Hull Geological Society


News archive 2011- 2012


(updated 4th August 2013)

Thursday 13th December 2012 - (evening lecture) Dr Jonathan Lee of the British Geological Survey on "Stacking it up: glacitectonics and moraine development in north Norfolk during the Middle Pleistocene”.

Abstract - “Glacitectonic processes relate to the deformation of geological materials by the pushing, squeezing or shearing action of ice. They can have a profound effect upon the geotechnical, engineering and hydrogeological properties of materials but can also, when examined in detail, provide valuable insights into the glacial processes that occurred in formerly glaciated regions. Within this talk we explore the history and concepts of the topic of glacitectonics and examine how they have revolutionised how the Anglian Glaciation is viewed in East Anglia.”


Thursday 15th November - (evening lecture) David Hill of the Hull Geological Society on "The Geology of Malta".

Abstract -- The Republic of Malta consists of a group of islands in the centre of the Mediterranean between Sicily and Tunisia. The rocks of Malta were formed in the Oligocene and Miocene and uplifted 10 million years ago due to the African plate pushing into the Eurasian plate. The limestones, clays and sandstones of the islands are described in this talk with information given on the fossils found in them and where the different rocks are exposed.


Thursday 25th October - (evening lecture) Malcolm Fry of the Yorkshire Geological Society - "The Geologist and the Dinner Party".

Abstract - I was invited to a dinner party – after dinner the conversation drifted around to who did what as a job – and this rather pompous person – who was an MD of an automotive products firm - asked me – I told him what I did – a teacher – and this set him off on the usual ‘how do you cope with the long holidays’ route – which put my back up – and he than asked me what I taught – Geology! He then said ‘I suppose you’ve been to the Grand Canyon and the San Andreas Fault – I don’t see how you could possibly teach geology if you haven’t been’ - Red Rag to a Bull I’m afraid – I haven’t – mostly because I don’t like flying – but I wasn’t going to let him off that easily!

So I started a bit of a tirade! I went something along the lines of – “well I don’t need to go to the Sahara to see a desert – because I can take you to Penrith and show you a 250 million year old desert, I don’t need to go to the Bahamas because I can take you to Lincoln and show you a 170 million year old carbonate shelf” – and so on – it ended up with a tour of my highlights of British Geology – and ended with a round of applause from the rest of the guests!


The University of Hull has closed the Centre for Lifelong Learning at the end of July 2012. The Adult Education Department was one of the first to open at the University, in 1928.


The temporary display in the Treasure House in Beverley is about "Life in the Chalk Sea".


The Whitham Memorial Medal

The family of Dr Felix Whitham have kindly offered to donate medals to the Society to be awarded as a prize for new research related to the geology of East Yorkshire or for increasing local public understanding of our our science.

Yorkshire Geology Month 2012 - twenty one events have been arranged for the public this year between 29th April and 9th June.

Thursday 16th February 2012 - (evening lecture) - Mineralogical Misfits: Minerals formed through Biological Intervention, and Anthropogenic Substances such as Slag - by Richard Lamb

Abstract -

From the modern definition of a mineral follows the bizarre fact that many long-accepted species would not nowadays be recognized! These include those minerals from the lead slags of Laurion and other smelters, encrustations derived as artefacts on stored materials, sublimation products resulting from mine fires, and further examples of anthropogenesis where the hand of man has played a part. Do minerals from guano deposits through avian and chiropteran activities, i.e. biogenic, count as true species, the result of natural geological processes? And what about the action of lichens, algae and bacteria? The slag minerals formed in metalliferous residues through the agency of oxidative weathering, widely studied by amateurs, are now classed as anthropogenic substances. However, slags represent a microcosm of geological evolution and have much to teach us about the oxidation for example of sulphur to sulphate, and the discovery of compounds new to science. They deserve greater scientific study along with those other materials currently relegated to the potential realms of obscurity.

The lecture will be presented by Richard Lamb, member of the Russell Society and co¬ author of several papers on slag minerals, the discoverer of childrenite in the Lake District and co-discoverer of wulfenite from South Wales. His interest in minerals stems from early visits to the mineral gallery in the Natural History Museum, evening classes on mineralogy by Dr. Richard Braithwaite at Manchester, and subsequent field trips mostly in the North of England and Scotland. His special subject is slag mineralogy with reference to lead, copper and zinc smelters in Northern England, where two compounds new to science have been discovered and their structures elucidated.

further reading -

Braithwaite, R.S.W., Kampf, A.R., Pritchard, R.G., Lamb, R.P.H., "The Occurrence of Thiosulfates and other Unstable Sulfur Species as natural Weathering Products of old Smelting Slags". Mineralogy & Petrology (1993) 47: 255 - 261.

Braithwaite, R.S.W., Dyer, A., Lamb, R.P.H., Wilson, J.I., "Gismondine-Ba, a Zeolite from the Weathering of Slags". Journal Russell Society, 7(2), 83 - 85 (2001).

Braithwaite, R.S.W., Lamb, R.P.H., Nattrass, A.L., "Heavy metals and their weathering products in residues from Castleside Smelting Mill, County Durham, including a new slag mineral, copper antimonate". Journal Russell Society, 9, 54 - 61 (2006),

Braithwaite, R.S.W., Lamb, R.P.H., Nattrass, A.L., "Secondary Species associated with Weathering of Industrial Residues at Tindale Fell Spelter Works, Cumbria". Journal Russell Society, 9, 61 - 64 (2006).


Tuesday 6th December 2011 - (evening lecture) Dr Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen "Why a social scientist became a ‘denier’: An interdisciplinary journey from geology to politics and vice versa. "


“How does climate change - Not just globally and on average as ‘predicted’ by computer generated maps, but in reality, over land and sea regions on a spherical, spinning and by no means fully understood Earth? Should we do anything about it? What is the contribution of geology to the debates? Theories and opinions differ greatly, at least could and should. However, for political, ideological and increasingly financial reasons, only one of the many theories about climatic change and it impacts has been accepted and is now termed ‘consensus’. This consensus was largely generated by government funded research, proclaimed by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and adopted as ‘underpinning’ for energy policy (and more) in the UK, EU and by UN bodies. Catastrophic (or dangerous) anthropogenic (man-made) global warming was declared a legal truth in 1992, but little has been implemented so far although the UK government seems to be going ahead. The critics of this ‘decarbonisation’ of energy policy (called sceptics or deniers) were, well, not killed off, but more or less silenced and excluded from public debate. No evil empire or agency is responsible for this ‘achievement’, rather Hope, Faith, the Search for Power (in both senses) and the Promise of Making Money in Future have achieved this silencing.…the usual suspects. Some universities, including Hull, provided a refuge. And there are Signs of Change."


Saturday 29th October 2011 - afternoon lecture meeting - joint meeting with the Yorkshire Geological Society and University of Hull, Geography Department, starting at 2 pm.

Abstracts -

"Geological tourism sites and the World Heritage List" by Professor Patrick Boylan, City University, London.

The 1972 World Heritage Convention of UNESCO provides for the inscription of both cultural and natural sites and monuments of the greatest international importance on the World Heritage List. However, at present less than 7% of the current 936 World Heritage sites are wholly or partly geological. Nominations for inclusion on the List can only be made by States, and these are then considered and voted on by the World Heritage Committee which consists of the appointees of the Member States, with advice from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Though scientific significance and conservation importance is supposed to be the main criteria for nominations in practice most countries seem to concentrate on those of special tourism value. The presentation will look at a number of World Heritage geological sites around the world which have a special focus on their geotourism and educational potential and on visitor services.

"Geotourism - not just rocks and panels" by Chris Woodley-Stewart - Director of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB) Partnership.

Whether we are dealing with rocks or birds, forests or mountains, (or for that matter visiting casinos or shopping weekends in London), tourism is a really simple concept and we'll begin this presentation by looking in more detail at what this is all about (and it's not about rocks!). The last ten years in particular have seen a lot of talk about 'geotourism', and in this period we've also seen the rise of the European and Global Geoparks Networks and other initiatives that raised the profile of geodiversity enormously. But does an approach to tourism that just focuses on 'geo' just meaning 'geology' instead of meaning 'earth and nature and culture' have a market and will it deliver all the things we'd like it to?

There is some very circular debate about the definition of geotourism, and a lot of 'academic' work about what geotourism is, much of which is very much divorced from practice at either strategic or 'doing' level. There's also a lot of confusion amongst practitioners about what 'doing geotourism' really means. The reality is that tourism is a team game requiring co-operation between the public and private (and sometimes 'third') sectors, and that no Protected Areas or Geoparks (or indeed other special places) can be all things to all people in the world of attracting, entertaining and sometimes educating visitors (and getting them to part with their money) and encouraging them to come back again.

Using examples mainly from the North Pennines, this presentation will look at where on the 'visitor journey' Protected Area managers, Geopark managers and others in similar situations meet the visitor and at how our product development and 'post-arrival things to see and do' - our trails, our events, our museums, the landscapes we conserve etc. - are part of the tourism industry (and when they are not).

This presentation may raise more questions than answers, but they are questions we should be asking.

"Geological heritage - a catalyst for economic regeneration" by Nick Powe Chairman of the organization that operates the English Riviera Global Geopark.

As with all Global Geoparks, the English Riviera Global Geopark is not simply about geological conservation, it is much more than this. The status is a strategic driver for community benefits, quality tourism, and sustainable economic regeneration. The Global Geopark offers an opportunity to use the rich geology, landscape, heritage and culture in the region to promote a sense of belonging and a sense of civic pride amongst the residents, particularly the youth in the area.

In addition, with support from the tourism sector the Geopark is now securely placed within the areas new tourism strategy. Seen as a new hook to reverse the gradual decline in visitor numbers and spending in the Bay, the designation will be used to increase the value of tourism to the economy, and to reposition the English Riviera as a leading UK destination.

For many years the English Riviera has relied on its "bucket and spade" market. Data shows this has long been in decline and the resort needs to establish strong ties with younger consumers. To help counteract the decline the Geopark is being used as an attack brand in parallel with the development of a number of Geopark activity products.

The products are aimed at capturing the imagination of a new generation of visitors and residents providing a new and exciting reason to visit and explore the Geopark. The new products appeal to creative minds and developing eco-friendly attitudes whilst providing opportunities to experience and enjoy all the Geopark has to offer, enlivening all the senses and with a bit of adrenalin thrown in!

"Evolution of the Dinosaur Coast" by Will Watts, Head of Public Programmes, Scarborough Museums Trust

In 1999 funding was secured to pilot a new project on the North Yorkshire Coast called the Dinosaur Coast. This initial project and subsequent work achieved some great successes, much of it based around increased awareness of and access to the areas unquestioned geological heritage. Strong partnerships were formed, funding secured, the public were engaged and high profile projects such as the redevelopment of the Rotunda Museum were delivered. With these strong foundations in place 2011 offers an opportunity to look to the future for the Dinosaur Coast. Twelve years on from the start of the initial project much has changed, Dinosaur Coast partners have changed direction, new partners and organisations have emerged whilst others have disappeared or been replaced. The concept of geodiversity has grown and taken shape, geotourism is a meaningful word, our sister coastline in Dorset and East Devon is now a World Heritage Site and the UK now has a number of Geoparks, at the same time many geologists have concerns around the recognition of geology at schools and universities. More widely increased public awareness of geology and expectations of how it is interpreted, the massive changes in information technology and the role of internet, changes in how people use their leisure time and the worldwide economic crisis are amongst many other factors that need to be considered as we move forward.

The underlying importance of the geological heritage of the area has (unsurprisingly) not changed, the coastline is still an active site for research and new discoveries, the museum collections of the area are just as important now as they were when started 200 years ago, there is still a public appetite to discover more about our geological history. So whilst the original Dinosaur Coast may be looking tired now is the time to look to the future and decide if what we want is to see the next stage of its evolution. With the strength of our geodiversity, the legacy of what has gone before and the opportunities that we know about (and others that are yet to be discovered) then the sky really could be the limit, but it will require a real step change, just like those dinosaurs that first took to their wings.


Hull Geological Society events for Yorkshire Geology Month 2011

Sunday 1st May - (field meeting) Speeton - led by Mike Horne.

Thursday 5th May - (evening lecture) Roger Sutcliffe - "Limestone, the only rock you can see from the inside".

Tuesday 10th May - (evening walk) - "Stones and Bones" in Spring Bank Cemetery, in Hull.

Saturday 21st May - "A Walk on the Woldside" - A geological walk in Thixendale led by Derek Gobbett, on public footpaths to look at the scenery and geomorphology of a typical Chalk Wold area. Walking about 6 km with some steep slopes.


Thursday 17th February 2011 :-

"The Chalk and climate change - the greenhouse connection" (Mark Woods, British Geological Survey)

"The Late Cretaceous was a time of environmental extremes - massively increased volcanic activity, atmospheric CO2 that makes modern levels appear trivial, and global sea levels that were probably the highest they have ever been in geological history. Across Europe and beyond this exciting period is represented by thick deposits of rather bland Chalk. However, new research now reveals how the Chalk can be understood both as a product of these global changes and as a driver of global change in the Late Cretaceous."





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