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Slide Show

November / December 2018 news and update

1. Voyages in deepTime Project

After a very busy last month the Voyages in Deep Time project has almost finished.  We are just finalising the last little bits and bringing together all the comments feedback we have had throughout the project.

Once it is finished we will have produced the deepTime Voyager app, with 8 voyages.  These will be Martley, Lickey Ridge, Lickey Hills, Wye Valley, Cat’s Back, Malvern, Bredon Hill and Wren’s Nest along with a “Getting Started Guide” explaining how to use the app.  The production of these voyages wouldn’t have been possible without the time, energy and expertise of lots of wonderful volunteers, who wrote and tested the various routes and final voyages.

The deepTime GeoExplore app is almost finished, after some last minute changes following feedback.  This will have 4 exercises at Martley, Lickey Hills, Olchon Valley and Wye Valley and the field recording tools will work anywhere in the world.

Over the last 8 months the Deep Time project trained 24 volunteers to use the deepTime Voyager app at 9 training sessions held at each of the Voyage locations.  We worked with 305 pupils from 2 schools and a Herefordshire home educators group as well as 325 young people attending Malvern Festival of Innovation and Science Night at the Hive.  We attended 3 special interest conferences and demonstrated the apps to 230 delegates.  We lead 7 guided walks and attended 8 public events.

In total we worked with nearly 1500 young people and 600 adults at 18 events and we haven’t finished yet.  We are still meeting people and have another school interested in running a trip next year as well as running an event with RockWatch and the Lickey Hills Champions.

All this work wouldn’t have been possible without lots of help.  It was made possible with the help of volunteers.  People gave their time and skills to do all sorts of different things including:

  • Learning how to use touchscreens and apps for the first time
  • Tested an app on Cat’s Back in some very strong wind
  • Spent a day walking around Martley with many school pupils when it was over 30˚C
  • Stood talking to lots of people at all the events we did
  • Wrote Voyages for Bredon Hill, Malvern and Wren’s Nest
  • Wrote GeoExplore exercises for Olchon Valley, Martley and Lickey Hills
  • Acted as back markers on walks
  • Answered questions when working with schools
  • Patiently proof read the app, the “Getting Started Guide” and all the articles we produced
  • Designed an interpretation board for the Lickey Hills
  • Promoted the app to lots of people, at events and to friends, often prompting them to get in touch and get involved with the project

On behalf of all of the Deep Time project staff, I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone for all of your help, time and support. However you were involved, it really does make a huge difference to what we can achieve, how many people we can work with and to the end product, helping us to produce something we are really proud of.

I hope to work with everyone again on other EHT projects in the future.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy 2019.

Beth Andrews.

2. Public Lecture on Tsunamis: A little knowledge is dangerous – Thursday 6th December

Professor James Goff, Honorary Professor of Tsunami Research, University of New South Wales (UNSW), Australia [and Worcester Geography graduate!!]

The modern era of tsunami research started in the late 1980s. Significant progress has been made since then, to the extent that many researchers now believe their work is done. Sadly, such a sentiment is far from the truth. One of the most significant misconceptions is that we can now model tsunamis and so predict how bad waves will be once they reach land. This is really where the problems start – the theory and the reality rarely converge. Events that are bigger than expected continue to happen, such as Japan in 2011 and Indonesia in 2004 and 2018.

This talk looks at some of the realities of what causes tsunamis and why we do not know as much as we think we do. It also argues that if only we opened our eyes a little bit, we would realise that much of what we do not know is in fact staring us in the face – and has been for years. Examples are mainly drawn from the Southern Hemisphere. By the end of the talk, you may be glad that you do not live around the Pacific Ocean!

Lecture: date and venue:

Thursday 6 December 2018

6.15 – 7.15 pm

EE G087 (Urwin Lecture Theatre)

University of Worcester,

St John’s Campus,

Henwick Grove

Worcester

WR2 6AJ

 

3. Earth Learning Ideas

John Nicklin of TVGS has spotted a fascinating website, packed with ideas for demonstrating a wide range of geology ideas and concepts. Among the authors is Chris King, who has been a leading figure in geological education for many years, so we can be sure that the content is authoritative and reliable.

Some ideas are messier than others. For example, one of them involves breaking bunches of spaghetti to illustrate the relation between actual energy release by an earthquake to its position on the Richter scale. Another involves blowing into cups of various liquids (including golden syrup?) to simulate the difference between explosive and free-flowing volcanic eruptions!

A number of them aim to help understanding the enormous scale in time and space that geology covers. A simple one involves marking the zones of the interior of the earth from crust to centre on a toilet roll: if the first sheet represents the crust, how much toilet roll do you need to unravel to get to the centre?

Some are very quick and easy to set up and do, while others would take more time and effort.

Here is the link to the index of learning ideas: https://www.earthlearningidea.com/English/contents_alphabet.html

Definitely worth a look – thanks John!

 

4. The Sad Story of Madeley Heath Pits

Quaternary deposits are sometimes thought of as boring: ‘not proper rock’, but in fact they can tell us much about what was happening in our area during recent glacials and interglacials, and about how our landscape has evolved, especially when structures such as ancient river channels can be inspected. A case in point is Madeley Heath Pits, located in the Clent Hills in N Worcestershire which was designated as an SSSI in 1991 for its geology. At this site, a deep channel had been cut in the Triassic bedrock and later filled with gravel, lacustrine silts and glacial till. This was an important site, because although a number of such channels have been detected under the surface in and around Birmingham, this is thought to be the only one to have been exposed at the surface. As the SSSI designation states: “it is clear that it is of considerable significance for the reconstruction of Pleistocene paleogeography in the Midlands.”

But sadly, Quaternary geology is also very vulnerable; it is easily destroyed and much in demand for supplies of sand and gravel. Madeley Heath Pits was no exception, and before the EHT had been established and started to monitor sites of geological interest, the site was almost completely destroyed by gravel extraction and subsequent back-fill, without geologists having the opportunity to investigate and document the site in detail, or take samples.

The site has recently come to our attention because another company is now seeking permission for further extraction at an adjacent site. Permission was initially refused until a geological assessment had shown that further damage would be avoided and conditions placed on the contractor to expose what remains of the geological feature and maintain it for future study. This sounds superficially attractive, however the well-respected Quaternary geologist who conducted the assessment advised that such an exposure would be of limited value and impractical to maintain, since Quaternary deposits are almost impossible to preserve.

We are now working with Natural England, recommending that the fragile remains of the Quaternary site be left undisturbed, avoiding the damage that an exposure of marginal value would create. This leaves open the opportunity for future research should funding become available. Instead, we have requested access to the site during its extraction phase, so that we can discover more about the Triassic Mercia Mudstone as it becomes exposed.

Of course there is no guarantee that our request will be granted, but this story does underline the importance of monitoring what happens to our sites of interest and intervening when they are threatened by development. We may not be able to prevent development, but like the archaeologists, we can always press for opportunities to investigate and document the site during the development process and for support in publicising the geology of interest that is found there.

 

5. A new lease of life for Callow Hill Champions Site

In September, Alan Richardson gave news of on-going developments and discoveries at the Lickey Hills Champions sites.  The Lickey Hills Geo-Champions are an example of a Champions group which has been continuously busy and successful since the Group formed in 2011, but some sites have not fared so well. One of these is Callow Hill quarry in the Wyre Forest, where the original Champions were unable to keep going for various reasons.  The quarry had become neglected, but earlier this year thanks to the initiative of Peter Oliver, a new Champion was found to pick up the threads and take things forward at this wonderful site.

The new Champion is Tony Spall, and he has embraced his new role with great energy and enthusiasm.

Following an initial meeting at the quarry in April, Tony has made great progress.  In his own words:

“We have had two vegetation clearance events at Callow Hill, the first with those connected to geological groups and Forestry Commission staff on 19 May, and the second event on 3 October with Environment Agency and Forestry Commission Staff. John Payne kindly organized the work force from the Environment Agency, These 2 events have made quite a difference to the visual appearance of the Quarry site.

Moving forward, I would like to open up and level the quarry floor whilst improving access to the Quarry face but to do this would require machinery. My plan is to encourage management at the Forestry Commission to provide the necessary resources to carry out this work. I am planning also to research the history of the quarry and the use of the stone for building in the area”.

This is really encouraging news, and on behalf of the Champions and the EHT I would like to thank Tony for his efforts. You can read more about the quarry, view the panel and Champions leaflet, and see some photos on the Callow Hill Champions page here:

http://ehtchampions.org.uk/ch/worcestershire-sites/callow-hill-quarry/

Better still, go and have a look!  The site is very easy to find, not far from the Wyre Forest Discovery Centre.

Julie Schroder November 2018


6. Worcester Community Action – First Aid Course

Sally has been able to arrange another Emergency First Aid Course for Thursday 6th December at Warndon Community Centre, Shap Drive, Worcester. WR4 9NX from 9.30am – 4.30pm. Places are on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, as usual.

For a booking form or for further information etc. please email: worcestercommunityaction@gmail.com

If anyone has any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

All the best.

Sally Ellison, Worcester Community Action.

 

7. WGCG Winter Lecture Programme: 2018/2019

Meetings are held on Wednesdays (usually 3rd of the month) and start at 7.30 p.m. in St Francis Church Hall, 110 Warwick Road, Kenilworth, CV8 1HL unless otherwise stated. Tea / coffee and biscuits are available beforehand from 7.00 p.m.  Please check the WGCG website for any late, unforeseeable changes at http://www.wgcg.co.uk/talks/

2018:

  • 12th December: Christmas Social.

2019:

  • 16th January: ‘The Wren’s Nest’ – Graham Worton (Curator at Dudley Archive) (geology of this celebrated nature reserve in Dudley, and the application for Unesco Geopark status).
  • 20th February:  “Swimming Plesiosaurs and Flying Dinosaurs; Palaeontology at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham”- Dr. Adam Smith (including references to Chinese dinosaur discoveries).
  • 20th March: “Analysing the Skeleton of a King” – Prof. Jane Evans (BGS) (isotope studies on the remains of Richard III, and the light this throws on the diet and lifestyle of a medieval monarch).
  • 17th April: (provisionally) ‘The Geology of Norway’ – Chris Darmon (editor ‘Down to Earth’ magazine & proprietor of ‘Geosupplies’).

 

8. Teme Valley Geological Society (TVGS) Talks

Please find details of forthcoming TVGS evening talks held in Martley Memorial Hall (MMH). Talks commence at 7.30pm, fees are £3 for non-members and £1 for members.

  • Monday 21st January 2019

Prof. Ian Fairchild – The Ice Age in Worcestershire and prospective TVGS research on the origin of the Teme Valley.

  • Monday 11th February 2019

Nick Daffern – Palaeolithic Worcester.

For further information of the TVGS please visit www.geo-village.eu

 

9. Malvern U3A Geology Group

The Malvern U3A Geology Group meets on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Cube, Malvern, from 10.00 – 12.00 am. The entrance price: £2.00

12th December 2018

Permafrost- Dr. Richard Waller (Keele University)

9th January 2019

Plate Tectonic Mechanics and Processes – Dr Marco Maffione (Birmingham University)

13th February 2019

Rocks from Space – Dr Paul Olver

13th March 2019

What’s Underneath a Volcano? - Prof Kathy Cashman (Bristol University)

10th April 2019

Geology, Origin and Celebrity of Shap Granite - Dr Nigel Woodcock (Cambridge University)

 

10. Woolhope Club

The Woolhope Club Geology Section talks are held from 5.30 pm in the Councillors’ Meeting Room – Committee Room 1 at the Shire Hall, Hereford. Non-members welcome at a cost of £2.

For further information of the Woolhope Club please visit www.woolhopeclub.org.uk

 

11. Tiddesley Wood Open Day

The 2019 Tiddesley Wood Open Day will take place on Sunday 7th May next year. The EHT regularly have a stand at this event with children’s activities, rock specimens, selling merchandise and trail guides. If you would like to come and visit us and / or volunteer to help out on the day please let Allison know in the office. Many thanks.

 

12. Friends Gift Aid Forms

As a Friend of the EHT, if you have not already done so, please remember to return your gift aid form to the EHT Office at the address below. Your help is much appreciated.

 

13. Volunteering for the Earth Heritage Trust

If you have some spare time and would like to get involved with the EHT at future events for a couple of hours or half a day or so, please do let us know and we can add you to our list of volunteers to contact in the future.

If you would like to volunteer please contact Allison at the EHT office. Tel: 01905 855184 or email: eht@worc.ac.uk Many thanks.

From all at the EHT we would take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year

If you have anything you would like to include in our next monthly update please forward to eht@worc.ac.uk by 4th January 2019.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust, Geological Records Centre,

University of Worcester, Henwick Grove, Worcester, WR2 6AJ.

Tel: 01905 855184, Email: eht@worc.ac.uk