Humberside Geologist No. 13

Humberside Geologist Online

Notes and Comments

In 1998 the Railway Cutting between Willerby and Little Weighton was added to the list of East Yorkshire RIGS sites. The Chalk pits at Willerby and Little Weighton had been declared as RIGS sites, but there were existing permissions for land fill at both quarries, so they were removed from the list in 1995. The cutting exposes Chalk of Coniacian age. Although there is permission to fill the cutting it is hoped that an agreement can be reached with the owner to leave part of the Chalk exposed. The area surrounding the cutting has been included in the RIGS designation, so that any future developments in the area can hopefully take the geological interest into consideration.

Peter Graves died in June 1999. He joined the Society in 1969.

In June 1999, Mick Stanley took early retirement from his post as Head of Hull Museums and Galleries and now works as Earth Science Manager for the Royal Society for Nature Conservation in Newark. This year he and his family have moved to Ripon. We wish Mick and his family every happiness in their new home. We also congratulate William Stanley who has won the Earth Science Photographer of the Year 2000 (Children's category) competition with a picture of a 'Tor on Dartmoor'.

In November 1999 the East Yorkshire RIGS Group held its first A.G.M.; Mike Horne was elected as Chairman, Matt Stephens of Hull Museums was elected as Secretary and Tony Hibbert of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust was elected as Treasurer. Mick Stanley was asked to act as Conservation advisor.

Dr Martin Whyte, of Sheffield University, gave the 2000 Hull Geological Society and Hull Museums joint public lecture about Dinosaur footprints in Yorkshire, at the Ferens Art Gallery in February. It was attended by between 60 and 70 people.
In the week before the lecture Society member Nigel Whittington donated a footprint he had found near Scalby to the Hull and East Riding Museum (partly to gain publicity for the lecture). News of the donation appeared in the Hull Daily Mail, Yorkshire Post, West Hull Advertiser, local radio and Teletext. Here is the press release issued by Hull Museums:
A rare fossil footprint, one of the few dinosaur remains ever found in the Yorkshire coastal region, is to be donated to the Hull and East Riding Museum.
The fossil dates back to the late Jurassic period approximately 130 million years ago, when dinosaurs splashed among the area's tropical deltas and swamps.
It fills a significant gap in the museum's fossil collection, which largely consists of marine animals and plants.
The fossil was discovered towards the end of 1999 by Hull Geographical Society member Nigel Whittington near Scalby Bay, North Yorkshire. The area is one of the best sites in the world for Jurassic plants, but evidence of dinosaurs in the region is confined to a small number of dinosaur footprints embedded in the rock. Unusually, the fossil was found in a loose block and would have been swept out with the tide had it not been discovered and saved for posterity. It is of added scientific interest because it is a natural cast and as a result, the soil and mud in which the dinosaur walked is also preserved.
The fossilised footprint measures around 20 cm across and has three toes, suggesting it comes from a theropod dinosaur - a family which includes the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor. The Scalby Bay dinosaur was a much smaller relative, however, measuring between 1 and 2 metres as it stood on its hind legs. Most theropods were meat-eaters.
Mr. Whittington decided to donate the fossil to the museum in the interests of science, as well as a desire to see it on public display: "It is such a good specimen that I felt it was important that it is there for science, rather than just sitting on a collector's shelf. I want it to be available for study and hope that it would encourage more people to develop an interest in geology.'
Matt Stephens, Assistant Keeper of Natural History at the Hull and East Riding Museum, commented: "I am really grateful to Mr. Whittington for this donation. During the Jurassic much of this area was covered by the sea so we don't see much evidence of dinosaurs. Footprints like this can give us lots of information about the dinosaurs that were around at this time. It is really important that new finds of this sort are brought to the attention of local museums so that they can be recorded."
And this is what Teletext said on page 342 on 17th February:
"Museum receives dinosaur fossil.
A 160-year-old [sic] fossilised dinosaur footprint has been donated to a Hull Museum.
The fossil, which was discovered at Scalby Bay, North Yorkshire, is thought to come from a dinosaur up to 1.5m tall.
It was found by geology enthusiast Nigel Whittington, who has donated it to the Hull and East Riding Museum."

There were several events in Science Week, March 2000. The Roadshow at the Ferens Art Gallery was quite successful. We had only 2 requests for identifications, but a good flow of visitors. About 20 children took part in the quiz organised by Matt Stephens of Hull Museums and they showed similar interest in the RockWatch quiz. Jonathon Allinson on the Geologists' Association stall sold over a dozen copies of the new Yorkshire Coast Guide. Seven people attended Richard Myerscough's dinosaur footprint trip at Scalby. Seven children, five adults, two helpers and one (live) ostracod (nicknamed 'Ozzy') attended the "Pick your own Microfossil" Workshop at Hull University, which went well. Only one person came for the City Geology walk, which was a shame because we had devised a new route to include some different buildings and new rock types to Hull. The display in the Central Library, organised by Nigel Whittington with the help of Gordon Binns and Chris Blackhurst, drew many favourable comments.

The walk for the University Science Club in May was quite successful. Because new warning signs had appeared at Mappleton about 'unexploded ordnance' we moved it to Withernsea! The walk was attended by about 60 Club members and seven members of the Society led groups of the young scientists and helped identify specimens. Not many fossils were found, but there were plenty of different minerals and rocks. Everyone seemed to enjoy it apart from complaints about the (low) temperature; one person asked if we could organise it in the spring next time!

Simon Mitchell, in Jamaica, has published a paper about the Welton Chalk Formation at Speeton and its implications for our understanding of the Market Weighton Structure, in the latest Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society (vol. 53 pp 17-24).

Martin Chambers has returned to our area after studying for his PhD at the University of reading. As well as his article in Humberside Geologist, he has just published an article about part of the work - M.H. Chambers, D.S.L. Lawrence, B.W. Sellwood, A. Parker, Annual layering in the Upper Jurassic Kimmeridge clay formation, UK, quantified using an ultra-high resolution SEM-EDX investigation, Sedimentary Geology 137 (2000) pp. 9-23

In the summer of 2000 a pipeline was put across the Wolds for BP from Saltend to Teeside. The pipeline was about 12 inches in diameter and was buried about 1 metre deep. This gave a brief opportunity to examine and collect samples from the trench. It went under the road at the Market Weighton "Spillway" and a series of bedded chalk gravels was exposed.

The July 2000 walk around Spring Bank cemetery attracted over 250 people - is that a record for a Society field meeting?

In July 2000 the East Yorkshire RIGS Group added a further fifteen sites to their lists of Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites and these have been submitted to East Yorkshire Borough Council. These were mainly Quaternary sites suggested but the Wetlands Archaeology group at the Geography Department of Hull University. Parts of the former Hull and Barnsley Railway are being considered for RIGS status. The Group has also contacted Hull City Council about giving RIGS status to some urban sites with educational potential.  If the Council agrees to recognise the sites in their conservation plans, we would be the first City in the U.K. to have urban RIGS.

The Yorkshire Geological Society's Leicester meeting in October 2000 was a tribute to Professor Ansel Dunham. It was well attended, including many of Ansel's friends and colleagues and members of his family. The talks were very interesting and a reminder of Ansel's varied geological interests. It also provided the chance to meet up with Norman Angus, Michael House, John Neale and Peter Scott, all former lecturers at Hull and good friends of the Society.

2000 saw the launch of the 'Dinosaur Coast' project, to promote the geology of the Yorkshire Coast. Launch events at Scarborough and Whitby attracted over 3 000 visitors. A variety of events over the summer, ranging from family fossil hunts to expert led field trips, attracted crowds far beyond expectations. Even the 'expert days' attracted up to 100 participants. The project officer, Alistair Bowden, is also consulting interested parties about geological conservation.

Many sections of the coast of north and east Yorkshire are receiving coastal defence works in the form of 'rock armour'. This consists of large (1 to 2 m) blocks of various rocks being delivered on to the beach at low tide by barge and then being moved into place by bulldozers and diggers. The rocks used are not local ones, and include limestones, gniesses and Larvikite. This has implications for future studies of glacial erratics, and for the access to geological exposures. For example the defences at Whitby have filled the cave near the East Pier with massive boulders, obscuring the famous exposure at the cliff foot for some distance. Anyone attempting to climb on the boulders to get to the cliff risks serious injury, and people may get trapped by the defences on in-coming tides.  In some cases familiar exposures have been damaged by the work - we are concerned that the wave cut platform at Robin Hoods Bay and Whitby may have been damaged by the caterpillar tracks.

The Charity Open Day at South Ferriby Cement Works on 10th September 2000 was very enjoyable. The Society had a stand again including a display of fossils by Felix Whitham.  Felix also sold some spare fossils and raised  £ 11-98 for local charities

An increasing number of members are now using computer technology to study geology and share information. Four members have personal geological web sites and more are planned. The Society has a web site and there is also an e-mail newsletter, which contains news from meetings and allows distant members to keep up to date with our activities. The web pages include details of meetings, a scrapbook of photographs, a notice-board for requests for information, and links to member's home pages and the Amateur Geologists Community.



(c) Hull Geological Society 1999 + 2007