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THE HIGHLAND GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Scottish Charity No. SC004427

 

                                                                                                                                                            JUNE 2015

Dear Members,

 

Many of you will have seen Alan’s email informing members of the sad death of Dr Peter Webster, following a short illness.  Peter was a stalwart supporter of the society and gave liberally of his time and expertise, acting as Treasurer for many years.  Peter’s friends and family have made a very generous donation of £500 to the society – the best way to utilise this bequest will be discussed at the next committee meeting in September; please contact Alan if you have a suggestion that you would like to put forward for consideration.

 

There is still time to sign up this month’s fieldtrip – please email Martin at the address below if you would like to join the group.

 

This newsletter also gives the date of our winter meetings for 2015/16 – please note that there are two events on 17 February!

 

20 June – Ben Wyvis – Martin Hind

Meet near Garve at 9.15 am. Meeting place to be given out at time of booking

Day trip to explore the evidence for glaciation on Ben Wyvis with Highland Countryside Ranger, Martin Hind. This event will also be open to members of the public so pre-booking is essential to ensure that an appropriate leader:participant ratio is maintained - you cannot just turn up on the day. Please email Alison ASAP to secure your place.  The walk is 14 km (8.75 miles) over fairly rough terrain and involves an ascent of over 900 m; there is an easy climb on paths through the forest initially, followed by much steeper ground on the path ascending to An Cabar.

 

12-13 September – Loch Monar and Loch Hourn – Eddie Lynch

Meet at the car park just before the Gatehouse at Inchmore west of Struy Bridge (NH 395 406) at 9.15 am.

We will view the classic exposures at the Lochiel Dam, working our way back along the Glen throughout the day.  Excursion 8 of the Moine Guide (2010) has the details of the localities we will try and visit, which includes spectacular fold interference structures as a result of polyphase deformation as well as the Sgurr Beag Thrust traverse and possible basal conglomerate locality.  We will also see Morar and Glenfinnan Group meta-sediments and Lewisianoid basement inliers and hopefully visit the graphite mine, subject to time and weather conditions.

 

We plan to eat at the Cnoc Hotel on completion of the day’s activities – please let Alison know if you would like to join the group as we will need to pre-order dinner.

 

On Sunday, meet in the car park at Invermoriston (NH 421 167) at 9.30 am.

Again, please let Alison know if you will be attending on the Sunday only in case our plans change!

We will look at a road cutting just west of the car park before driving westwards and having a couple of road cutting halts on the way to Bun Loyne junction where we will turn south and then west along the Kinloch Hourn road.  Excursions 4 & 5 of the Moine Guide (2010) have locality details. Priority will be given to the Loch Quoich shore and dam area and we will go to see Sgurr Beag Thrust zone at Kinloch Hourn if we have time. Again lots of spectacular folds and re-folded folds to be seen as well as curvilinear sheath fold varieties. We will also see appinite, microdiorite, abundant pegmatite and West Highland Granitic Gneiss.

 

10 October – Scatwell Mica Mine, Strath Conon – Martin Hind

Meet at the Luichart Power Station, Lower Scatwell past Loch Achilty (NH 393 571) at 10am

An opportunity to visit the rock quarries and spoil heaps associated with the mica mine, which was active during the Second World War. This event will also be open to members of the public.  Please let Alison know if you will be able to join this excursion so that Martin can effectively manage participant numbers.

 

WINTER PROGRAMME 2015-16

 

4 November   Exploring Chile's volcanoes - Quetrupillán and Llaima, Dr Dave McGarvie, Open University in Scotland

Quetrupillán volcano is the middle volcano in a chain of three volcanoes, and its neighbour to the west (Villarrica) had a decent eruption on 3 March 2015. At the time Dave was camping in heavy rain and thick cloud on the flanks of Quetrupillán, so didn't hear the ash falling on the tent; next morning it was obvious that an eruption had happened, so he climbed the c.300 m ridge between the camp and Villarrica to get a good view of aftermath of the eruption. The special feature of Quetrupillán is that instead of exerting energy in producing a nice and neat cone-shaped volcano, it has a rather scraggy main cone (with no head) in the north and a dispersed and fault-controlled volcanic field in the south. This dispersed volcanic field preserves excellent examples of ice-confined lavas, which is the main focus of Dave’s research. He also had the opportunity to do a recce with US colleagues on another of Chile's largest and most active volcanoes - Llaima - which last erupted in 2008. This volcano has twin summits, and from summit to flank is dominated by young (Holocene) lava flows, some of which have dammed rivers to create beautiful lakes. From this volcano also emerged a massive explosive eruption c.13,200 years ago which produced an unusual and far-travelled ignimbrite. Dave has previously shared details of his fieldwork with the society and this promises to be another lively and interesting talk.

 

9 December    The Adventures of a Baby Geologist in Hawaii, Rhona Fraser, HGS

This will talk will describe the OUGS trip made by a group of baby geologists (with some very tolerant grown-up ones) to the Hawaiian chain in May 2014; the excursion started with a visit to O'hau (of Pearl Harbour fame) and ended on the 'Big Island' Hawaii.  Unsurprisingly, black igneous lithologies make up the islands but the highlight of the trip was an interesting black rock with large bits of green (and some white) crystals.  In places the sand is also green and Rhona promises lots of nice pictures for a dark December evening!!  .

 

13 January     The Work of Matthew Foster Heddle, Hamish Johnston

Hamish, author of the new - and first - biography of Matthew Forster Heddle will talk about hitherto unknown aspects of Heddle’s life, describing his exploration of the Highlands and Islands and his related published work.  This includes his County Geognosy series of papers (from Shetland to Sutherland), his role in uncovering the geological puzzle of the North-West Highlands, and his maritime expeditions.

 

Matthew Forster Heddle: Mineralogist and Mountaineer has now been published by National Museums Scotland Enterprises (ISBN 978 1 905267 98 9) at £14.99.  The book is a nicely produced paperback of 270 pages, with 50 colour illustrations, plus black-and-white illustrations in the text. All profits from the book go to the Museum, which holds Heddle's great mineral collection.

17 February

 

2.00 pm  The Inverness Museum Geological Collections

Cait McCullagh, Curator (Collections Engagement), Inverness Museum & Art Gallery

 

Inverness Museum holds several collections of rocks and fossils, of which only a small part is on display at any time.  During the visit Cait will explain how the Museum looks after and displays these collections and some of the challenges it faces.  She will also have available a sample of interesting rocks and fossils for us to examine hands-on and discuss.  Bring your hand lens! 

 

7.30 pm  AGM followed by:

     The Lost Zircons of Upper Badcall: A New Discovery in Old Rocks,  Andy Moffat, HGS.

Andy’s talk will explain what zircon is and describe a former uniquely accessible zircon occurrence near Upper Badcall, Scourie in NW Sutherland.  The zircon was present as well formed distinctive pink crystals and, unlike most UK zircon, was easily visible to the naked eye.  The crystals were hosted in Lewisian ultrabasic rocks occurring within the gneiss.  There were attempts to have the site protected as a SSI through SNH but the wheels of bureaucracy ground very slowly and after several months no progress was made and by then it was too late.  As news of this discovery spread and, despite the remote location, professional mineral collectors rapidly stripped the site with specimens subsequently appearing on eBay and other online mineral selling websites.  A number of specimens will be on display at the talk and a short-wave ultraviolet fluoroscope will reveal the striking yellow fluorescence of the zircon.

 

2 March          Minerals and Gems of the Cairngorms, Roy Starkey

The Cairngorms are the most extensive area of high mountain terrain in Britain. The area has given its name to gem quality smoky quartz, but has also produced spectacular specimens of beryl and topaz. In Victorian times, hunting for crystals was both a popular pastime and a “cottage industry”, but nowadays the area is a National Park and few fine specimens have come to light in recent years. In 1811 it was reported that these “Cairngorm Stones” were so much sought after, that a number of the inhabitants, not only of Aberdeenshire, but of the counties of Perth and Inverness, flocked to these mountains, in whole families, during the summer season, in quest of gems; and purchasers from London, who were well acquainted with their value, came frequently to buy the precious stones from these poor people. The profits of the finders or miners were extremely variable because the success rate was relatively low. Huge amounts of effort were expended in the search and records suggest that by the early 1800s, the Cairngorm diggers had already trenched more than twenty acres to a depth of from five to six feet. It is a recorded fact that Queen Victoria ascended Beinn a’ Bhuird on 6 September 1850 and collected specimens of Cairngorm quartz. This talk will review the fascinating history of “Cairngorm stones”, illustrated by images of notable specimens and explorations over the past 25 years or so.

 

13 April          A Geologist’s Perspective of the Role of the Highlands and Islands in Hydrocarbon Exploration and Production, Jim Ritchie, Subsurface Director, Speedwell Energy Ltd, Aberdeen

Major engineering facilities in the Highlands and Islands provide visual evidence of the impact of the oil and gas industry in the region. Examples include the platform fabrication yards at Ardersier, Kishorn and Arnish Point on the Isle of Lewis, the exploration rig maintenance yards at Invergordon and Nigg with mobile rigs lined up in the Cromarty Firth and, further north, the oil terminals at Flotta and Sullom Voe, as well as the subsea production and control bundles fabrication facility at Sinclair’s Bay.  What is perhaps less well known is the important contribution of the Highlands and Islands to the understanding of the subsea geology in the Moray Firth, North Sea and Atlantic Margin. The consequent successful exploration for, and development of, oil and gas in these areas continues to be very important to the economy of Scotland and the UK.  Jim’s talk will give some examples of applying outcrop studies to the offshore environment and will also describe some onshore hydrocarbon exploration and development activity. There will also be a description of the components needed for a working petroleum system, which is essential for successful hydrocarbon exploration.

 

 

Winter meetings take place at 7.30 pm at Millburn Academy (Diriebught Road, Inverness, IV2 3QR). All events are subject to confirmation by the school’s Rector but we are optimistic that these dates will stand!  Evening meetings are charged at £2 for members and £3 for non-members.

 

If you would like to join the committee for dinner before any of the meetings, please let Alison know – all welcome!

 

 

Other information:

 

The Friends of Hugh Miller

The latest newsletter from the Friends of Hugh Miller is available on-line at: http://s3.spanglefish.com/s/27844/documents/newsletters/newsletterspring15.pdf or contact Martin Gostwick at mgostwick@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list.  The HGS is affiliated to the Friends of Hugh Miller, which is a charity committed to celebrating and promoting the legacy of this great pioneering Scottish geologist.

 

NW Highlands Geopark

For news of the latest developments in the NWHG, including the programme for day trips in the summer season ahead, please see: http://www.nwhgeopark.com.  There are 2 geology based tours in August and September and the Rock Stop Geocentre is open 7 days a week.

 

Lochaber Geopark

Sign up to receive newsletters direct from Lochaber Geopark at: info@lochabergeopark.org.uk

 

 

Contact information:

 

Chairman:  Alan Thompson 01463 238992                alanrossthompson@hotmail.com

 

Secretary:  Dr Alison Wright 01309 671949              a.j.wright00@aberdeen.ac.uk

 

Treasurer:  Dr Rhona Fraser                                                    rhonabifraser@tiscali.co.uk

 

THE HIGHLAND GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Scottish Charity No. SC004427

MARCH 2015

Dear Members,

Thank you to everyone who took the time to attend the AGM – we have now sent all the necessary details to OSCR so our records are up to date. Also many thanks to everyone who has already renewed their membership. If you have still to pay, current subscription rates are £15 for Single Members and £22.50 for Family Membership; you can pay by cheque at our next meeting but if you prefer to send the subscription by post then cheques should be made out to the ‘Highland Geological Society’ and sent to Dr Rhona Fraser at: 12, Islands House, Island Bank Road, Inverness, IV2 4SB.

Winter Programme 2015

18 March Paul Monk (HGS)

50 years in amateur geology: collections, fieldtrips and passion. 

Paul will take a stroll through his collecting history, sharing some geological stories along the way, and giving us a tour through a small part of his collections of minerals, fossils and 18th and 19th Century geology books.

We will also have some copies of Roy Starkey’s new book Crystal Mountain – Minerals of the Cairngorms available to buy at £25 each (= P+P free!). More information about the book is available at: www.britishmineralogy.com. Roy will also be giving a talk to the society in March next year (see Winter Programme 2015-16 below).

22 April Dr Alan Crane (University of Aberdeen)

Aotearoa: A Plate Margin Journey

Aotearoa (re-named New Zealand by Europeans) is situated astride an obliquely convergent section on the tectonic boundary between the Indo-Australian and Pacific Plates. For the last 24 million years this has been, and continues to be, an active orogenic zone creating one of the fastest rising mountain belts on Planet Earth. Aotearoa is also an area where oceanic segments of both the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates are being subducted, resulting in associated active strato-volcanoes, rifting and back-arc spreading.

The talk will comprise a travelogue-style DVD illustrating the classic ‘Trans-Alpine’ rail journey: a flight traverse of the Mount Cook (Aoraki) Range; a boat trip on proglacial Lake Tasman; geysers and lakes of boiling mud of the Taupo Volcanic Zone; a helicopter flight to White Island in the Bay of Plenty (currently New Zealand’s most active volcano); plus the consequences of devastating earthquakes for two of New Zealand’s major cities. A short power-point presentation outlining the Plate Tectonic Geology of Aotearoa will provide an introduction to the DVD.

Evening meetings are charged at £2 for members and £3 for non-members.

For information:

21-22 March: 'Moray Geology: Past, Present, Future' Conference Elgin Museum.

The HGS will be supporting this event which will include a programme of talks at Moray College (University of the Highlands and Islands) and activities within the museum. Please contact moraygeology2015@hotmail.com if you would like up-to-date information about this event.

Summer Field Trips 2015

25 April – 2 May – self-led excursion to Mull

There are still places available at Killunaig Church House (cost £79), plus electricity and communal purchases (~ £10 per person). The week will include a mix of geological itineraries dependent upon the interests of the participants.

16 – 17 May – Oban and the Garvellachs – Roger Anderton

Participants for this trip have been sent the information separately - there is a waiting list for this excursion so please do not just turn-up on the day as the boat is fully booked!

20 June – Ben Wyvis – Martin Hind

Meet near Garve at 9.30 am. Meeting place to be given out at time of booking Day trip to explore the evidence for glaciation on Ben Wyvis with Highland Countryside Ranger, Martin Hind. This event will also be open to members of the public so pre-booking is essential. Please email Martin direct: martin.hind@highland.gov.uk to secure your place. If you have already indicated that you wish to attend, Alison will book for you - please check if you’re not sure! The walk is 14 km (8.75 miles) over fairly rough terrain and involves an ascent of over 900 m; there is an easy climb on paths through the forest initially, followed by much steeper ground on the path ascending to An Cabar.

12-13 September – Loch Monar and Loch Hourn – Eddie Lynch

Meet at the car park just before the Gatehouse at Inchmore west of Struy Bridge (NH 395 406) at 9.15 am. We will leave some vehicles here and then drive to Loch Monar to view the classic exposures at the Loichel Dam, working our way back along the Glen throughout the day. Excursion 8 of the Moine Guide (2010) has the details of the localities we will try and visit, which includes spectacular fold interference structures as a result of polyphase deformation as well as the Sgurr Beag Thrust  traverse and possible basal conglomerate locality. We will also see Morar and Glenfinnan Group meta-sediments and Lewisianoid basement inliers and hopefully visit the graphite mine, subject to time and weather conditions. On Sunday, we will meet in the car park at Invermoriston (NH 421 167) at 9.30 am. We will look at a road cutting just west of the car park before driving westwards and having a couple of road cutting halts on the way to Bun Loyne junction where we will turn south and then west along the Kinloch Hourn road. Excursions 4 & 5 of the Moine Guide (2010) have locality details and we will see what we can get to in the time available (unfortunately we will probably not have time to visit higher altitude localities!!!). Priority will be along Loch Quoich shore and dam area and we will go to see Sgurr Beag Thrust zone at Kinloch Hourn if we have time. Again lots of spectacular folds and re-folded folds to be seen as well as curvilinear sheath fold varieties. We will also see appinite, microdiorite, abundant pegmatite and West Highland Granitic Gneiss. Please let Alison know if you will be attending on the Sunday only in case our plans change!

10 October – Scatwell Mica Mine, Strath Conon – Martin Hind

Meet at the Luichart Power Station, Lower Scatwell past Loch Achilty (NH 393 571) at 10am. An opportunity to visit the rock quarries and spoil heaps associated with the mica mine, which was active during the Second World War. This event will also be open to members of the public.

Winter Programme 2015-16

Plans for the winter meets are coming together, with more details available in the next newsletter. We also plan to have talks in November this year and in April 2016.

Dates agreed thus far are:

9 December – Adventures of a Baby Geologist in Hawaii – Rhona Fraser (HGS)

13 January – The Work of Matthew Foster Heddle – Hamish Johnston

17 February – AGM and short talk: The Lost Zircons of Upper Badcall: A New Discovery in Old

Rocks – Andy Moffat (HGS)

2 March –Minerals and Gems of the Cairngorms – Roy Starkey

All events are subject to confirmation by the Rector of Millburn Academy but we are optimistic that these dates will stand!

 

The Scottish Geodiversity Forum:

The Scottish Geodiversity Forum aims to promote Scotland’s geodiversity, and seeks to widen the profile of geodiversity and influence national and local policies. It is the Scottish national forum for geoconservation groups, geoparks and other related organisations, and interested individuals. The Forum promotes the role and value of geodiversity in education, community involvement and health, the development of tourism and the wider economy. The Forum is open to all organisations and individuals who are interested in promoting Scotland’s geodiversity and the sharing of experience and good practice. If you are interested in joining the forum, please go to: http://scottishgeodiversityforum.org/join/ for more information.

 

Contact information:

Chairman: Alan Thompson 01463 238992 alanrossthompson@hotmail.com

Secretary: Dr Alison Wright 01309 671949 a.j.wright00@aberdeen.ac.uk

Treasurer: Dr Rhona Fraser rhonabifraser@tiscali.co.uk

 

 

 

THE HIGHLAND GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Scottish Charity No. SC004427

DECEMBER 2014

Dear Members,

DATES FOR YOUR (new!) 2015 DIARY

This is a reminder that our meeting on Wednesday 10 December will take place at Inverness Central Library at 7pm. Access to the library (by the bus station) is via the side door opposite the entrance to the Spectrum Centre car park. In case of difficulty, please contact 07747 791826 and someone will let you in!

All other winter meetings will be held at 7.30 pm at Millburn Academy (Diriebught Road, Inverness, IV2 3QR); the committee usually meet for dinner beforehand so if you would like to join us, please let Alison know – all welcome!

Please note the 2015 membership subscriptions are due at the beginning of January. If you pay by Standing Order, money will be debited from your account on 10 Jan – please ensure that your SO reflects current subscription rates (£15 for Single Members; £22.50 for Family Membership). You can pay by cheque at our January meeting but if you prefer to send the subscription by post then cheques should be made out to the ‘Highland Geological Society’ and sent to Dr Rhona Fraser at:

12, Islands House, Island Bank Road, Inverness, IV2 4SB.

More details re our summer programme will follow but dates agreed so far are given at the end of this newsletter.

Winter Programme 2014-15

10 December

Julie Corcoran and Robert Reid (Highland Library Service) and Peter Reynolds (HGS)

The HGS Library Collection

This is an opportunity to explore our collection held by Inverness library; which comprises gifts and personal bequests of existing and former members, giving the current membership access to a ready- made working collection of geological reading matter including back runs of journals, field guides and other relevant texts. The library staff are moving the collection out of the stack where it is normally housed, for tonight only, to make it easier to access. It will be possible to use the computer catalogue and borrow items on the night. Any member of the HGS who is not a member of the public library can join on the night if they bring along evidence of identity and address (e.g. driving licence, recent utility bill etc.). Reference material, including old memoirs and maps of various vintages, held by the Highland Library Service in Inverness will also be accessible so come along and see what you can find!

 

28 January 2015

Dr Sue Beardmore (Curatorial assistant (geology/palaeontology), Elgin Museum)

Letters from America: vertebrate palaeontology in Utah, USA.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, USA, is situated on the western edge of the Colorado plateau where an almost complete stratigraphic succession of Mesozoic rocks is exposed. Work since 1999 by the Natural History Museum, Utah, and Denver Museum of Nature and Science in the Upper Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation has revealed a high number of dinosaur (hadrosaur, ceratopsian and rarer theropod types), crocodile and turtle skeletons, with as many as twenty being new to science. Bivalves, gastropods and plant debris occur in thin, dense horizons throughout the formation, often in association with skeletons, revealing something of the transportation processes at the time of deposition. In combination with research in Canada, Mexico and other American localities, a broader picture is now emerging of the North American continent today as being well-vegetated and supporting a wide range of organisms 74-76 million years ago, and crucially just prior to the famous end-Cretaceous extinction.

25 February

Annual General Meeting

Please come and support the important business part of the society’s activities, which will be followed by a short talk:

Peter Reynolds (HGS) How thin sections are made

Much of our current knowledge of earth processes is based on the study of thin sections - extremely thin slices of rock mounted on microscope slides. Although this may appear to belong to the realm of university research it is within reach of the interested amateur. Our former president Sinclair Ross taught Ann and Peter Reynolds the basics of thin section making and this short illustrated talk shows how it is done.

18 March

Paul Monk (HGS)

50 years in amateur geology: collections, fieldtrips and passion.

Paul will take a stroll through his collecting history, sharing some geological stories along the way, and giving us a tour through a small part of his collections of minerals, fossils and 18th and 19th Century geology books.

22 April

Dr Alan Crane (University of Aberdeen)

Aotearoa: A Plate Margin Journey

Aoetearoa (re-named New Zealand by Europeans) is situated astride an obliquely convergent section on the tectonic boundary between the Indo-Australian and Pacific Plates. For the last 24 million years this has been, and continues to be, an active orogenic zone creating one of the fastest rising mountain belts on Planet Earth. Aotearoa is also an area where oceanic segments of both the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates are being subducted, resulting in associated active strato-volcanoes, rifting and back-arc spreading.

The talk will comprise a travelogue-style DVD illustrating the classic ‘Trans-Alpine’ rail journey: a flight traverse of the Mount Cook (Aoraki) Range; a boat trip on proglacial Lake Tasman; geysers and lakes of boiling mud of the Taupo Volcanic Zone; a helicopter flight to White Island in the Bay of Plenty (currently New Zealand’s most active volcano); plus the consequences of devastating earthquakes for two of New Zealand’s major cities. A short power-point presentation outlining the Plate Tectonic Geology of Aotearoa will provide an introduction to the DVD.

Evening meetings are charged at £2 for members and £3 for non-members.

 

For information:

21-22 March: 'Moray Geology: Past, Present, Future' Conference Elgin Museum.

The HGS will be supporting this event which will include a programme of talks at Moray College (University of the Highlands and Islands) and activities within the museum. Please contact moraygeology2015@hotmail.com if you would like up-to-date information about this event.

SUMMER FIELDTRIPS 2015

25 April – 2 May – self-led excursion to Mull

There are still places available at Killunaig Church House (cost £79), plus electricity and communal purchases (~ £10 per person). The week will include a mix of geological itineraries dependent upon the interests of the participants.

16 – 17 May – Oban and the Garvellachs – Roger Anderton

Details to be confirmed but will include a day-trip to Garbh Eileach (the largest of the Garvellachs) to look at the stunning Dalradian statigraphy, including the Port Askaig Boulder Bed (tillite). Cost of the ferry to Luing and boat trip from Cullipool will be approx. £30.

20 June – Ben Wyvis – Martin Hind

Day trip to explore the evidence for glaciation on Ben Wyvis with Highland Countryside Ranger, Martin Hind. This event will also be open to members of the public.

10 October – Scatwell Mica Mine, Strath Conon – Martin Hind

An opportunity to visit the rock quarries and spoil heaps associated with the mica mine, which was active during the Second World War. This event will also be open to members of the public.

It is hoped to add at least one more date to the summer programme; more details of the above trips will be included in the next newsletter. If you are interested in attending any of the excursions, please let Alison know as soon as possible as numbers for some excursions are limited.

Contact information:

Chairman: Alan Thompson 01463 238992 alanrossthompson@hotmail.com

Secretary: Dr Alison Wright 01309 671949 a.j.wright00@aberdeen.ac.uk

Acting Treasurer: Dr Rhona Fraser rhonabifraser@tiscali.co.uk

 

 

 

 

THE HIGHLAND GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Scottish Charity No. SC004427

 

Dear Members, SEPTEMBER 2014

We hope that you’ve had a good summer and that you will be able to join us for the final fieldtrip of 2014 on 4 October (details below); please let Alan know if you are planning to attend.

Given the success of the week long excursion to Mull, we are considering a return trip 25 April - 2 May 2015. The cost of the accommodation is £79 (unchanged from 2014), plus electricity and communal purchases (~ £10 per person this year). If you are interested in joining the group, please let Alison know as soon as possible. Once it is apparent that there is enough interest to go ahead with this trip, you will be asked to pay for the accommodation in full. If a lot of members wish to attend, we will explore other accommodation options and/or run a waiting list.

Full details of the Winter 2014/15 Programme are given below; our first evening meeting will be at 7.30 pm at Millburn Academy (Diriebught Road, Inverness, IV2 3QR) on 5 November. If you would like to join the committee for dinner, please let Alison know – all welcome!

The Society has a number of Quarterly Journals published by the Geological Society of London (now The Geological Society) available on a first come/first served basis from Peter Christie:

1952 Vol. CVIII part 2; 1955 Vol. CXI part 1; 1961 Vol. CXVII part 4; 5 boxes containing the series from 1960 part 4 to 1982 Vol. 139 (taken from the labels on the boxes).

Please contact him if you would like more information (see below).

We also have a number of geological maps that have been bequeathed to the society and which can be borrowed from Ann and Peter Reynolds. The list of maps is available on the HGS website (under ‘Library’ tab or see: http://s3.spanglefish.com/s/23153/documents/map-list/map-catalogue-20-07-14.pdf); maps can either be collected at a meeting or sent and returned by post (requester pays postage & packing).

Note for your diary:

21-22 March 2015: 'Moray Geology: Past, Present, Future' conference hosted by Elgin Museum.

Details are still to be confirmed but it is anticipated that it will include a programme of talks at Moray College (University of the Highlands and Islands) and activities within the museum. Please contact moraygeology2015@hotmail.com if you would like to be kept informed of developments.

 

Summer Programme 2014

4 October Little Glen Shee, Dunkeld and the Hermitage

Leader: Dr David Stephenson, British Geological Survey

Meet at Little Glenshee car park to the south of the fording point of the Shochie Burn, close to the wooden footbridge (NN 9880 3404)] at 10 am. Cost £3 per person.

This excursion will allow us to: examine key exposures within and close to the closure of the Tay Nappe that enable its 3-D geometry to be determined; to see minor folds and cleavages resulting from the three phases of deformation that produced the large-scale structure; and to examine metasedimentary rocks of the Birnam Slate and Grit Formation and Dunkeld Grit Formation of the Southern Highland Group (Dalradian Supergroup).

Maps:

OS 1:50 000 Sheet 52 (Pitlochry to Crieff) or Sheet 53 (Blairgowrie) - they overlap. The area lies at the junction of BGS 1:50 000 sheets 47E (Crieff) and 55E (Pitlochry) but most of the outcrops covered by the excursion lie with the unpublished Sheet 47E, with only Craig a’ Barns in the bottom RH corner of Sheet 55E.

 

Winter Programme 2014-15

5 November

Dr Dave McGarvie (the Open University in Scotland)

Fieldwork in Chile: land of volcanoes and earthquakes

In January 2014 Dave returned to Chile to work on a little-known volcano to investigate lava-ice interactions and to collect samples for follow-up geochemistry and age dating. The volcano is called Quetrupillán, and it name means 'the headless spirit'. He became a cowboy, going to and from the volcano on horseback, and camped by an idyllic lake, cooked by a camp-fire, drank bourbon, and drawled a lot! Working at 5,000-8,000 feet up in the mountains meant the views across the Andes were sometimes stunning; the rocks were spectacular as well, with plenty of excellent and subtle examples of lava-ice interactions so this should be a well-illustrated talk. If time permits, he'll also show a few images of part of Chile that was hit badly by the largest recorded earthquake in history; Dave kayaked in the drowned forest that sank beneath sea level when the land suddenly dropped two metres during the earthquake, and was then hit by a tsunami.

 

10 December - Meet at side entrance to Inverness Library at 7.00 pm

Peter Reynolds (HGS) and Julie Corcoran (Highland Library Service)

The HGS Library Collection

This is an opportunity to explore our extensive collection held by Inverness library which comprises personal bequests and donations from both former and current members, giving the membership access to a ready- made working collection of geological reading matter including back runs of journals, field guides and other relevant texts. Reference material held by the Highland Library Service in Inverness will also be accessible so come along and see what you can find!

 

28 January 2015

Dr Sue Beardmore (Curatorial assistant (geology/palaeontology), Elgin Museum)

Letters from America: vertebrate palaeontology in Utah, USA.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, USA, is situated on the western edge of the Colorado plateau where an almost complete stratigraphic succession of Mesozoic rocks is exposed. Work since 1999 by the Natural History Museum, Utah, and Denver Museum of Nature and Science in the Upper Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation has revealed a high number of dinosaur (hadrosaur, ceratopsian and rarer theropod types), crocodile and turtle skeletons, with as many as twenty being new to science. Bivalves, gastropods and plant debris occur in thin, dense horizons throughout the formation, often in association with skeletons, revealing something of the transportation processes at the time of deposition. In combination with research in Canada, Mexico and other American localities, a broader picture is now emerging of the North American continent today as being well-vegetated and supporting a wide range of organisms 74-76 million years ago, and crucially just prior to the famous end-Cretaceous extinction.

 

25 February

Annual General Meeting

Please come and support the important business part of the society’s activities, which will be followed by a short talk:

Peter Reynolds (HGS) How thin sections are made

Much of our current knowledge of earth processes is based on the study of thin sections - extremely thin slices of rock mounted on microscope slides. Although this may appear to belong to the realm of university research it is within reach of the interested amateur. Our former president Sinclair Ross taught Ann and Peter Reynolds the basics of thin section making and this short illustrated talk shows how it is done.

 

18 March

Paul Monk (HGS)

50 years in amateur geology: collections, fieldtrips and passion.

Paul will take a stroll through his collecting history, sharing some geological stories along the way, and giving us a tour through a small part of his collections of minerals, fossils and 18th and 19th Century geology books.

 

22 April

Dr Alan Crane (University of Aberdeen)

Aotearoa: A Plate Margin Journey

Aoetearoa (re-named New Zealand by Europeans) is situated astride an obliquely convergent section on the tectonic boundary between the Indo-Australian and Pacific Plates. For the last 24 million years this has been, and continues to be, an active orogenic zone creating one of the fastest rising mountain belts on Planet Earth. Aotearoa is also an area where oceanic segments of both the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates are being subducted, resulting in associated active strato-volcanoes, rifting and back-arc spreading.

The talk will comprise a travelogue-style DVD illustrating the classic ‘Tranz-Alpine’ rail journey: a flight traverse of the Mount Cook (Aoraki) Range; a boat trip on proglacial Lake Tasman; geysers and lakes of boiling mud of the Taupo Volcanic Zone; a helicopter flight to White Island in the Bay of Plenty (currently New Zealand’s most active volcano); plus the consequences of devastating earthquakes for two of New Zealand’s major cities. A short power-point presentation outlining the Plate Tectonic Geology of Aotearoa will provide an introduction to the DVD.

 

Evening meetings are charged at £2 for members and £3 for non-members.

 

Contact information:

Chairman: Alan Thompson 01463 238992 alanrossthompson@hotmail.com

Secretary: Dr. Alison Wright 01309 671949 a.j.wright00@aberdeen.ac.uk

Journals: Peter Christie 01808 521257 terch@dsl.pipex.com

Maps: Ann and Peter Reynolds 01808 521343 annandpeterfarr@hotmail.com

 

 

 

 

THE HIGHLAND GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

 

Dear Members, JUNE 2014

Following the fantastic weather we experienced on both Skye and Mull, we’re hoping that the rest of our excursions will be equally dry; we look forward to seeing you in July and/or October for our excursions to Strath Fionan and Dunkeld.

This newsletter also includes dates for the Winter 2014/15 Programme to allow you to plan ahead so we hope to see you at 7.30 pm at Millburn Academy (Diriebught Road, Inverness, IV2 3QR) on 5 November. The committee usually meet the speaker for dinner beforehand so if you would like to join us for dinner, please let Alison know – all welcome!

 

Summer Programme 2014

Field trips are charged at £3 for day excursions and £5 for weekend trips.

5 – 6 July – Strath Fionan

Leader: Fiona McGibbon, Open University

Meet in the main square at Kinloch Rannoch at 10 am on 5 July.

This field trip will investigate Dalradian stratigraphy, structure and metamorphism in an area of outstanding scenery next to Schiehallion. We will see outcrops of quartzite, schist, amphibolite and marble, overprinted by strain fabrics of increasing intensity. We should see kyanite and garnet and so will also investigate metamorphic grade. All of this will be considered in terms of what it reveals to us about the Grampian orogeny that shaped this part of the Highlands. Although the rocks here are quite complex, there will be much to see and learn at many levels. Hard hats required!

The group will stay at Kindrogan Field Centre (near Pitlochry) on 5 July. Please contact Alison as soon as possible if you would like to join us for dinner, bed and breakfast (£38.40 per person)

4 October – Little Glen Shee, Dunkeld and the Hermitage

Leader: Dr David Stephenson, British Geological Survey

Meet at Little Glenshee car park to the south of the fording point of the Shochie Burn, close to the wooden footbridge (NN 9880 3404)] at 10 am.

This excursion will allow us to: examine key exposures within and close to the closure of the Tay Nappe that enable its 3-D geometry to be determined; to see minor folds and cleavages resulting from the three phases of deformation that produced the large-scale structure; and to examine metasedimentary rocks of the Birnam Slate and Grit Formation and Dunkeld Grit Formation of the Southern Highland Group (Dalradian Supergroup).

Maps:

OS 1:50 000 Sheet 52 (Pitlochry to Crieff) or Sheet 53 (Blairgowrie) - they overlap. The area lies at the junction of BGS 1:50 000 sheets 47E (Crieff) and 55E (Pitlochry) but most of the outcrops covered by the excursion lie with the unpublished Sheet 47E, with only Craig a'Barns in the bottom RH corner of Sheet 55E.

Suggested reading:

see A.L.Harris descriptions in the Dalradian GCR volume (Tanner, P.W.G. et al. 2013. The Dalradian rocks of the Highland Border region of Scotland. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association Vol. 124, pp. 215 - 262.)

 

Winter Programme 2014-15

5 November

Dr Dave McGarvie (the Open University in Scotland)

Fieldwork in Chile: land of volcanoes and earthquakes

In January 2014 Dave returned to Chile to work on a little-known volcano to investigate lava-ice interactions and to collect samples for follow-up geochemistry and age dating. The volcano is called Quetrupillán, and it name means 'the headless spirit'. He became a cowboy, going to and from the volcano on horseback, and camped by an idyllic lake, cooked by a camp-fire, drank bourbon, and drawled a lot! Working at 5,000-8,000 feet up in the mountains meant the views across the Andes were sometimes stunning; the rocks were spectacular as well, with plenty of excellent and subtle examples of lava-ice interactions so this should be a well-illustrated talk. If time permits, he'll also show a few images of part of Chile that was hit badly by the largest recorded earthquake in history; Dave kayaked in the drowned forest that sank beneath sea level when the land suddenly dropped two metres during the earthquake, and was then hit by a tsunami.

10 December

Peter Reynolds (HGS) and Julie Corcoran (Highland Library Service)

The HGS Library Collection

This is an opportunity to explore our extensive collection held by Inverness library which comprises personal bequests and donations from both former and current members, giving the membership access to a ready- made working collection of geological reading matter including back runs of journals, field guides and other relevant texts. Reference material held by the Highland Library Service in Inverness will also be accessible so come along and see what you can find!

28 January 2015

Dr Sue Beardmore (Curatorial assistant (geology/palaeontology), Elgin Museum)

Letters from America: vertebrate palaeontology in Utah, USA.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, USA, is situated on the western edge of the Colorado plateau where an almost complete stratigraphic succession of Mesozoic rocks is exposed. Work since 1999 by the Natural History Museum, Utah, and Denver Museum of Nature and Science in the Upper Cretaceous Kaiparowits Formation has revealed a high number of dinosaur (hadrosaur, ceratopsian and rarer theropod types), crocodile and turtle skeletons, with as many as twenty being new to science. Bivalves, gastropods and plant debris occur in thin, dense horizons throughout the formation, often in association with skeletons, revealing something of the transportation processes at the time of deposition. In combination with research in Canada, Mexico and other American localities, a broader picture is now emerging of the North American continent today as being well-vegetated and supporting a wide range of organisms 74-76 million years ago, and crucially just prior to the famous end-Cretaceous extinction.

25 February

Annual General Meeting

Please come and support the important business part of the society’s activities, which will be followed by a short talk:

Peter Reynolds (HGS) How thin sections are made

Much of our current knowledge of earth processes is based on the study of thin sections - extremely thin slices of rock mounted on microscope slides. Although this may appear to belong to the realm of university research it is within reach of the interested amateur. Our former president Sinclair Ross taught Ann and Peter Reynolds the basics of thin section making and this short illustrated talk shows how it is done.

18 March

Paul Monk (HGS)

50 years in amateur geology: collections, fieldtrips and passion.

Paul will take a stroll through his collecting history, sharing some geological stories along the way, and giving us a tour through a small part of his collections of minerals, fossils and 18th and 19th Century geology books.

22 April

Dr Alan Crane (University of Aberdeen)

Aotearoa: A Plate Margin Journey

Aoetearoa (re-named New Zealand by Europeans) is situated astride an obliquely convergent section on the tectonic boundary between the Indo-Australian and Pacific Plates. For the last 24 million years this has been, and continues to be, an active orogenic zone creating one of the fastest rising mountain belts on Planet Earth. Aotearoa is also an area where oceanic segments of both the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates are being subducted, resulting in associated active strato-volcanoes, rifting and back-arc spreading.

The talk will comprise a travelogue-style DVD illustrating the classic ‘Tranz-Alpine’ rail journey: a flight traverse of the Mount Cook (Aoraki) Range; a boat trip on proglacial Lake Tasman; geysers and lakes of boiling mud of the Taupo Volcanic Zone; a helicopter flight to White Island in the Bay of Plenty (currently New Zealand’s most active volcano); plus the consequences of devastating earthquakes for two of New Zealand’s major cities. A short power-point presentation outlining the Plate Tectonic Geology of Aotearoa will provide an introduction to the DVD.

Please note that all dates are subject to confirmation by the Rector of Millburn Academy.

Evening meetings are charged at £2 for members and £3 for non-members.

Contact information:

Chairman: Alan Thompson 01463 238922 alanrossthompson@hotmail.com

Secretary: Dr. Alison Wright 01309 671949 a.j.wright00@aberdeen.ac.uk

 

PREVIOUS NEWSLETTERS

 

THE HIGHLAND GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

 

Scottish Charity No. SC004427

Dear Members, APRIL 2014

As you will have seen if you are on our email list, there were some changes made to the committee at the AGM in February:

Peter Christie has stepped down as Chairperson after 16 years, and Alan Thompson has been elected in his place. The society owes Peter a big thank you for all that he has done over so many years.

Ann Reynolds has stepped down as Treasurer, but has agreed to stay on the Committee. We have yet to confirm a new Treasurer, and Alan will work with Ann to ensure that we can fill this role, and manage the necessary transition.

In summary the 2014 Committee is:

John Adamson; Anne Cockroft; Rhona Fraser; Andy Leggatt (Web site manager); Eddie Lynch; Ann Reynolds (Acting Treasurer); Alan Thompson (Chair); Alison Wright (Secretary)

Given the unique role that Sinclair Ross played in the life of the society, there are no plans to nominate a new President.

Hopefully all will be ‘business as usual’ – suggestions (or volunteers!) for speakers and/or fieldtrips are always welcome so please do contact the Secretary (or any other committee member) if you have any ideas to aid the smooth running of the society.

 

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