishers rushing into print with much erroneous material. The Earth Science Teachers' Association (ESTA) has voluntarily endeavoured to provide accurate, practical materials, but has suffered from not being widely known. The Association for Science Education and the learned scientific societies have provided sympathetic moral support - the ASE by encouraging an Earth Science input at its conferences and the societies by sponsoring a website with Earth flavoured activities in each of their own specialisms (www.esta-uk.net/jesei/index). All these initiatives are aimed at giving teachers the confidence to carry out practical investigations in Earth science and not simply to tell their pupils to scratch a few rocks and to write up the Rock Cycle from a textbook.
The Earth Science Education Unit was formed in 1999, with the support of Oil and Gas UK (formerly UKOOA), and now has over 40 facilitators across Great Britain offering Continuing Professional Development in Primary and Secondary schools and teacher education establishments for travel and incidental costs only. See www.earthscienceeducation.com
A new website, www.earthlearningidea.com was formed in 2007, for UNESCO's International Year of Planet Earth, and continues to publish Earth science activities at regular intervals. Some 90 activities are now freely available, aimed largely at teacher training institutions and schools in Third World countries, with little or no equipment. It is all the more remarkable that the site is run by three geology teachers with no funding whatever; the site is being used in over 160 countries and the activities are being translated by enthusiastic volunteers into seven other languages!
At A Level, Geology entries across the country dropped from a maximum of nearly 4000 in the 1980s to around 1500, but have recently risen to nearly 2000. The importance of A Level or even GCSE in Geology as an inspiration for a career in the Earth sciences cannot be stressed highly enough, and yet the subject is often seen as a soft target for cuts when a geology teacher retires or times are hard. ESTA continues to assist teachers in delivering A Level and GCSE Geology and members have access to a wide range of innovative resources, again developed by volunteers. (www.esta-uk.net).
Members of local geological societies can play a valuable role in raising the profile of the subject by offering to become "Ambassadors" to schools, or to run events for National Science Week in March, both through their local STEMPOINT base; by promoting Rockwatch - the national club for young geologists; by informing contacts in education, at home or overseas about the websites named above. Age is no barrier!
[note - the hyperlinks were provided by the speaker]
There will be for sale some Kellaways Rock ammonites collected and prepared for display by Felix Whitham. Proceeds will be donated to University of Hull Clinical Neuroscience Centre for Alzheimer's Research.
Jack and Brenda Almond will be displaying fossils from the Holderness Coast
Virtual Fossils: Silurian Soft-Bodied Sensations Released From The Rock by Dr Derek Siveter of Oxford University. [NOTE - this lecture has been cancelled, sorry]
"The Herefordshire Lagerstätte is a unique fossil deposit of Silurian age (about 425 million years old). The millimetre to centimetre scale fossils are preserved in concretions in marine-deposited volcanic ash. They are remarkable in that not only biomineralized shells are preserved, but also soft-bodied invertebrates, and these in spectacular three-dimensional detail. Soft-bodied fossils belonging to the earlier Cambrian Period, from deposits such as the Burgess Shale, have revolutionised our understanding of the early evolution of multicellular life and the spectacular diversification known as the ‘Cambrian Explosion’. However, soft-bodied faunas from the Silurian are largely unknown, and the Herefordshire fauna thus provides us with a previously unavailable window into a community from the aftermath of the Cambrian Explosion.
"Soft-bodied fossils are usually compressed to two dimensions, and must be reconstructed artistically to an approximation of their original form. The unusual three-dimensional nature of the Herefordshire fossils, in contrast, has enabled an innovative and more direct approach. Specimens are ground away and imaged using digital photography. These serial ‘slices’ are then combined by computer to reconstruct the animal in minute detail as a three-dimensional model that can be examined interactively on screen. These models combine the roles of original specimen and illustrative reconstruction, and enable the fauna to be studied through ‘virtual palaeontology’. The computer reconstruction can even be turned into a physical model through rapid prototyping technologies. "
Report on the Field Trip to the North Yorkshire Moors on Sunday 4th July 2010 led by Paul Hildreth -
Seven members and friends met at the University car park and proceeded to the viewpoint at Staxton Brow (TA010780) where the leader presented an overview of the day’s focus, the effect of the Devensian North Sea Ice Sheet on the drainage pattern of the North Yorkshire Moors.
From the chalk escarpment members were able to see westwards to the Howardian Hills, the western end of the former Lake Pickering which developed as east-flowing rivers including the River Rye (now a tributary of the Derwent) were prevented from entering the sea near present-day Scarborough. Looking northwards, a wooded valley marked the position of Forge Valley where the Derwent, originally draining a small area of the North Yorkshire Moors and entering the sea at Scalby Mills, overflowed from its blocked valley to contribute to the rising waters of Lake Pickering. Lake Pickering itself eventually overflowed at Kirkham Abbey south west of Malton. Looking towards Scarborough, the sea could be glimpsed through examples of pre-Devensian valleys one of which, Weaponness Valley, carries the main A64 road from Seamer into the town and past the Mere.
The next stop was a lay-by close to Helwath Bridge (SE953997). From here the group walked along a public footpath from the main Scarborough – Whitby (A171) road to a small valley cut into Middle Jurassic rocks. A good section in the valley side showed a thick sandstone unit overlying interbedded shales and sandstones containing plant fragments. These are representative of the deltaic facies, probably marsh deposits, of the Cloughton Formation. The valley here is cut by the Castle Beck which flows southwards.
The next stage of the route took us across a pleasant summer meadow of grasses and wild flowers. The botanists in the group began making exciting noises as they came across a variety of plants including orchids. A dry stone wall and stile marked the boundary between the meadow (improved land) and open heather moorland. Here the group began to descend the deeply incised valley of the Helwath Beck. This stream flows westwards rising east of the A171 road (and therefore away from the sea). It resulted from the melting ice adjacent to the North Sea Ice Sheet and its energy allowed it to cut deeply into the land surface, so deeply that it cut across the north – south trending valley of the Castle Beck beheading the stream and capturing its headwaters.
In the valley of the Helwath Beck the group visited a small waterfall. The local flora was examined my several members of the group but the leader and secretary were discussing the possibility that the waterfall coincided with the strike of a more resistant marine band. They had discovered a large Jurassic oyster (Ostrea sp.) and a slab of limestone containing common marine fossils.
Lunch was taken in a sylvan setting close to the confluence of the Helwath and Jugger Howe Becks. As well as the interesting flora and relaxing tinkle of moorland streams we were treated to the flitting company of many small, brown Ringlet butterflies.
Leaving the valley of the Helwath and Jugger Howe Becks we regained the road at Castlebeck Pits (SE951980) where the leader had earlier craftily arranged the deployment of a vehicle to save a long walk back to the lay-by at Helwath Bridge. Here the valley of the Castle Beck, at a higher level but parallel to that of the Jugger Howe Beck, can be recognised. It is now largely abandoned for the reasons expressed earlier but its course is clear.
The next stage was a car journey through the Tabular Hills to Hackness via Silpho. At Hackness Hall (SE972906) the leader informed the group that this was where William Smith, the Father of British geology, had been employed as estate manager. We looked for a monument in tribute to Matthew Noble in the churchyard. Noble had been born in Hackness in 1817 and would have known William Smith. He became a successful sculptor creating the Wellington Monument in Manchester. He also produced a marble bust of Smith which now, after its recovery from a dusty Wandsworth repository, has pride of place in the William Smith Building of the BGS at Keyworth, Nottinghamshire.
A short journey from Hackness took us along the quite broad valley of the Derwent past Everley (SE972890) to Forge Valley. Here the broad valley of the pre-glacial Derwent turns eastwards towards the sea but the river, having been blocked and probably ponded back to form a small proglacial lake, bursts through the rim of Corallian rocks to cut a steepsided, narrow gorge on its way to the Vale of Pickering.
Report of field trip to Filey Brigg on Sunday 13th June 2010 - A tribute to Felix Whitham. Terry Rockett writes - "A group of HGS members visited Filey Brigg to study the Corallian Rocks, their fossils and structure. We used field notes written by Felix when he led a trip in 1988. Unfortunately we were unable to reach the Lower Calcareous Grit (Ball Beds) because of access difficulty. However we did identify all the other strata using Felix’s map and notes. We also found and identified a number of fossils described by him. The group also studied and discussed in detail the periglacial, glacial and post glacial features of the Brigg. Markers placed during earlier visits on either sides of some faults hoping to measure any recent movement were inconclusive at this time – these will be looked at in the future."
Kiplingcotes Walk, Monday May 3rd 2010 led by Mike Horne..
The walk around the Kiplingcotes area on May Bank Holiday was attended by eight members. This field trip was one of our contributions to Yorkshire Geology Month 2010. It also was in memory of two members of the Society Donald Beveridge and Felix Whitham. The first time I did the triangular walk we were led by Don, though we started at a different corner of the triangle. Felix had published details of the sites we visited in Humberside Geologist and Yorkshire Rocks and Landscape. We set off from "Grannies Attic" up the Arras hill stopping to view a disused quarry half way. Walking from the top of the Hill down the Wolds Way we could see all the way to the wind farm at Lissett and York Minster. We stopped for lunch at the now overgrown Black Band exposure and as we bit into our sandwiches the skies opened with a hailstorm. We made a dash for Rifle Butts SSSI and were pleased that Don and Felix had worked so hard to get a shelter built there to protect the geology - it also keeps geologists dry! After the storm had cleared we stopped to look at the nearby springs before continuing along the Hudson Way to view the Kiplingcotes Railside Pit and nature reserve, on the way back to our vehicles.
Thursday 11th March 2010 - Flint – a key to unlocking the past? by Paul Hildreth
Flint is a well-known, characteristic lithology associated intimately with the Chalk of Britain and Europe. Despite its common occurrence, both stratigraphically and geographically during the Upper Cretaceous period, its formation remained something of a mystery until relatively recently; some might argue that it still is! There are undoubtedly special depositional factors necessary for flint formation which, when considered alongside other features, may suggest major regional palaeoenvironmental events. I plan in this talk to review the distribution of flint within the Chalk succession, address the likely factors controlling its deposition, draw attention to associated features and finally consider the implications for the palaeogeography of northern Europe.
Thursday 18th February 2010 Investigation into the post-mortem transport of benthic foraminifera by Angela Kelham
Foraminifera are a key group in biostratigraphy due to their great diversity, longevity and abundance in the geological record, providing a vital means of constructing high-resolution biostratigraphy for individual fields and reservoirs. Assemblages are also used as indicators of variable environmental conditions, allowing biozonal subdivision of sedimentary units. This approach, however, is reliant on an understanding of how associations of fossil taxa are controlled by local environmental conditions. Post-mortem transport of foraminifera from the continental shelf to the deep sea is well documented. Although most benthic foraminifera live at depths up to 1000m, their tests contribute to fossil assemblages across vast areas of the oceans of abyssal plains. Sediments from off-shore settings provide many of the source, reservoir and seal formations for the worlds most significant accumulations of hydrocarbons but palaeoenvironmental reconstruction can be difficult.
The traditional view that assemblages from submarine canyon and fan environments should be abandoned as hopelessly taphonomically corrupted has been challenged by recent work on the Tertiary deposits of Spain and recent turbidites from the North Atlantic. These studies indicate that turbidite assemblages may contain useful palaeoenvironmental information, dependant on an understanding of recolonisation of defaunated substrates and the behaviour of foraminiferal tests during transportation. This project aims to develop the fundamental concepts needed to extract the latter information, via a series of classical particle hydraulics experiments on empty tests.
Hyaline foraminifera have been selected as they are well preserved and the most abundant tests found in shelf and upper-slope environments; consequently, they are the most likely taxa to be entrained into gravity flows. Settling tube analysis of several species has shown that velocities are significantly different between taxa, meaning that assemblages are likely to fractionate according to species during transportation. Further work is to be undertaken to more completely understand foraminiferal hydraulic behaviour to enable delineation of ecological and hydraulic controls on fossil test assemblages.
It is with sadness that inform you that Dr Felix Whitham died on 22nd November 2009, almost two months after celebrating his 90th birthday. Felix joined the Society in 1961 and was our Treasurer from 1965 until 2002. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Hull for his reserch into the stratigraphy of the Yorkshire Chalk. He recently donated his collection of Chalk fossils to the British Geological Survey in Keyworth; this will be a valuable resource for geologists of the future.
Thursday 19th November 2009 "Darwin's Lost World: in search of the hidden history of animal life" , by Martin Brasier of Oxford University
"The case at present must remain inexplicable…" Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species.
The rocks below the trilobite-laden Cambrian seemed to be barren. Where were the fossil ancestors to all those amazing early animals? This talk is about the quest to solve Darwin's Dilemma. Since Charles Darwin in 1859, palaeontologists have been seeking the hidden history of animals. And sure enough, they have found fossils, all over the world, going back far into the past; fossils that would have thrilled Darwin - large, enigmatic marine forms, and a veritable feast of tiny single cells. But the relatively sudden (geologically speaking) dawn of the modern world of animals - the "Cambrian Explosion" - has remained a puzzle. Was it really an "explosion" of new forms? Or was it simply an explosion of fossils, once animals acquired hard parts which could be well preserved?
Martin Brasier, Professor of Palaeobiology at Oxford, sets out to recount the nature and challenges of the quest, which has taken scientists to the remotest locations. He argues that the Cambrian explosion was real - a genuine and profound change affecting the whole Earth system. And the cause may have been intrinsic to life itself…
Martin Brasier is currently the Professor of Palaeobiology at Oxford. He studied as an undergraduate at Chelsea College from 1966-9, and at University College from 1969-1972, serving a year during his doctorate as Ship's Scientist aboard the Caribbean Hydrographic Survey Cruise of HMS Fox and Fawn in 1970. After obtaining his PhD on the ecology of foraminifera living in recent reefs and lagoons, he spent a year with the British Geological Survey, and another with the Sedimentology group at Reading, followed by 14 years at Hull and then 21 years at Oxford. During this time, he has acted as Chairman of the Cambrian Subcomission - overseeing the placement of the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, and as a voting member for the new Ediacaran System. He is a past Chairman of Earth Sciences at Oxford and a Dean of Degrees at St Edmund Hall.
In his research, he has sought to help establish criteria for the elucidation of the earliest fossil record. The intention here has been to open up debate for the scientific community, so that it is free to come to better judgements about the many accepted dogmas, and hopefully become more informed about the conclusions which can be reached about the biogenicity, validity and age of the claimant earliest fossils. As shown in his recent book Darwin's Lost World, the focus of his research has shifted gradually from the living world towards the origins of life itself. His firm view is that research into early life is impossible without a thorough understanding of marine biology and the way in which it translates into the fossil record.
His Oxford Palaeobiology research group now works on the ecology and evolution of the early biosphere, from the origins of life, through the modelling of growth and morphospace in simple and primitive organisms, to the early colonization of the land (from BIF to amber). The aim throughout has been to combine high resolution contextural analysis in both field and lab (mapping at all scales from kilometers to nanometres) coupled to robust and innovative questioning. Some recent research from his group includes field and laboratory re-analysis of the context and evidence for Earth's oldest microfossil assemblage in the 3.46 Ga Apex chert; and laser mapping of the growth, morphospace and evolutionary significance of the Ediacara biota.
Thursday 15th October 2009 - "Whyte about the Gills - Soft Tissue Preservation in Bivalves" by Dr Martin A. Whyte of the University of Sheffield.
The old story of soft tissue preservation in Portlandian trigonioid bivalves has been amply demonstrated by recent discoveries. Most commonly this consists of preservation of the firm tissue of the gill supports, which in life are mineralized with phosphate. Other body tissues may also be preserved and are phosphatised rather than silicified, as was originally suggested. The decay and collapse of tissues and gill supports leads to some taphonomically interesting specimens with unusual geopetal structures.
Gill supports have also been found in trigonioid bivalves of other ages from Lower Carboniferous (Mississippian) to Cretaceous. One other group of extant bivalves, the unionoid bivalves, also has gill support structures in life and these have also been found preserved in some fossil specimens. The fossil evidence appears to support the derivation of the more advanced eulamellibranch gill of the unionoids from the more primitive filibranch gill of the trigonioids.
Brief Biography -
Geology took me under its spell while I was an undergraduate at St Andrews and I went on to do a Ph.D. in Edinburgh on the palaeoecology of a Carboniferous marine mudstone. Following this I had the great good fortune to be appointed by Professor Michael House to work with him in Hull on shell growth in bivalves. From the outset when I spent 24 hours collecting cockles from a small boat in Poole Harbour, working for him was both challenging and interesting. Thanks to his encouragement and support the three years that I spent in Hull were very formative ones. Though the work recounted in the lecture post-dates my period in Hull it is heavily dependent on knowledge gained while I was there. From Hull I moved to a post in Sheffield University, where I still work and continue my research in palaeoecology, trace fossils and biomineralization.
Sunday September 6th 2009 - "Raised beaches and the Chalk at South Landing and Danes Dyke" led by Ian Heppenstall and Mike Horne.
At South Landing we will proceed to the beach to the east point of the cliffs to view Chalk of the "Hagenowia rostrata" Zone before retracing our footsteps to the west point where we can see the lower part of the Uintacrinus Zone, viewing the various Quaternary deposits on the way. Just before setting off back there should be time to look at the ancient piers of the port which once exited in the bay. After lunch at Danes Dyke, more Quaternary deposits are visible and comparison can be made of the two ravines and the formations on both sides of each. At Danes Dyke we can examine the boundary between the Chalk of the Marsupites and Inoceramus lingua Zones. There are some steep slopes and the rocks on the beach may be slippery. Hard hats must be worn. Bring a packed lunch and something to drink. Hammering is not permitted on the cliffs or wave cut platforms of this SSSI.
Saturday 24th October 2009- Joint meeting with the Yorkshire Geological Society and the Geography Department of Hull University on "The Last Glacial Maximum", organised by Mike Rogerson and Paul Hildreth.
“The North Sea: A treasure trove for Pleistocene vertebrate palaeontology and archaeology” by Dick Mol, Natural History Museum, Rotterdam.
Although the woolly mammoth is certainly the most well known icon from the Ice Age, he was not the only inhabitant of that era. The woolly rhino and the saber-toothed cat roamed Northern Europe as well, in the shade of their mammoth companions. These species lived in the lowlands between the British Isles and the Netherlands, and their fossil remains are uncovered on a daily basis. During the Ice Age, the bottom of the North Sea used to be a vast plain, a delta of the River Meuse and the Thames, which we recognize today as the Mammoth Steppe.
Over the last few decades, close collaboration between the fishermen of the North Sea and scientists has resulted in a complete overview of what used to be the vast plains of the Ice Age. The flora and fauna of that time are now fully mapped and still educate us today.
Apart from the animal remains, it is evidently clear that man used to be part of the Mammoth Steppe. Until about 8,000 years ago, when the North Sea reached its current sea-level, man lived in these lowlands. In this report I will not only discuss the paleontological facts, but will also deal with the archeological value of this part of Northern Europe, in which man was an important player. Middle-Paleolithic artifacts from several sites of the plains of the North Sea, such as remarkable axes, will be on display for the first time in history. These sites can now be identified for certain as the home of the Neanderthals.
Furthermore, this account will not only deal with the Middle-Paleolithic component of the North Sea. Artifacts from the Mesolithic Age will also be discussed, as well as Mesolithic human remains. Moreover, several Neolithic axes provide proof of transport routes between Great Britain and the European mainland during the Ice Age.
"The Last Glacial Maximum: Raised Beaches And Glacial Deposits At South Landing And Danes Dyke, Near Flamborough" by I. E. Heppenstall, Hull Geological Society.
The raised beach and glacial deposits adjacent to the Sewerby Buried Cliff and those at Hessle are well documented but there are few mentions of deposits at the two major inlets on the coast to the south of Flamborough Head, namely the South Sea Landing and Danes Dyke. They are both documented as stream cut ravines in the glacial deposits of boulder clay filling former valleys in the chalk but there seem to have been few investigations of the nature of the two valleys or of any other deposits associated with them.
In 2002 when attending a course entitled "A second look at the Landscape of Bridlington and its Coastline" a field trip was made to South Landing and the course tutor, Richard Myerscough asked if there was anything unusual about the cliffs on the west side of the landing. It was immediately apparent that a. wave cut platform higher in part by about 1 metre than the present day platform and at right angles to the beach could be seen disappearing beneath the glacial deposits and associated with this there is a raised beach made of sea washed, flattened chalk boulders similar to but above those of the modern beach. Other layers are were also noticeable and the line of an old cliff also disappeared beneath the glacial deposits. With this in mind and remembering something similar at Danes Dyke I returned to Flamborough on 22nd. May 2002 and made drawings, took photographs and made notes of the west side of South Landing and both sides of Danes Dyke. The east side of and adjacent to South Landing was then covered by slumped boulder clay and nothing of any notable nature was recorded.
Having written my report entitle 'The Ipswichian Buried Cliff, are there more Exposures" I contacted Mike Home and advised him of my findings and conclusions and on visiting South Landing with Richard himself and examining the deposits on both sides of the Landing he called back and told me that there we were looking at a whole series of deposits covering a distance of over 1/8 of a mile (230 metres approx.). Following this a Quaternary Research Group was establish and frequent visits have been made to South Landing, Danes Dyke and Sewerby since then, measuring and recording the measurements of the layers as they are slowly eroded back.
At South Landing there is either a bay or a truncated valley which has previously been invaded by the sea\ leaving an old shore line with cliffs, wave cut platforms and raised beach layers and subsequently filled by interglacial or glacial deposits including rolled, rounded boulders, chalk wash, head or gravels and then covered by glacial tills or boulder clays. Between the raised beach and covering deposits is a layer of calcrete with numerous large and small chalk and various erratic inclusions plus, in some detached calcrete slabs, solidified sand lenses. A similar situation can be found at Danes Dyke but on a smaller scale as there a narrower, round bottomed valley has been invaded by the sea and then infilled by glacial deposits which have since been eroded out by the present day stream.
The only noteworthy references which I have found are:-
Dakyns, J.R.,1879, in Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological society, Vol. VI11878-1881 pp246-252: "Glacial Deposits North of Bridlington"
Whitham, F., 2000, in Rawson, P. F. and Wright, J. K.; "The Yorkshire Coast": "Itinerary 13, South Landing to Sewerby Steps". London, The Geologists' Association, guide No. 14
Young, Stephen, 1978; "Geology of the Yorkshire Coast, Whitby to Bridlington". Clapham, North Yorkshire, Dalesman Books (now available only in libraries or second hand).
"After the Ice: the recolonisation of Holderness" by Jane Bunting of the University of Hull.
When the ice sheets retreated, the landscape of Holderness was open for colonisation by plants and animals. In the late- and early post-glacial periods, lower sea-levels mean that Holderness was an area of higher land on the edge of a river plain connecting mainland Britain to Europe, so studying events in Holderness provides some insight into the drowned landscapes of the southern North Sea, as well as the dynamics of Holderness itself. Climate oscillations, the recolonisation of Britain by trees migrating back from their glacial refugia and the arrival of human settlers all contribute to the landscape signals preserved in the sediments of the many former meres and bogs scattered across the landscape. This talk will briefly review the evidence for landscape, environment and human communities in Holderness from the late-glacial period to the onset of farming.
"Evolution of the Humber drainage system in response to Devensian deglaciation: data from the Swale–Ure Washlands and the Trent Palaeolithic Aggregates Levy projects " by David Bridgland of the University of Durham.
The Humber estuary currently carries eastern Pennine drainage via the Yorkshire Ouse system as well as Britain’s third largest river, the Trent, which joins from the south, almost as though it were a tributary. In fact, prior to the Devensian the Trent flowed via Lincoln to the Wash, only joining the Humber, it would seem, as the ice disappeared and Lake Humber emptied. These two halves of the Humber system allow a unique comparison to be made between the areas inside and outside of the last glacial limit, since the Trent was largely unglaciated during the Devensian. Thus the Trent has a river-terrace record going back to the Middle Pleistocene, whereas the Ure, Swale and other Ouse-system records begin with Devensian deglaciation. Nevertheless, these rivers also have notable terrace systems, superficially, at least, similar to those from beyond the Devensian limit. Importantly, however, there is considerable difference in the disposition of the post-LGM fluvial deposits in these two subsystems. In the Ure and Swale there are modest terrace staircases, commencing with full glacial deposits that stand up to 30m above the modern floodplain. In the Trent, in contrast, last glacial gravels form the floor of the modern floodplain, with Holocene sediments emplaced directly above them. Thus there is little or no post-LGM incision in the Trent, whereas in the Ure and Swale several incision events are recorded, continuing into the later stages of the Holocene. Wider comparison reveals that the Ure is an exemplar for other sequences within the MIS 2 limit, whereas systems beyond this glaciation typically have last glacial sediments beneath their modern floodplains and show little evidence of post-Devensian incision. The various possible explanations of these differences will be discussed, with emphasis placed on glacio-isostatic uplift of areas glaciated during MIS 2 as the main reason for the significant post-glacial incision that typifies valleys in such regions.
Human-Landscape Interactions in the Pleistocene and Holocene by Malcolm Lillie
This talk provided an overview of the evidence for humans in the landscape of Britain from 680,000 years ago until the Holocene period up to ca. 6000 years ago. Examples of the British Pleistocene fossil record were contrasted against those from the Holocene in order to highlight the inherent variation in the nature of the evidence between interglacials and temporal distance. Contrasts between Britain, the Baltic and Ukrainian regions were outlined in order to assess the nature of the archaeological record for hunter-gatherers in different regions and with differing post-glacial landscape histories.
Complexities in the settlement patterns, delayed return foraging strategies and preservation were discussed. The talk ended with a summary of the evidence for inter-personal violence at the Epipalaeolithic sites in the Dnieper Rapids region of Ukraine, which highlighted the fact that so-called 'egalitarian' societies were capable of violence when competition for resources was in evidence. The talk finished with the observation that as archaeologists we are still developing our understanding of the transition from the Devensian to Holocene in terms of human responses to glacial-interglacial environments. If we have difficulty understanding this most Glacial-Interglacial transition, for which we have the best archaeo-environmental record, then attempts at understanding earlier transitions are clearly going to be extremely difficult if not impossible.
Display of bones and shells from the Kelsey Hill and Keyingham Gravel Pits by Stephen Whittaker.
Display of research carried out at Flamborough Head by the Flamborough Quaternary Research Group of the Hull Geological Society.
"Fissures in the Chalk" by Mike Horne.
Sunday 25th October 2009 - joint field meeting with the Yorkshire Geological Society - The raised beaches of South Landing and Danes Dyke led by Ian Heppenstall.
On the beach we will head for East Nook and after having a brief look at the mediaeval harbour will walk along the cliff side in order to take in the various layer formations eventually reaching the raised beach layer. As there are continual seasonal boulder clay slumps along this cliff it is not possible to predict its condition. After passing the South Landing ravine more layers, including the raised beach, calcrete layer and chalk wash layers become easier to view along with an ancient wave cut platform and cliff line receding into the cliff. The section ends at West Nook. In the vicinity of the ravine it is possible, under some conditions, to pick out the line of a probable fault in the rocks crossing the beach.
Following an hour for lunch we will the proceed to Danes Dyke where another section of raised beach and associated layers are also visible. As the section in the cliff is much narrower it is easier to stand back on the beach and view the section as a whole. Once again the condition of the cliff is influential in the visibility of layers but the raised beach, Danes Dyke fault and other features should be easy to see. If the beach has been swept clean of sand by the sea then the fault may be visible in the rocks crossing the beach.
After Danes Dyke, providing that there is sufficient time, it may be possible to fit in a brief visit to the Sewerby Buried Cliff for comparison; otherwise the visit will end at the Danes Dyke car park so that people may make their way home.
Members should be equipped with safety helmet, waterproof, walking boots, warm clothing, packed lunch and drink. Hammering is not permitted but loose material may be collected. There are steep footpaths to and from the beach. Some sections of the beach may be stony or rocky or rocks may be covered in seaweed so care must be taken when crossing these areas and a walking stick may be handy.
Thursday 12th February 2009- The Lynden Emery Memorial Lecture - "The Speeton Clay" by Prof. Pete Rawson. Introduced by Mike Horne.
The Speeton Clay by Peter F Rawson (Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences, University of Hull (Scarborough Campus) and Dept of Earth Sciences, University College London)
The type, and only visible, section of the Speeton Clay Formation (Lower Cretaceous) is in Filey Bay, North Yorkshire. Lying at the western margin of the North Sea Basin, it provides a fascinating glimpse of the mudrocks of Early Cretaceous age that were deposited over so much of the basin. It also provides a basic challenge to the field geologist, that of unravelling the lithostratigraphical sequence in a section that was described so graphically by J. F. Blake in 1891 as a 'wild and tumbled slope of clay in which at first sight it is hopeless to make out any order'. But G. W. Lamplugh had just (1889) published his seminal paper deciphering the succession in this ever-changing section. He also 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 1889. 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 geological techniques and ideas developed since Lamplugh's time, such as isotope analysis and the effects of Milankovicz astronomical cycles on sedimentation.
The Speeton Clays yield rich and varied macrofossils; ammonites, belemnites, bivalves, shrimps and lobsters are among the most interesting and sought-after forms. Overall, the Speeton faunas and floras are most closely related to those of the North German Basin and are characteristic of the Boreal (northern) palaeobiogeographical realm. However, at some levels taxa appear that are identical with or closely related to forms living further south, in the Tethyan Realm, and particularly in the Mediterranean area. These provide invaluable clues for correlation between the Boreal and Tethyan realms. They also provide some of the rarities - one of the joys of Speeton is that we can still find new forms there.
This talk will highlight some of these aspects, but will also draw attention to the history of mining at Speeton. Both the basal Coprolite Bed and the Cement beds were mined in Victorian times, and concretions from the latter were sent to Hull to be ground for cement. Can we find out more about these little known industrial aspects?
"Lynden Emery remembered". by Mike Horne.
Lynden Emery was born on 2nd January 1940 in Southport, Lancashire, and died on Sunday 27th January 2008 in Castle Cary, Somerset. He was suffering from a brain tumour, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's.
Lynden came to Hull to study Biology and Zoology at the University. He met his wife Ann at the start of his second year at University; they married in 1962. After graduating Lynden went on to train as a teacher. He taught Biology at Hull Grammar School for two years, starting in 1962, and then became Head of Biology at Kingston High School. Following a reorganisation of education in Hull he became a Professional Tutor at Wilberforce 6th Form College from 1988 until his early retirement in 1992. For a couple of years he taught University Foundation Award classes in Geology for the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the University of Hull and the Workers' Education Association.
Lynden joined the Hull Geological Society in 1969 and the Yorkshire Geological Society in 1973. He was a Committee member of the HGS for many years and also served on the Council of the YGS. He was President of the HGS in 1974 to 1977 and 1987 to 1990. He was Vice-President of the Society in 1986 to 1987. He was also an editor of East Yorkshire Field Studies and Humberside Geologist. In 1979 he wrote a 448 page thesis about the palaeoecology of the Speeton Clay under the supervision of John Neale, and received a MSc from the University of Hull. He donated his carefully curated collection of Speeton Clay fossils to Hull Museums.
He was also interested in railways - both model ones and full size. He built several models of narrow gauge railways and helped on the Ffestiniog preserved steam railway in Wales for over 50 years. He was a member of the Scale Four Society and edited their newsletter for four years. He was a regular attendee of the weekly club meetings of the Hull Miniature Railway Society and a contributor to their annual exhibitions.
He and his wife Ann moved from Cottingham to Castle Cary in 2002 to be closer to their two daughters and their families.
Thursday 22nd January 2009 - (lecture) "The rising waters" by Proof Lynne Frostick of Hull University and President of the Geological Society (of London) about climate change and flooding.
Living with the rising waters Coastal and riverbank sites have been favoured for occupation by mankind since settlement began. Such sites offer easy access to transport, food, water, waste disposal and leisure activities As a result settlements are often close to coasts and river systems and the pressure on building, coupled with the desire for a 'waterfront' view has led to extensive development close to cliffs and in river flood plains over the past 50 years. However, we now face a period of rising sea level and increasing unpredictability in the weather patterns as our climate warms. Associated with this there are predictions of increasing storminess for the UK as a whole and, if this is right, the problems associated with flooding seem set to increase. It is therefore important to understand the erosion and depositional processes along our coasts and in our river systems if we are to develop the ability to both predict future changes and mitigate any detrimental consequences. This lecture will explore the aspects of coastal erosion and flooding and consider the role of earth scientists in the important process of human adaption to climate change.
Copyright - Hull Geological Society 2014
Registered Educational Charity No. 229147