Lecture Meetings at Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution,
16 Queen Square, Bath at 7.15 p.m.

January February March April May June July September October November December AGM 2007

January 5th

Charles Moore and his Palaeontological Collection

Matt Williams — Curator BRLSI

Charles Moore (1815-1881) was a life-long collector of fossils and a researching Palaeontologist of some merit. Moore was partly responsible for the establishing the Rhaetic in Britain and pioneered bulk picking techniques now used by palaeontologists around the world. After moving to Bath, his collection was displayed in its entirety at the BRLSI and on his death was bought by the Institution, where it is still housed. This collection can be regarded as the best of its kind in SW England and an insight in to the life and work of this extraordinary man gives us a fresh appreciation of our great Geological heritage here in Bath.

Return to Top

February 2nd

Annual General Meeting, 2006

With Universally Challenged GeoQuiz and other attractions!

Return to Top

March 2nd

Subglacial Volcanism and Catastrophic floods in Iceland

Dr. Andrew J. Russell - University of Newcastle

Return to Top

April 7th

Garnets — an Under-Appreciated Stone

David Lancaster — Christie's

Return to Top

May 4th

The Earth — An Intimate History

Prof. Richard Fortey, Department of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, London and Dept. of Zoology, Oxford University

How do you attempt to explain the geological history of the Earth and plate tectonics within the compass of a single book? Prof. Fortey will explain how he told the story of our planet by visiting a number of Geology‘s "holy places". He approaches geology first through what it does to our landscape and history, then tunnelling down to the deeper causes.

Return to Top

June 1st

Geological & Climatic Controls on British Viticulture

Professor Richard Selley — Imperial College, London

Wild vines have grown in Britain for over 50 million years. Only in the Ice Age of the last 2 million years have vines retreated from Britain during the glacial maxima, returning during warmer phases, such as the present one.
In marginal climatic conditions, such as those of modern Britain, great care must be taken in finding favourable vineyard sites. Soil character, landscape and micro-climate are most important. This lecture will show how geology controls these factors, providing further confirmation that humans inhabit planet Earth by courtesy of its geology. The winelands of Britain are defined by their geology. Examples include the Pleistocene terrace gravels of the Thames and other rivers, the chalk Downs, with their sunny southern slopes and sheltered dry valleys, and the Palaeozoic rocky rivieras of Wales and the West Country.
There is an associated fieldtrip and wine tasting event on the weekend following this lecture - see field excursions.

Return to Top

July 6th

Strike-Slip Tectonics in SE Asia

Dr Chris Elders, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, Univ. of London

This talk is about Dr Elder's work on the structural analysis of the Sumatra Fault Zone in Indonesia and studies of the sedimentary basins in the Sumatra back-arc, the Gulf of Thailand and onshore Thailand to evaluate the relative contributions of strike slip deformation and extensional tectonics in basin evolution on the continental margin and on the periphery of the India-Eurasia collision zone with some thoughts on the implications of the SE Asian Tsunami.

Return to Top

September 7th

Club Evening

This is an opportunity for members to display their collections and to give a short talk about interesting trips or geological activities.

Return to Top

October 5th

My House Fell in a Hole! — Problems with Soluble Rocks

Dr Anthony Cooper — British Geological Survey

Gypsum (hydrated Calcium Sulphate CaSO4.2H2O, the raw material for plaster) is widespread throughout the world, but it dissolves so rapidly that it poses a threat to any development that encounters it. More than one metre of gypsum per annum can be easily dissolved by moderate river action on natural exposures. Where this dissolution occurs underground at similar rates, caves can develop, expand rapidly and suddenly collapse. Such caves occur in the Permian rocks of the Vale of Eden, Cumbria and beneath Ripon, North Yorkshire.
Under suitable groundwater flow conditions caves in gypsum can enlarge at a rapid rate resulting in large chambers. Collapse of these chambers produces breccia pipes which propagate through the overlying strata to break through at the surface and form subsidence hollows. Subsidence problems at Ripon (UK) are due to this phenomenon and periodically affect local properties. By this mechanism holes, commonly up to 20m deep and 40m or more across, continue to appear suddenly in gypsiferous terranes throughout the world.

Return to Top

November 2nd

Geothermal Systems and Their Exploitation

Dr George Darling — British Geological Survey

Geothermal systems come in two basic kinds, high and low enthalpy, which means basically with or without the capacity to generate significant quantities of steam. The former tend to give rise to the more spectacular surface manifestations, and are often exploited for their touristic or electricity-generating potential, but the latter are much more widespread, being generally used for spa or district heating purposes. The talk will cover how both types of system work, how their potential is assessed prior to possibly expensive drilling, and the various ways in which they are exploited; some being perhaps less obvious than others. There will be a brief review of the latest information we have on the age and origin of the thermal waters of Bath.

Return to Top

December 7th

Meteorites: Myth, Mystery and Marvel

Dr Caroline Smith - Meteorite Curator, Natural History Museum, London

There are approximately 34,000 known meteorites. The lecture will discuss the different types and what information these important samples provide. Some meteorites record the very earliest stages of Solar System formation, whereas others give insights into planet forming processes; indeed by studying meteorites we gain insights into the structure of our own Earth.
Every year, approximately 40,000 tons of material lands on the Earth, most of which is in the form of tiny dust grains. However, larger 'bits' regularly land and occasionally a meteorite that is very large impacts with the Earth - with devastating consequences. As part of a study into the flux of material to Earth Dr Smith took part in a fieldtrip to Australia and she will talk about this project and how it fits in with the meteorite 'big picture'.

Return to Top


Annual General Meeting, 2007