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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GFYS is still seeking to share your most enjoyable sofa geology items with visitors at the Virtual Festival of Geology (vFoG) on 7 November 2020.
We want to make sure all visitors to our virtual stand appreciate what a fantastic wealth of information can be found online, & enjoyed from your sofa.
Please let firstname.lastname@example.org know what GFYS features you most enjoyed.
Latest Additions updated 25th September 2020
YouTube and Podcast Lectures:
Hydrocarbon exploration is a risky business (Part 2). Friday 2nd October at 6 pm. Nick Pierpoint’s talk will consider points raised in his informative 2019 Presidential address and apply these to a well control incident in the Nile Delta. Non-members of the Geologists’ Association welcome, please contact the G.A. Secretary: email@example.com
Geoscience Australia hosts public talks for a range of audiences. A selection of these are filmed and are available online. GFYS selected and highly recommends the following fascinating talk from the 2020 series:
What goes up must come down: Why is Australia sinking?
Anna Riddell from the University of Tasmania uses some of her PhD research to discuss the apparent sinking of the Australian continent. Understanding how the surface of the earth changes has many important applications and this talk explores how the Australian plate is moving and what that means for applications of precise positioning.
More YouTube and Podcast Lectures
Coursera envision a world where anyone, anywhere can transform their life by accessing the world’s best learning experience. One of their many free courses is provided by the University of Manchester – Our Earth: It’s climate, History and Processes – 4 week course starting 5 October. This is an introductory course covering the formation of and the place of water in the Earth’s climate system, the evolution of solid Earth, and the effect of life on Earth’s climate.
Figshare is a repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner. Whilst GFYS think this repository an excellent resource we thought it only fair to warn you that some of the files you may wish to download are quite large.
Basin Analysis by Christopher Jackson from Imperial College examines and explains structural style, seismic expression, and petroleum systems as part of the ‘Basin Analysis – Structural style, seismic expression, and petroleum systems’ module of the MSc Petroleum Geoscience at Imperial College.
More Online Courses
Virtual Field trips:
Geology Society of Glasgow has a new field trip to North Islay led by David Webster who looks at some of the best stromatolites in the world, exposed on the north coast of Islay and other fantastic geology of this remote and hard-to-get-to location. For more information about Islay visit the Geology of Islay website.
The National Park Service in the US has, through the USGS (US Geological Survey) some amazing virtual tours. Check out the
Colorado River Raft Tour: this is a superbly photographed downstream geological tour along the Colorado river as it passes through the Grand Canyon.
More Virtual Field trips
Discover with the Natural History Museum:
How to make a volcano provides a guide to making a fun but messy exploding volcano model, probably best ‘exploded’ outside if possible. This link also contains a lot of information about different types of volcanoes.
USGS (US Geological Survey) shows us how to Make a nautiloid model this looks great fun! Make and paint a model nautiloid – printing the outline on thin card is advised.
Free geology lectures and podcasts
BBC People of Science with Professor Brian Cox
Professor Richard Fortey talks to Professor Brian Cox about Charles Lyell, whose work on geological time provided credibility to Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
is an independent source of news and views, sourced from the academic
and research community and delivered direct to the public. GFYS was
excited to read that researchers from Brighton, Bournemouth, Reading and
UCL universities and English Heritage have used geochemical techniques
to examine the sarsen stones at Stonehenge.
• A brief but informative account by the researchers is available here.
Edinburgh University is now the custodian of one of the greatest bodies of scientific observation from the 19th century. The Sir Charles Lyell Collection was purchased following enormous national and international support and consists, amongst other things, of 294 geological notebooks all of which can now be viewed online.
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.
On Friday 11th September at 18:00 Professor Simon F. Mitchell from The University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica will talk on Comparing the flints of the Upper Cretaceous of England with the cherts/flints from the Eocene-Miocene White Limestone of Jamaica. Non-members of the Geologists’ Association should contact the G.A. Secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
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 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 Society of Popular Astronomy (SPA) hosts an excellent lecture on:
• Rovers and landers on Marsgiven by Susanne Schwenzer, of the Open University, about NASA’s Curiosity Rover investigations of the surface of Mars.
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.
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.
UKFall – The UK Fireball Alliance
• UKFall: recovering the UK’s next meteorite
GFYS found this YouTube seminar by this newly affiliated group fascinating. Dr Ashley King and Dr Luke Daly discuss some of the activities of UKFall, which is a collaboration of the UK’s meteor camera networks and aims to recover freshly-fallen meteorites in the UK.
University of Cape Town (UTC) runs a Summer School each year & we found an interesting YouTube lecture from their Summer School 2019 on:
• Geological superlatives in Africa
John Rogers discuses Geological Adventures in the Fairest Cape. This first of a five-lecture series is a superb talk on the geology of the Western Cape, particularly the Cape Peninsula.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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
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:
- Antarctica: From Geology to Human History – a self-paced 5 week course
- in which Dr. Rebecca Priestley and Dr. Cliff Atkins explore more than 500 million years of Antarctica’s geological history and 250 years of geographical discovery and scientific endeavour.
- Geoscience – the Earth and its resources – self-paced, start anytime. A six week course covering a wide range of geological topics.
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.
- Global Resource Politics: the Past, Present and Future of Oil, Gas and Shale – 6 weeks (now available) with extra benefits unlocked for a small fee given by Younkyoo Kim, Professor at the Hanyang University, South Korea. This course is available now and includes an overview of current global energy politics, the US shale revolution, energy security and geopolitics.
- Moons – This 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.
The Open University 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
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.
Open University OpenLearn
Life in the Palaeozoic – 12 hours of study
at an Introductory level which includes the Cambrian explosion, trilobites of the Ordovician seas and the Devonian Period, when vertebrates first moved onto land.
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.
University of Iceland has a free online course available now, offered through edX
• Monitoring Volcanoes and Magma Movements
This informative course covers a wide range of topics including magma movements in volcanoes, how these can be inferred from ground based and satellite monitoring techniques and volcano deformation models.
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.
Virtual field trips
The Abberley and Malvern Geopark
• The Les Morris Trail is a new route through the Geopark in memory of Les Morris, a founding member of the Geopark. This trail makes the geology of the Geopark accessible to everyone by using visits to stone-built walls.
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.
- geology and tectonic evolution of the Nanga Parbat area of the Himalayas, by Rob Butler;
- Geology of the Katrina Disaster in New Orleans, by Stephen A. Nelson of Tulane University.
The Mole Valley Geological Society
share a presentation given by one of their members:
- Explore the concept of Deep Time Earth’s 4.6 Billion years history through a rail journey by Jim Harvey
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.
Northumberland Coast AONB have two excellent field trips and GFYS liked the excellent explanations in the boxes in red text.
• The Igneous Underground – the Whin Sill at Bamburgh
Explores the geology of the Whin Sill on a short walk from Bamburgh to the lighthouse at Stag Rock.
• Storm and stress – Howick to Cullernose
Cliffs and reefs displays a diverse range of rocks which tell stories of molten rock, earthquakes and tempests.
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.
- 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.
The Yorkshire Geological Society also 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.
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.
For younger children (5-7) BBC Teach offers free classroom resources to schools throughout the UK & we thought this YouTube video was worth a watch
• Hunting for fossils along the Jurassic Coast. William Whiskerson visits Lyme Regis to meet a fossil expert and to learn how fossils were formed.
The Cleveland Ironstone Museum
For older children (7 -13) – Enjoy a virtual visit to the seafront at Skinningrove and explore some of the local geology and mine related features, including possible Ichthyosaur ‘sick’!
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 Hawai
- Blue Green Algae And Stromolites
where children can join Finley as he travels back three billion years to see the earliest stages of photosynthesis;
- Earth’s History – Creation Earth
another adventure in which Finley finds out how and when the universe was created.
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!
- making a simple erupting volcano
- colouring in sheets of a Dimorphodon
- dinosaurs fighting
- mineral wordsearch.
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.
Mindat.org is the world’s largest open database of minerals, rocks and meteorites. The Rocks and Minerals of Minecraft – Minecraft fans can find out how similar the Minecraft resources are to real rocks and minerals.
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!