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

January February March April May June July September October November December January 2000

January 14th

Annual General Meeting 1999

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February 11th

Dinosaurs of North Africa

Professor Michael Benton, University of Bristol

After years of virtual ignorance, palaeontologists are again investigating the dinosaurs of North Africa, and they are finding some surprises. Earlier accounts, by German and French palaeontologists, suggested there was a unique North African dinosaur fauna in the mid-Cretaceous. New work in Morocco, Niger, and Tunisia confirms this. A Bristol team, with international collaborators, has uncovered a vast bonebed, several square kilometres in extent, on the northern edge of the Sahara desert, in southern Tunisia, and this will allow a detailed determination of the dinosaurs. By mid-Cretaceous times, Africa was an island, and its dinosaurs, while retaining hints of relationships to North American and European forms, had begun to evolve their own independent character. Not least is the astonishing dominance of flesh-eating theropods.
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March 11th

Beasts, Bugs, Phosphate and Fertiliser: Unusual Events in the Chalk Sea

Dr. Ian Jarvis, Centre for Earth & Environmental Science Research, Kingston University

The white cliffs of Dover represent the epitome of the southern English coastline. The Chalk Downs are renowned for their varied and unique flora and fauna, yet most people regard the Chalk itself as a monotonous sequence of uniform white rock which shows nothing of interest! This is far from the truth. The Chalk consists of a thick pile of minute fossil plant and animal remains that record a unique history of environmental change in the World ocean between 99 - 65 million years ago.The Chalk can provide unique insights into processes affecting the ancient oceans. It is only by understanding such environments that Man can hope to predict the consequences of his own activities on the Earth‘s natural system.
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April 8th

Looking for Sea Dragons in the Desert

Simon Carpenter

In July 1998, Simon travelled to the Nevada desert in North America to help collect sea dragons for Cincinnati Museum. The talk, illustrated with slides, follows the expedition as it set out to locate and excavate a number of important fossil sites in the Augusta Mountain Range. The rocks here are approximately 225 million years old and were deposited in a shallow Triassic sea. Ichthyosaurs (similar in shape to modern dolphins) were some of the top predators and grew to lengths of 15 metres. The collection of one of these animals was the prime purpose of the 1998 expedition by Cincinnati Museum. The expedition was sponsored by the National Geographic Society. Extreme heat and rattlesnakes were a daily hazard for expedition members in a harsh but beautiful landscape. The desert scenery, geology and wildlife should provide an enthralling and captivating talk.
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May 13th

Geology and Scenery in Pembrokeshire

Sid Howells, Area Geologist (West Wales), Countryside Council for Wales.

The rocks of Pembrokeshire probably display more variety than in any other area of equivalent size in the UK and have special historic significance in the development of geological science. The solid rocks range in age from Precambrian to Upper Carboniferous and have been greatly affected by the Caledonian and Variscan orogenies. The development of the scenery is related to events which occurred from the Cretaceous period to the present.

This illustrated lecture will provide a summary, and will be of special interest to anyone planning a visit to the area (the Society intends to organise a field excursion to Pembrokeshire in 2000).

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June 10th

Mineralogy of the Mendip Hills - (title to be con˛rmed)

Dr. Robert Symes, The Natural History Museum

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July 8th

Gemstones, Fakes and Substitutes

Michael Norman, Consultant Gemmologist, Bath

True gemstones occur naturally as products of geological processes. As such they are infinitely varied in form and colour. Their value depends on their rarity and also, however, on subjective notions of such matters as colour and transparency. The lecture will cover the recognition and identification of gemstones, and their colour-grading.

In recent years improved chemical techniques have made possible the artificial synthesis of many gemstones. There are also a number of more dubious techniques sometimes deliberately intended to deceive the unwary. The lecture will deal with the recognition and identification of gemstone substitutes, technically known as simulants.

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September 9th

Club Evening

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October 14th

Trace Fossils and their Applications

Dr Roland Goldring, University of Reading

The talk will cover recent work and applications to industry.
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November 11th

Volcanic Disasters - Past, Present and Future.

Professor Bill McGuire, University College, London

Bill McGuire is Professor of Geohazards and Director of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research centre at University College London.
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December 9th

Joy Coppin Memorial Lecture
Computer Modelling in the Earth Sciences:
Understanding Mountains, Basins and Tropical Islands

Dr Peter Burgess, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cardiff

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January 14th, 2000

Annual General Meeting, 2000