Geology from your Sofa

The Geologists’ Association may not be able to invite you to attend lectures and field trips at the moment, but we are looking at ways for you to still enjoy geology, virtually through online courses and field trips using the links below

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Latest Additions updated 31st July 2020

YouTube and Podcast Lectures:

GA July live-stream vLecture – The Weird and Wonderful World of Sedimentology given by Dr Jon Noad now available to view.

TED ( Technology, Entertainment and Design) has a series of lectures we think are worth mentoning:
What is the Anthropocene?
Humanity’s increasingly permanent mark on the planet has spurred a new geological age in earth’s history: the Anthropocene. Learn how we got to this point — and what our footprint means to the future of the planet.
Palaeontologist Kenneth Lacovara describes discovering Dreadnoughtus, a 77-million-year-old sauropod, and discusses how dinosaur huntng encourages humans to contemplate their place in deep time.

Angus Miller will be having a break from his excellent Lockdown Lectures on Scottish Geology during August. If you would like any of previous talks repeated or have suggestions for new topics contact

More YouTube and Podcast Lectures

Online Courses:

The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) will be running an introductory course on:
Volcanoes and Tectonics – Understanding Earth’s Explosive Nature starting November WEA courses are very popular so GYFS suggests early booking for this course.

OpenLearn (Open University) are offering a free course on:
Geological processes in the British Isles
The landscape of the British Isles has undergone dramatic changes, from shallow sea to desert and glaciers, gaining insight into the geological evolution of the entire planet.

The OU Virtual Microscope has amazing resources including:
Virtual Microscope user guide – an excellent introduction to this tool
in Place which shows the distribution of rocks on a World map
in Time which groups different rock types by geologic age
in Focus which allows a search based on terms such as mineral names

More Online Courses

Virtual Field trips:

The Yorkshire Geological Society use Google Earth for an extremely informative and fascinating virtual tour of Widdop Moor Geology and Poetry Walk. Other tours are being prepared so do re-visit the website.

More Virtual Field trips


For younger (and older) people:
Every rock has a story’ told by Ethan Baxter, a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Boston College who is passionate about rocks and minerals and sharing the stories they hold. GFYS particularly enjoyed:
Lava – the fascinating story of a piece of lava collected on Hawaii

More GeoFun

Free geology lectures and podcasts

Good news! GA lectures restarted after lockdown with the Halstead Lecture given by Kevin Wong (2019 prize winner) and the first GA virtual vLecture was successfully given by Dr Jon Noad live from Canada over Zoom.

Geologists’ Association Student Symposium 2020
Whilst the GA cannot host GASS2020 as planned today we think it appropriate to celebrate past events by sharing some of the outstanding talks that went on to win prizes at GASS2019 -17, as well as Iain Stewart’s Keynote lecture from 2018. Click here to view. If you haven’t already seen this GASS2020 has been replaced with three outstanding talks given by GASS prize winners between 2017-2019 and Iain Stewart’s Keynote lecture from 2018. You can view these talks on YouTube. GASS will be back on Friday 14 May 2021.

The Geological Society
A range of YouTube topics covered by the public lectures from 2019 and previous years. Included the superb Plate Tectonic Stories Competition performed by the Royal Ballet School Year 9, (13-14 year old students) and ‘Quicquid sub terra est’ – Whatever is under the Earth.

Manchester Geological Association
The Manchester Geological Association are holding a series of online lectures: Peter del Strother will conduct a virtual field trip of Crummack Dale on 26 August. Please register for these talks by contacting the Association at

2020 MSG RiP Virtual Meeting
hosted by the Metamorphic Study Group, a special interest group of the Geological Society of London and the Mineralogical Society on the 27th and 28th May. The meeting will focus on the newest exciting developments in Metamorphic Geology.

Natural History Museum
Nature Live Online delivers live talks with NHM scientists on Tuesdays at 12.00 and Fridays at 10.30 am (BST). It is possible to ask questions in real-time during the talk by going to the video on YouTube and typing your question into the chat box.

  • Volcanoes – 10:30 on the 12th June covering causes of volcanic eruptions, reasons for volcanic locations and eruption prediction.

Once aired, you can rewatch talks on NHM’s Nature Live playlist on YouTube. These include:

  • Back to the Future – How fossils can help predict the future
  • Is water on Mars? – Scientists have found exciting evidence for liquid water on Mars. What does this mean for the search for life there?

The NHM also has great resources for the younger geologist. See our new GeoFun section for details.

Nick Zentner – Nick From Home
Join Nick Zentner in the last of his series of seventy-five YouTube ‘Nick From Home‘ Livestreams given from his home in Ellensburg, Washington: Livestream #75 Craters of the Moon which discusses Idaho’s ‘Craters of the Moon’ National Monument. If you missed the series, you might also enjoy his: Livestream #73 Oregon Geology during which Nick talks to Oregon geologists Marli Miller, Carrie Gordon, and Ellen Bishop

University of Oxford
A series of podcasts recorded between 2010 and 2016 are available, covering subjects ranging from Hot stuff, how volcanoes work to Understanding fracking for shale gas.GFYS particularly liked the lecture on The Biogeography of Madagascar: A Gondwanan island, by Dr MaM Friedman which looks at the evoluNon of the unique flora and fauna of Madagascar and how these are linked to the geological history of the island.

Oxford Geoheritage Virtual Conference
hosted by Oxford University Museum of Natural History looks like being a fascinating series of talks. The conference will take place each day 25-29 May between 14:00 and 17:00 including a short break. There will be opportunities to ask questions. Following this excellent event, an extended talk by Dr Jack Mathews (a member of the organising committee) entitled Don’t walk on the rocks! explores the increasingly important field of geoconservation.

The Royal Ballet School
For something a little different, Year 9 students at The Royal Ballet School can be watched taking part in a Plate Tectonic Stories Competition.

The Scottish Geology Trust
has a very comprehensive website with some superb Online Resources (you are asked to consider giving a small donation to the Trust). These include stepping back in time with Geowalks explaining the geological highlights of Islay, Jura and Colonsay by Angus Miller.

The GeoModels
Provide access to a wide variety of sandbox modelling of common and the not so common geological and geomorphological features. GFYS recommends –

Liam Herringshaw has an extensive FossilHub website. The most recent post is Chalking with Dinosaurs, part 4 which was a live event during GeoWeek 2020. There is information about the rocks and fossils of Jurassic North Yorkshire, descriptions of some of the fossil footprints that have been found there, and ,using some pavement chalk on Dr Herringshaw’s driveway, an explanation how to make and interrupt your own dinosaur trackways.

Where on Earth do you live?
Dr Anjana Khatwa, also known as Jurassicgirl, has produced a YouTube series Where on Earth do you live? :Slough is the first talk which explores the heritage and geological stories of Jurrasicgirl’s hometown. There are some interesting revelations about what lies beneath the houses of this busy and urban town.

Geology lectures available for a small fee:

by Angus Miller is offering live on-line talks using Zoom.
The lectures series is due to end in late April but Angus is offering to repeat earlier lectures if there is sufficient demand. To access these talks & more email:

  • Geology of the Northern Isles – Friday 24 April @ 4pm
    examining the Shetland and Orkney archipelagos, and their unique geology and geomorphology.
  • City of Fire: the volcanic history of Edinburgh – Sunday 26 April @ 7pm

Warwickshire Geological Conservation Group
Fracked or Fiction? – May 13 Zoom Talk, by Martin Carruthers.
This lecture is free to members of the WGCS, and £2 for non-member visitors and guests. The WGCS also provide links to Angus Miller’s Lockdown Lectures

Online Courses

Class Central’s aim is to make online education work for everyone. Through this portal you can find courses; review courses you’ve taken (and read other people’s reviews); follow universities, subjects and courses to receive personalised updates; and also plan and track your learning. One course from the Delft Institute of Technology that caught our eye was:

City Lit
provides adult education and are offering an introductory short online course entitled:

  • Exploring rocks, minerals and fossils – 2 sessions over 2 weeks starting on 28/06/20 led Charles Clarke (MSc in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology from UCL) who will also explain the geology of some of the building stones used in London.Various pricing levels are available.

operates in a similar way to FutureLearn but courses are available for longer periods.

  • Our Earth is a course designed by the University of Manchester and involves examining how the air, water, land, and life formed and how they have interacted over the last 4.5 billion years.

Earth Learning Idea
Combining the formidable experience and knowledge of Chris King, Peter Kennett and Elizabeth Devon, Earth Learning Ideas provides a wealth of teaching ideas. Some of these provide an excellent opportunity to refresh and develop your geological skills, such as the Virtual Rock Kit which guides you through a variety of rocks, including thin sections and outcrops. There are also some fun activity for children – see our new GeoFun section for details.

partners a number of universities and other organisations to offer excellent online courses and degrees  Most of the courses are free with extra benefits are unlocked for a fee. Earth science related courses can be found by clicking on the Subjects, the selecting Science, Engineering & Maths.  This will bring up a selection of topic boxes including Earth Science. Examples of current courses include:

  • Atmospheric Chemistry: Planets and Life Beyond Earth
    A short two-week course exploring the extraordinary world of atmospheric chemistry. It covers the planetary atmospheres of our solar system and beyond, and considers the possibility of life beyond Earth.
  • Beneath the Blue
    This course investigates the importance of the seafloor and introduces ocean science and the importance of marine sediment.
  • Causes of Climate Change
    Learn about the physical processes of global climate variation in order to understand the causes of climate change. N.B. It is possible to join this course after the start date.
  • Exploring Our Ocean
    This course looks at the half of the world which is covered by deep ocean, and how humans affect these areas.
  • Extreme Geological Events– start anytime with free access for 5 weeks. Discover how such events have shaped Earth and the challenges of future events.
  • MoonsThis six-week course explores the many moons of the Solar System. Find out what makes each moon special and the probability of sending humans returning to our Moon.
  • Soils: Introducing the World Beneath Our Feet – 4 week course (available now) given by Carly Stevens from Lancaster University, introduces soil science, life in the soil, why it is so important and threats to soil. There will be some hands-on activities to give you practical experience of assessing soil properties and conditions. As usual the course is free with benefits unlocked for a small fee.

aspires to connect students world-wide to the skills they need to succeed & offers:

  • Geology: Earth Science for Everyone – a crash-course in geology! It covers basic but intriguing topics such the beginnings of the Earth, James Hutton and unconformities, including a virtual field trip, and some of Kelvin’s theories. The course is free but a fee is payable for question and answer facilities and a completion certificate.

Virtual field trips

The Aberdeen Geological Society
have some excellent field excursions available. Highly recommended is the short trip to:
Pennan, by N.H. Trewin which visits an unconformity in the Old Red Sandstone.

The Cambridge Geological Society
have produced some excellent leaflets giving details of walks around Cambridgeshire Geosites. Details of these walks can be found under the Fen Edge Trial and additional information about the area’s landscape and geology.

Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre
A superb way to explore the varied geology of Cumbria. The link leads to a map of the county with red and green pins marking geological sites. Clicking on the pins accesses basic information but many sites also include data sheets and information leaflets – enough for hours of geology.

The Devonshire Association
includes a geology section. The history, interests and the importance of Devon’s geology by Malcolm Hart has recently been added. This provides a tour of some of Devon’s most significant geology, considers aspects of climate change and people who explored and recorded Devon’s geology.

The Harrow & Hillingdon Geological Society
is busy preparing downloadable guides to describe their local geology. The Building Stones Guide to Pinner is the first guide available & is well worth a look.

London Geodiversity Partnership
follow the drop-down menu under Publications and click on Information Boards and Leaflets. This provides a fascinating insight into the geology of some important London locations including Highgate Woods.

has an amazing number of geological resources available including many virtual field trips. The GFYS team especially enjoyed learning about:

The Mole Valley Geological Society
share a presentation given by one of their members:

Mow Cop Quarry and Tramways.
which consists of a short video of an expedition under the southern end of Mow Cop quarry, following the former tramway line with some interesting additional information about the millstones from Mow Cop also available.

The South Wales Group
produces its own publications to cater for a range of geological ability. These include country-wide field guides, geological booklets and guided walks leaflets to local areas of interest. Some walks are available in English and Welsh, and are well described and illustrated. The GFYS team particularly enjoyed the Porthcawl (English version) and Porthcawl (Welsh Version). We also can recommend the walk to the Head of the Clydach Gorge.
is maintained by Dr Roger Suthren. It includes regional geology tours of NE England and many areas of Europe. A recent addition is:

  • the geology of the Eastern French Pyrenees & foreland basin which provides further information on the localities described in the article ‘Classic localities explained: The Eastern French Pyrenees from Mountain Belt to Foreland Basin’ by Dorothy Satterfield, Hugh Rollinson and Roger Suthren, published in Geology Today (available at discount to GA members).

VR Glaciers and Glaciated Landscapes!
Dr Des McDougal from the University of Worcester, has put together a superb series of virtual field trips based on Switzerland, The Lake District and California which look glaciers and glaciated landscapes. The field trips enable you to move around the landscapes and zoom in on specific features, such as evidence for the Little Ice Age or talus.

Yorkshire Geological Society
Join Paul Hildreth from the Yorkshire Geological Society for the first of four virtual geology field trips around Flamborough Head, east Yorkshire: Flamborough Head VGFT 1v2 examines the exposures at Speeton and Bempton Cliffs.

Nick Zentner
has developed a very comprehensive website of USA based field trips, two-minute video clips and geologically themed helicopter flights. A huge range of field trips, talks, two-minute clips and helicopter flights. Some have sub titles. For example, the Columns of the Giants, California is an interesting expedition with some clear and detailed explanations.


Brighton & Hove Museums
Brighton & Hove Museums have an excellent investigation into The Evolution of Birds which includes colouring and matching activities.

Earth Learning Idea
If you know anyone who is home educating their children at the moment, do look at the extensive collection of Children’s Fun Activities.

Fun Kids (iTunes)
include Geology Rocks, which explores the Earth Sciences through a series of short podcasts. These include:

GA Magazine Crosswords – Win a GA Guide of your choice!
If you are interested in crosswords with a geological theme then six back issues of the GA Magazine include puzzles. Just look out for the crossword symbol. A seventh puzzle was planned but unfortunately the clues were lost! So we thought it might be fun to have a competition whereby you can suggest what the clues might have been. The winner will be the first person to send us a complete set of geologically themed clues – the more imaginative the better! The solutions can be found here. Happy puzzling!

Dr Anjana Khatwa Jurassicgirl and MiniJurassicgirldiscover how to make rocks out of sweets. Tempting and tasty but possibly not good for teeth!

The Lapworth Museum of Geology
have some excellent ideas for primary school teachers and home educators at Activities to Try at Home. These include

The Lyme Regis Museum has an imaginative MAKE & DO section on their website. Do take a look as there are ideas for making an ammonite out of cardboard, paper straws and old magazines, or a plesiosaur out of a paper plate.

Mole Valley Geological Society have put together the first two of the MVGS Geo Quizzes, with more to follow. A good test of your knowledge!

The Museum of Wales gives younger children the chance to unearth a dinosaur fossil, discover the size of Tyrannosaurus rex’s feet and explore what dinosaurs liked to eat

The Natural History Museum
For home-educators, the NHM have some wonderful ideas at Try this at home. Including Dippy on tour resources for Dino fans ages 4-7. Try out – Activity 13: Walk like a dinosaur – make your own dinosaur feet

Saffron Walden Museum has been putting online games and activities relating to their collections. One challenge is a fossil jigsaw where it is possible to change the number of pieces to make it harder or easier and when you complete the puzzle you get a report on how long it took you!

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