Cymdeithas Daeareg Gogledd Cymru
North Wales Geology Association
Programme :
2020-21
at a
Glance
Which way to meetings?

Postponed Indefinitely
Underground exploration, Corris slate quarries

Postponed Indefinitely
Field Meeting: Coed Maesnewyddion

Wednesday 29th April 2020
Online Presentation: Coastal West Wales

Wednesday 10th June 2020
Online Presentation: Lagerstätten of Southern Germany

Wednesday 22nd July 2020
Online Presentation: The Castle Bank Biota

Wednesday 4th November 2020
Re-scheduled for online presentation
Hot Stuff: Geothermal Insights from the Atacama Desert

Wednesday 16th December 2020
ZOOM Presentation: Annual Members' Evening

Saturday 30th January 2021
Annual General Meeting

Wednesday 24th February 2021
Online Presentation: Life and Death of a Carbonate Platform

Wednesday 7th April 2021
Online Presentation: A History of Quicklime and Cement

Wednesday 4th August 2021
Online Presentation: Battery minerals and the Circular Economy


Wednesday
February 12th 2020
Climate change impacts on coastal landscapes and heritage in Wales: the CHERISH project
Speaker: Dr Sarah Davies, Geography and Earth Sciences, Prifysgol Aberystwyth
Meeting Room, Pensychnant, Conwy.
Location details and map: Contact/Find

Meeting to commence at 19:30h

The winter of 2014 was exceptionally stormy in the British Isles, with major damage on coasts exposed to the North Atlantic. Combined with the impacts of subsequent individual events, such as Ex-Hurricane Ophelia in October 2017, this recent stormy period has highlighted the vulnerability of coastal communities to current and future climate change. Attention has generally focused on impacts to infrastructure, property and communities, with less emphasis on implications for coastal heritage that are important from both a cultural and economic perspective. CHERISH (Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands) is a five year, multi-disciplinary project supported through the Ireland-Wales Territorial Co-operation Programme (2014-2020) which is focusing on past, present and future climate change impacts on coastal heritage in Ireland and Wales.

A combination of aerial and ground-based survey enables detailed recording and monitoring of sites at risk from coastal erosion and storm impacts. Palaeonvironmental records from coastal lakes and bogs are being developed to investigate long term patterns of storminess across the study area. Integration of palaeoenvironmental evidence with archaeological excavations and documentary records at key sites is revealing valuable insights into human-environment interactions in these dynamic coastal environments at a range of timescales. This presentation will give an overview of the CHERISH project, then focus on the ongoing palaeoenvironmental research around the Welsh coast.

Dr Sarah Davies is the Head of the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University, and is the co-ordinator of the Aberystwyth-based team who are part of the project.
Llyn Maelog image by Toby Driver of the RCAHMW.

Postponed
Indefinitely
Field Meeting:
Corris Slate Quarries underground exploration
Leader: Mark Waite, Corris Mine Explorers
Braich Goch Mine, Corris, by Machynlleth

Trwyn Dwlban

This meeting is a follow-on from the very successful and popular meeting held at Cwmorthin in recent years. Whilst there are adrenaline-fuelled adventures for thrill-seekers, this is intended to explore the underground legacy and the geological background to the Welsh slate industry. The underground itinerary is designed specifically for our requirements by Mark and the team at Corris, and intended to last for around 3 hours. Holding an outdoor meeting in March is unusual, but the weather is unlikely to pose risk to this expedition. There will be a charge for this guided trip, though the Association will be off-setting part of the actual cost for members. Safety gear is provided, and wellies if necessary, but overalls and waterproofs are your responsibility. You will be required to understand and sign a declaration of terms and conditions and fitness for the expedition - a copy can be provided in DOCX format prior to the day.

Please contact Jonathan Wilkins by email or telephone to register your interest.
Image courtesy of corrisminexplorers.co.uk.

Postponed
Indefinitely
Field Meeting:
Coed Maesnewyddion Quarry
Leader: Richard Birch
Caen-y-Coed forestry walk, Nr. Betws-y-Coed

A ramble through mature forest of Douglas Fir with some geological exposures of interest.

Maesnewyddion QuarryThe route commences in the car park at Caen-y-Coed, on the A5 between Capel Curig & the Swallow Falls hotel, SH 7621 5761 at 09:30h. There are no toilets or facilities, and the track climbs steeply for the first 1½ km. Expected finish 14:00h.

There is a circular walk of 5 km, but the option to return via the same route is the default for this excursion. Wear stout walking shoes or boots. Bring food and drink, as the climb is thirsty work.

If you wish to collect specimens from the quarry at the end of the route, then a solid hammer is useful, as the rock samples are best broken across cleavage. If you are intending to do this, gloves and protective eye wear is essential! Details of the geology are deliberately withheld as there is a prepared crib sheet enabling participants to work out the age themselves.

Please contact Gary Eisenhauer to register your interest.

Wednesday
29th April 2020
The Latest Ordovician and Earliest Silurian of Coastal West Wales:
A virtual field trip in the time of Coronavirus
Speaker: Keith Nicholls
Online presentation via Skype.
To commence at 19:00h, joining from 18:45h

The Association's first attempt at an online presentation, to be conducted (I gather) by means of screen-sharing so that you can see what Keith will be showing, rather than just his incredibly handsome features.
If you are a Skype user, please email Keith Nicholls (email address is on the contacts page) so that he can communicate the appropriate protocol to join.
Basically, he will issue an invitation to a private conference which can include up to 50 members.
Contact details are here
Lyn or Cathy are also able to assist with any advance preparation.

Wednesday
10th June 2020
Online Presentation:
The Geologists’ Association field-trip to the Lagerstätten of Southern Germany:
A busman’s holiday (sort of)!
Speaker: Gary Eisenhauer
Online presentation via Skype.
To commence at 19:00h, joining from 18:45h

Fossil hunting in the Eocene Messel Pit, Early Jurassic Posidonia Shale and Late Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone, all sites of exceptional fossil preservation. Plus a couple of impact craters and museums along the way.

The Association's second online presentation, is presented by Gary Eisenhauer.
If you are a Skype user, please email Gary (email address is on the contacts page - please note that you MUST remove blank spaces from the email addresses if you copy-and-paste them) so that he can issue an invitation to a private conference which can include up to 50 members.

Contact details are here
Lyn or Cathy are also able to assist with any advance preparation.

Wednesday
22nd July 2020
Online Presentation:
The Castle Bank Biota: a new Ordovician Konservat-Lagerstätte from Wales
Speaker: Joe Botting & Lucy Muir
Online presentation via ZOOM.
To commence at 19:30h, joining from 19:15h

The Cambrian Burgess Shale-type biotas provide an unparalleled window into ecosystems at that time, with numerous deposits around the world preserving soft-bodied organisms in exquisite detail. In Ordovician rocks, Lagerstätten are rarer, more diverse, but generally more limited, and most of them represent specialised community types. Only in the Early Ordovician do we have equivalents to the Burgess Shale-type faunas, in the Fezouata Biota (Morocco) and the Afon Gam Biota (near Bala), but each of these is limited in different ways. As a result, we have limited understanding of the evolution of typical marine ecosystems during the radical biodiversification event (the GOBE) that occurred through most of the Ordovician.

A new site in the late Middle Ordovician of the Builth Inlier (near Llandrindod, Powys) offers a chance to fill that gap. The site is in the early stage of investigation, but has already yielded a wider range of exceptionally preserved taxa than, for example, the Afon Gam Biota or the Llanfawr assemblage. Exceptional preservation is so far limited to an interval of siltstone 2 m thick, but within this interval can be common, especially in thin event beds. Preservation is complex, but appears to include typical Burgess Shale-type carbon films, combined with pyritisation. The assemblage includes a wide range of sponges, worms, arthropods, undetermined tentaculate organisms and problematica: effectively the typical range seen in Burgess Shale-type faunas, and therefore allowing a meaningful comparison with earlier Konservat-Lagerstätten.

Most of the fossils are unusually small, with exceptionally fine detail that is beyond the resolution of our current microscopes and imaging equipment. As a result, we have launched a crowdfunding appeal for a research-level photomicroscope system, which we will make available (in Llandrindod) to anyone who needs it. Link for fundraiser

The Association's third online presentation, is presented by Joe Botting.
If you are a ZOOM user, please email Gary (email address is on the contacts page - please note that you MUST remove blank spaces from the email addresses if you copy-and-paste them) so that he can issue an invitation to this private conference.

Contact details are here
Lyn or Cathy are also able to assist with any advance preparation.

Wednesday
4th November 2020
Hot Stuff: Geothermal Insights from the Atacama Desert (and a basement in Liverpool)
Speaker: Steve Beynon
Online presentation via ZOOM.
To commence at 19:30h, joining from 19:15h

Geothermal energy has great potential to provide a renewable source of baseload power and district heating to a large proportion of the world’s population still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, yet it does not come without its challenges. Careful management of a geothermal system is crucial to ensure it is sustainable. One of the key geological challenges involved in de-risking geothermal potential is finding sufficient permeability at depth. Since many modern geothermal systems may have no surface manifestations (such as in Iceland or New Zealand) the study of favourable tectonic settings is important as a means of targeting potential subsurface resources. A high proportion of geothermal fields are thought to produce from extensional duplexes, where overlapping strike-slip faults create dilation and permeability. This permeability can be destroyed by the formation of mineral veins as a result of continued changes in pressure, temperature and fluid chemistry, but the rates and mechanisms for how exactly this occurs are debated.

Forming part of a PhD project at the University of Liverpool, fieldwork has been undertaken in the Chilean Atacama region to explore the vein properties - and hence fluid flow history - of part of the Atacama Fault Zone (a ‘fossil’ geothermal system). Carrying out fieldwork in such a remote location and hyper-arid climate involves careful planning, but the unique scenery of the area and well-exposed geology forms a great reward. In Liverpool, using structural and mineralogical analyses of mineral veins and altered host rock supported by novel rock deformation experiments in the laboratory, the work aims to understand more fully the complex fracture-forming and sealing processes occurring in contemporary geothermal duplex systems. This research ultimately aims to contribute answers to practical questions, such as how to exploit a geothermal system sustainably, yet also has implications for geological processes ongoing during earthquakes.

Forming part of a PhD project, fieldwork has been undertaken in the Chilean Atacama region to explore the vein properties and hence fluid flow history of part of the >1000km long strike-slip Atacama Fault Zone. Carrying out fieldwork in such a remote location and hyper-arid climate involves careful planning, but the unique scenery of the area and well-exposed geology forms a great reward.

Steve Beynon is a NERC-funded DTP Ph.D. student in the University of Liverpool’s rock deformation laboratory.

The Association's fourth online presentation, is presented by Steve Beynon.
If you are a ZOOM user, please email Cathy O'Brien (email address is on the contacts page - please note that you MUST remove blank spaces from the email addresses if you copy-and-paste them) so that she can issue an invitation to this private conference.

Contact details are here
Gary or Cathy are also able to assist with any advance preparation.

Wednesday
16th December 2020
Annual Members' Meeting
Presentations: Gary Eisenhauer, Keith Nicholls, Jonathan Wilkins
Online presentations via ZOOM.
To commence at 19:30h, joining from 19:15h

Keith: My day job!
A Reprise of a presentation I made for CIRIA on the subject of Network Rail / HS2 physical interfaces.

Gary: A Quick Trip Down ‘Field-trip’ Memory Lane.
A lockdown re-visit to some of my useable images from school days field-trips through university to work in the subsurface

Jonathan: Making a petrographic section by the kitchen sink.
Serious machinery and technology have made the preparation of petrographic sections much less labour-intensive, but they are not entirely necessary. Jonathan shows how it can be done by the largely Victorian, manual method. To finish the talk we will examine the rock that was processed and talk about igneous petrology for a minute or two

The Association's fifth online presentation.
If you are a ZOOM user, please email Cathy O'Brien (email address is on the contacts page - please note that you MUST remove blank spaces from the email addresses if you copy-and-paste them) so that she can issue an invitation to this private conference.

Contact details are here
Gary or Cathy are also able to assist with any advance preparation.

Saturday
30th January 2021
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING and
Speaker: Tom Cottrell
Location: Online via ZOOM

If you are a ZOOM user, please email Cathy O'Brien (email address is on the contacts page - please note that you MUST remove blank spaces from the email addresses if you copy-and-paste them) so that she can issue an invitation to this private meeting.

Contact details are here
Gary or Cathy are also able to assist with any advance preparation.


Annual General Meeting commences 10:00h
Refreshments at 11:00h
Lecture to commence at 11:15h

Manganese mineralisation in Wales
Moel Tryfan Quarry Our 'keynote' talk is on the geology and mining of manganese ores in Wales.

Manganese is a dense, silvery transition metal with properties similar to iron. It is not found as a free element in nature but can form in a wide range of minerals with an array of colours. Like many metals its usage has changed through the centuries with the advent of new technologies.

Manganese is significant in the history of metal-mining in Wales, but is often overlooked in favour of gold, copper, lead, zinc and iron. Wales was the leading British nation in the production of manganese for steelmaking, but its history goes back much further. Substantial reserves of manganese exist in the mountains of north Wales but the grade is low and sited, as they are, within a National Park preclude any attempts to reopen mines.

Manganese deposits in Wales are mineralogically, and indeed geologically, some of the most complex of metallic mineral deposits within the British Isles. One mine stands out in this respect – Benallt, near the village of Rhiw on Pen Llŷn. Four of the eleven Type Mineral species described from Wales were discovered in the manganese deposit at Benallt, although not all of these are manganese-bearing minerals.

Tom Cotterell is Senior Curator of Mineralogy at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales where he has worked with the national mineral collection for twenty years. This presentation will cover the history, mineralogy and geology of the manganese deposits which he has studied in detail and published on for the past fifteen years.

Wednesday
24th February 2021
The Great Orme:
The Life and Death of a Carbonate Platform During a Pivotal Change in Climate
Speaker: Dr Lucy Manifold
Location: Online presentation via ZOOM.
To commence at 19:00h, joining from 18:45h

The Great Orme is an iconic headland located in Llandudno. As well as boasting natural beauty and unusual goats, the Orme forms an important puzzle piece on building the unique story of Lower Carboniferous carbonate platform growth and demise across North Wales and the North West of England.

The deposition of these limestones occurred during a momentous climatic transition from greenhouse to icehouse.

This talk will first examine the characteristics of the strata which were deposited during a period where there were no ice sheets on the planet. Such beds are often inferred to be deposited in a cyclical pattern, but is this really the case? As the Gondwanan ice sheet grew with the changing global climate, conditions for carbonate platform growth became increasingly poor. The climate was cooling, but what was the ultimate cause of platform demise?

The Association's fifth online presentation, is presented by Dr Lucy Manifold of Robertson CGG.
If you are a ZOOM user, please email Cathy O'Brien (email address is on the contacts page - please note that you MUST remove blank spaces from the email addresses if you copy-and-paste them) so that she can issue an invitation to this private conference.

Contact details are here
Gary or Cathy are also able to assist with any advance preparation.

Wednesday
7th April 2021
A History of Quicklime and Cement
Speaker: Dr Peter del Strother
Location: Online presentation via ZOOM.
To commence at 19:00h, joining from 18:45h

The global cement market is worth around 350 billion USD and is one of the the principal indices of economic activity, being one of the key consumable components of construction in its broadest sense. The material that we take for granted was developed in the 19th century by an englishman trying to improve the performance of hydraulic limes, based upon technology well known in Roman times. Versatile concrete could be cast in moulds as a synthetic stone, and the technique was taken up by an early-adopter to make the famous, life-sized dinosaur models in Crystal Place.

Peter will describe the principles of manufacture of limes and cement and their development and uses since Roman times, including some historic photographs and several short 1930s films including stone-breaking by hand at a quarry face and operation of a lime kiln. I am sure that many of you will be familiar with some of the buildings he will use for illustration. He has set a puzzle in the image here. Where is it (clue, not far from the Offa's Dyke path) ?

The Association's fifth online presentation, is presented by Dr Peter del Strother, from the University of Manchester's School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment. Peter is an author with a particular interest in the Ribblesdale area of Lancashire and its cement works, and geo-conservation.

If you are a ZOOM user, please email Cathy O'Brien (email address is on the contacts page - please note that you MUST remove blank spaces from the email addresses if you copy-and-paste them) so that she can issue an invitation to this private conference.

Contact details are here
Gary or Cathy are also able to assist with any advance preparation.

Wednesday
4th August 2021
Battery minerals and the Circular Economy
Speaker: Professor Alan Butcher
Location: Online presentation via ZOOM.
To commence at 19:00h, joining from 18:45h

This talk is designed for those who want to learn more about how minerals will drive the green energy economy of the future. Without minerals we would have no batteries, wind turbines, solar panels, or any kind of high-tech commodities.

But how minerals occur in nature, how their physical and chemical properties are valued commercially, and even how we can efficiently extract them, is information not readily available in one place. This presentation combines the geology, mineralogy, mineral processing and geometallurgy of minerals required specifically for batteries.

Recycling of batteries will also discussed and the how the Circular Economy is supposed to work, but in reality is actually not that circular, nor an economy, but future solutions will be introduced.

Our sixth online presentation is given by Alan Butcher, Research Professor in Geomaterials & Applied Mineralogy at the Geological Survey of Finland. Alan has long held an active interest in economic geology and the petrology of ores and mineral deposits, after discovering Platinum group elements in the layered gabbros of Rum in the Hebrides. He has held teaching positions at the Camborne School of Mines and Exeter University and was Chief Scientist at Intellection Pty in Australia with special interest in development and application of automated petrography by the QEMSCAN instrument.

If you are a ZOOM user, please email Cathy O'Brien (email address is on the contacts page - please note that you MUST remove blank spaces from the email addresses if you copy-and-paste them) so that she can issue an invitation to this private conference.

Contact details are here
Gary or Cathy are also able to assist with any advance preparation.


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