22 September 2017
September 2017 Newsletter


Scottish Charity No. SC004427


                                                                                                            SEPTEMBER 2017

Dear Members,


Please check your diaries and see if you can possibly join us for the last excursion of the summer:



NW HIGHLANDS 30th SEP – 1st OCT – Pete Harrison, NW Highlands Geopark

This trip will form part of the NW Highlands Geopark’s 2017 Geofestival.

We will examine the Cambro-Ordovician succession in Assynt and its involvement in the Moine Thrust Zone. This will involve looking at the normal sequence at Loch Assynt and then considering how it has been structurally modified in Assynt on the Saturday and further south at Strath Canaird on the Sunday.

A useful guide is A geological guide to the North-West Highlands of Scotland edited by Kathryn M. Goodenough and Maarten Krabbendam. 2011. ISBN 978-1-905267-53-8

Please let Alison know if you would like to attend, either for the weekend or for either day as this will greatly assist planning. We may be able to use the centre’s minibus, which would make site access easier.

Saturday 30th September - meet 9.30 am at the Macphail Centre, Ullapool

We will rationalise cars and then head north stopping briefly at Knockan Crag and then on to Loch Assynt. Most of the day will be spent at Loch Assynt to view the succession and establish the relationships with the underlying Torridonian and in the thrust zone. There may be an opportunity to visit the NWHG Rock Stop centre on Loch Glencoul.

Sunday 1st October- meet at 9.30 at the Macphail Centre, Ullapool

The day will be spent on a lesser known part of the Moine Thrust Zone up above Strath Canaird looking at a part of the Moine Thrust Zone. The site is accessible by a limited number of vehicles and has a good all round view. There will be an opportunity for those that wish (everyone!) to work out the relationships for themselves and to draw their own map. A base map will be provided.

We’ve booked a table at the Morefield Motel, Ullapool (http://www.morefieldmotel.co.uk/) at 7.30pm on Saturday evening so please let Alison know if you would like to join the group for dinner.

Note: If you are unable to make the HGS excursion, you may be interested in the Geotours 2017 trip arranged by the NW Highlands Geopark; see http://www.nwhgeopark.com/geotours-2017/ for more information.

The wider Geofestival is linked to the Scottish Geodiversity Forum’s project highlighting the 51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology which includes many of the country’s most famous and unique geological sites. The full event listing is available at: www.scottishgeology.com/geoheritage-festival/

There is also a 51 Best Places Launch on Saturday 14th October at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh: see www.scottishgeology.com/event/51-bestplaces-launch/ for details.


11th October – Scottish and Agate Creek Agate, John Mackenzie, Earl of Cromartie

Scottish agate is some of the most beautiful in the world and John’s talk will give some insight into their variety, whilst the well-known Agate Creek area of Northern Queensland has agates of a colour brilliance possibly unrivalled. The talk will include photos of agates from both regions as well as from various other localities.

8th November – Drilling the Nankai Trough Accretionary Complex, Dr Stephen Bowden, University of Aberdeen

The Nankai Trough Accretionary Complex is the most recent of a number of such complexes that have developed to the south-west of the Japanese island arc.  In 2016, Stephen joined an international team of scientists on a leg of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme to further investigate the history of the complex and explore it for microbial life. Like many drill targets it was chosen on the back of good preparative work and was considered well-characterised; mud, more mud and mud. But what really happened was far more surprising.  Come share the surprise….. A documentary about the project can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-WgYZVYYWQ

13th December – Clay, Professor Peter Scott, Peter W. Scott Ltd. and Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter

Clay was one of the first of the Earth’s mineral resources to be exploited by mankind. It has been extracted throughout history and remains an important raw material in the 21st Century.  Clay has properties that are unique and not found in other rocks and minerals. The talk will describe the diverse types of clay that are found in the UK and elsewhere, their mineralogy, geological setting and origin. It will also explain why clay is unique and how the properties of the microscopic sized clay minerals control the wide range of uses of clay.

10th January – Hydrogeology - water under the ground, Dr John Heathcote, HGS

30% of the fresh water on the planet is groundwater, and 69.8% is ice.  Most of the drinking water supply in southern England is from groundwater.  Groundwater often features in civil engineering too - usually as a nuisance.  Thus there's a whole branch of science that studies groundwater - it involves chemistry and maths as well as geology. The talk will cover the broad scope of hydrogeology, without too much chemistry and maths!

14th February – AGM followed by fieldtrip review and members evening – more details to follow!


Information for March and April 2018 to follow.

Talks take place in Meeting Room 145/146 at Millburn Academy, Diriebught Road, Inverness, IV2 3QR at 7.30 pm.

Entry is £2 for members, £5 for non-members.

If you would like to join the group for dinner before the talk (usually 6 pm) please let Alison know beforehand.



Chairman:  Stephen Young    01349 864141             sstyoung84@gmail.com

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

Treasurer:  Alan Thompson    01463 238992             alanrossthompson@hotmail.com

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