Geology from your Sofa
This issue explores the
Next issue – the Carboniferous
Please send us (firstname.lastname@example.org) your ideas for content!
Latest Additions updated 21st January 2022
YouTube and Podcast Lectures:
Geologists’ Association (GA) February Zoom Lecture is on:
• Pushing back the boundaries of early life – Friday 4 February 18:00 (GMT)
given by Dr Martin Homann (UCL, London)
More details about this vlecture will be available soon.
Non-GA members should contact the GA Secretary (email@example.com) for details.
BBC Sounds In Our Time discusses
• The Late Devonian Mass Extinction
originally broadcast on BBC R4 on 11 March 2021, Melvyn Bragg and guests, Mike Benton, David Bond and Jessica Whiteside discuss the disappearance of up to 70 % of species roughly 370 million years ago at the end of The Age of Fishes, and the range of possible causes.
The Backpacker’s Guide to Prehistory has a series of Podcasts on YouTube which gives top travel tips for time travellers. A highly enjoyable & informative series which covers:
• The Devonian
David Mountain travels back to the Devonian period, 419-359 million years ago. In this weird world of giant fungi and armour-plated fish, what creatures should you look out for? Where should you pitch your tent? And should you really take a dip in Devonian waters? Providing the answers are two Devonian experts: Dr Sandy Hetherington, a palaeobotanist at the University of Edinburgh, and Dr Alice Clement, a palaeontologist at Flinders University.
Palaeocast is a YouTube series exploring the fossil record and evolution of life on earth. GYFS found a fascinating talk on:
• Rooted in Earth history: the Devonian transition to a forested planet
presented by Christopher M. Berry, William E. Stein, Peter Giesen, John E. A. Marshall and Honghe Xu which was recorded at the 59th Annual Meeting of the Palaeontological Association, Cardiff, in 2016.
Dr Walter Jahn (Orange County Community College, New York State) has a YouTube channel of biology videos he uses in the classes he teaches on Anatomy & Physiology, Prehistoric Life, Genetics, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, & Bio for Today. GFYS recommends this video on:
• Pteraspis: a jawless fish from the Devonian
Dr Jahn discusses the morphology of this early fish.
More YouTube and Podcast Lectures
Online Courses (not the Silurian!):
FutureLearn has a free course on:
• A Beginner’s Guide to Environmental Science: Wicked Problems and Possible Solutions – 4 x 4hrs/wk, available now
Environmental issues affect every human being, and are a truly global concern. This four-week course, presented by Central Queensland University, gives a comprehensive introduction not only to the current problems and threats to the environment but also to possible solutions and effective environmental management.
More Online Courses
Virtual Field trips:
Iowa PBS (Iowa’s state wide public broadcasting network) has an extensive YouTube Channel that aims to educate, educates, enlightens, and entertains Iowans throughout the state. Flood waters revealed an amazing:
• Devonian Fossil Gorge
An introductory visit that inspires a visit to eastern Iowa’s Devonian Fossil Gorge near the Coralville Dam.
At the other end of the YouTube spectrum GFYS found godevonian, a modest YouTube channel and (athough the sound quality is not brilliant) GFYS thought the following video gives an interesting perspective on field work:
• Gilboa fossil forest Devonian age, New York State
Watch the palaeobotanical work at Riverside Quarry, Gilboa, New York State, on the famous Gilboa fossil forest, the ‘world’s oldest forest’. The quarry floor was visible for a few short weeks in June 2010 during work on the Gilboa Dam, which is a long way upstream. The resulting scientific study, by William Stein, Chris Berry, Linda VanAller Hernick and Frank Mannolini was published on March 1st 2012 in Nature. Sound quality iOS not great
Geology Johnson a YouTube Channel belonging to Dr Brooke Johnson (University of Oxford) explores the:
• Secrets of Geology When Was Wales Tropical?!
Join the Oxford University Earth Sciences 1st Year undergraduates on their field trip to Pembrokeshire 2019. On day one, Dr Johnson explains some of the features of the Silurian and Devonian rocks of Marloes Sands.
More Virtual Field trips
Free geology lectures and podcasts
BBC: A Perfect Planet BBC is available now on iPlayer, the first episode of this David Attenborough narrated series is:
• Volcano and looks at how, without volcanoes, there would be no life on Earth. Although destructive, magma from the planet’s molten core builds land, and mineral-rich ash from eruptions fertilises the surface. The scenery is stunning.
The BBC’s In Our Time has a YouTube Channel & GFYS think the following episode first broadcast on 22 October 2009 is worth revisiting:
• S12/06 The Geological Formation of Britain
Melvyn Bragg and guests Richard Corfield, Jane Francis and Sanjeev Gupta discuss the geological formation of Britain. Around 600 million years ago Britain was in two parts, far to the south of the Equator. Scotland and north-western Ireland were part of a continent (Laurentia) what is now North America. To the south-east, near the Antarctic Circle, meanwhile, were southern Ireland, England and Wales. They formed a mini-continent (Avalonia) with what is now Newfoundland. Over the course of hundreds of millions of years, as they inched their way north, the two parts came together. The story of how Britain came to be where it is now, in its current shape – from the separation of North America and Europe to the carving out of the English Channel – is still being uncovered today.
BBC Radio 4 In Our Time podcast on:
• The Late Devonian Extinction – broadcast on 11 Mar 2021 & available to listen again this podcast, highly recommended by GFYS, features Melvyn Bragg and guests Dr Jessica Whiteside, Professors David Bond and Mike Benton discussing the devastating mass extinctions of the Late Devonian Period, roughly 370 million years ago, when around 70 percent of species disappeared. Scientists are still trying to establish exactly what happened, when and why.
Part of the BBC’s First Life series:
• Cambrian Explosion – First Life with David Attenborough
David Attenborough visits the Columbian Ice Field, Mistaken Point, Newfoundland and the Ediacara Hills, South Australia as he explains the development of early life forms.
GA Member Caz Donovan recommends a 5 episode podcast on BBC Sounds entitled Geochemical Life on Earth – thanks Caz.
• Episode 3: A series of unfortunate events
covers the five main mass extinction events, including the end of Ordovician.
• Insects and ice ages: interview with Dr Stefan Engels
In this short podcast, Dr Stefan Engels from Birkbeck’s Department of Geography discusses his field of palaeoclimatology, focussing on abrupt climate change during and following the last ice age as seen through the eyes of insects.
The Black County Geological Society have two Silurian themed lectures on their YouTube Channel:
•Silurian Rocks of the Dingle Peninsula
given by Ken Higgs, Emeritus Professor of Geology, University College Cork on Tuesday 16 March 2021. Professor Ken Higgs has undertaken extensive studies of the geology of the Dingle Peninsula and published the ‘Geology of the Dingle Peninsula’ by the Geological Survey of Ireland. This talk will describe the Dingle Peninsula’s dramatic 485-million-year history of environmental and climatic change.
•Saltwells and Wren’s Nest – Dudley’s SSSIs for Geology
On Monday 16 November 2020, Alan Preece, Warden of Saltwells and Ian Beech, Warden of Wrens Nest gave the Society members and guests a View from the Wardens of these two important geological sites both now recognised as national gems.Saltwells has been designated Dudley’s second geological National Nature Reserve joining the first ever geological National Nature Reserve, Wren’s Nest.
Bucks Geology Group have scheduled two Zoom talks to be given by Graham Hickman. The first is:
- Geology and Hydrology of Burnham Beeches – Wednesday January 13 16.00 (GMT)
This talk will describe the origin of the gravels, clays and chalk underlying Burnham Beeches and how the geology dictates the location of springs and the streams where they disappear into sink holes. The talk can be followed-up with an excellent downloadable self-guided tour.
If you are not a member please request the link via firstname.lastname@example.org. To avoid talks being over-subscribed, please do not share the link.
Cambridgeshire Geological Society host a Zoom lecture on
- ‘Remote Monitoring of an Urban Mud Volcano’ – Monday 11 January 19.00 (GMT)
given by Dr Andrew Hart, Chief Engineering Geomorphologist (Atkins)GFYS thought this presentation looks interesting, providing an overview of the ongoing eruption of a mud volcano in the Sidoarjo regency of East Java, Indonesia and how it has developed since 2006. It will highlight how the use of remote sensing mapping techniques has allowed the risks posed by the eruption to be monitored over an extended period of time in an innovative but cost-effective manner, as well as the importance of field verification in such work.
Please contact Cambridgeshire GeolSoc in advance to register your interest.
Cape Breton University, Nova Scotia, Canada:
•Ordovician and Silurian
Geology Instructor, Jason Loxton introduces the fabulous marine world of the Ordovician and Silurian… and the first of the world five great mass extinctions. There is special emphasis on the tectonic evolution of Nova Scotia and eastern North America.
Channel presents an:
• Introduction to Iceland Geology – available now given by Stuart Blake (LochRanza Field Centre).
Stuart discusses the topography and geology of Iceland as well as predicting the Geldingadalur volcanic eruption. Highly recommended by GFYS & why not supplement this with the live feed of the volcano courtesy of the The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service – Ríkisútvarpið, or RÚV for short
• Live from Geldingadalir volcano, Iceland
Complexity Explorer (an educational project from the Santa Fe Institute) delivers online courses, tutorials, and resources essential to the study of complex systems GFYS thought this YouTube video is a useful lecture in its own right:
• Origins of Life: Evolution – Origins of Eukaryotes
Professor David Baum, University of Wisconsin, examines the chemical, geological, physical, and biological principles that give an insight into origins of life research. In this fairly advanced talk, He looks at the chemical and geological environment of early Earth from the perspective of likely environments for life to originate.
If you are interested in investigating the course that this video is a part of click here.
The Conversation 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.
Cornell College, Iowa has produced an interesting YouTube video on the:
• Burgess Shale
This educational (non-profit) video was produced by Professor Drew Muscente for the Historical Geology course at Cornell College. It includes excellent photos of Charles Walcott and his family during the their expeditions to the Rocky Mountains.
• Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event
this educational, and fascinating, You Tube video was produced by Prof. Drew Muscente for the Historical Geology Course that we featured last month.
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.
English Riviera Geopark has a YouTube Channel featuring the
- Geopark in Focus consisting of seven interviews exploring different aspects of the Geopark. GFYS especially recommends the following episodes:
- Episode 1: Fossils and Deep time – Professor Iain Stewart talks with Mike Benton, Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at University of Bristol, and Dr Kevin Page, geoscience and geodiversity specialist and Honorary Associate at the University of Exeter. They take us on a journey through deep time from when the Geopark was bathed in tropical seas south of the equator hundreds of millions of years ago, explaining what the rocks can tell us about Earth’s history.
- Episode 2: Caves – Why are the caves of The English Riviera so internationally important? Professor Iain Stewart is joined by Nick Powe, whose family have run Kents Cavern, Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Dr. Donald McFarlane of Claremont McKenna College California, and cave conservationist Tara Beacroft, discussing their shared passion for caves and how they help us to learn about Earth’s heritage and the history of humanity.
- Episode 5: Past Climate and Sea Level Change – Professor Iain Stewart is joined by Dr Jenny Bennett, who chairs the Geology section at the Devonshire Association, and Malcolm Hart, Emeritus Professor at the University of Plymouth and Chair of the Geoscientific committee of the Geopark, to explore how past climate and sea level change has left its mark on the Geopark area, the causes of these changes and implications for the future.
University of Exeter has a ExeTalks YouTube Playlist, your chance to discover some of the fascinating research undertaken at the University of Exeter. GFYS recommend:
• Dr Robin Shail, Geology
Dr Robin Shail, a geologist at the University of Exeter’s Camborne School of Mines talks about the resources and geology of South West England. He explains why the South West is a great place to study geology due to the continent to continent collision and plate tectonic activity which occurred 250-300 million years ago. He discusses how the prevalence of granite in the South West is now driving new green energy solutions using deep geo-thermal energy.
Friends of Imperial College YouTube channel has an Environmental Playlist which includes:
• What ancient climates tell us about our future on Earth
presented by Professor Martin Siegert, Co-director of the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London. Data gathered in the geological record inform us about CO2 concentrations on earth and their links to sea levels. How is the data gathered? Is it reliable? What will it tell us about our future? Professor Siegert covered this and more…
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 10 July. For the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown all the GA lectures are freely available to view here.
Geologists’ Association Student Symposium 2021
The GA Student Symposium (GASS) took place over 20 & 21 May 2021 and Presentations and Keynotes are now available to view to presenters, delegates and GA Members here.
Geologists’ Association (GA) virtual Festival of Geology (vFoG) – Saturday 6 November
Don’t miss out, you can still explore much of the content all free until the end of the year.
Geologists’ Association South Wales Group
• Mary Anning: monsters, myths and misfortunes – available now
Tom Sharpe, a long standing member of the South Wales Group has kindly agreed to his highly informative lecture being recorded and it will be available on the website for the next few months.
N.B. You can catch up with the Natural History Museum appeal fund for the Mary Anning statue in Lyme Regis here.
• Coming out from the shadow of the dinosaurs: a new look at the first mammals
In case you missed this fascinating talk, this is the link to Dr. Pam Gill talking about research on early mammals, some of which are from South Wales.
The Geological Society
Has made a range of Public Lectures from 2019 and previous years available. Including the superb:
The Geological Society (GSL) is hosting another virtual lecture as part of 2021 Year of Space on:
• The Geology of Mars
which explore the landscapes and rocks of Mars with planetary geologist, Dr Matt Balme (Open University). The Martian Rovers explore the fascinating inverted river channels, the ice-regolith glaciers, and eskers of the planet.
Oliver Strimpel, a former astrophysicist and museum director, asks leading researchers to divulge what they have discovered and how they did this, podcast conversations include what moves the continents, creates mountains, swallows up the sea floor, makes volcanoes erupt, triggers earthquakes, and imprints ancient climates into the rocks? So far, GFYS have listened to and highly recommend:
• Clare Warren on Divining the History of a Rock.
• Mission to the Martian Moon Photos
Tomo Usui is leading the science team for the 2024 Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s mission to Phobos, which will land, collect samples, and return them to Earth in 2029. In this latest podcast, he talks about the ejecta from Mars that are expected to be present in the sample as these will be our first-ever non-meteoritic Martian samples.
•Reconstructing Plate Motions Over a Billion Years of Earth History
given by Professor Dietmar Müller. Professor Müller and his team built GPlates, a powerful software tool enabling researchers to synthesise diverse sets of geological data into a self-consistent reconstruction of the Earth’s tectonic history. In February 2021, his team published an animated billion-year plate reconstruction, which has had an enormous impact on the public.
• Whether the Earth is Cooling Downgiven by Prof. Claude Jaupar
The Earth is losing heat. Claude Jaupart has measured the heat flowing up through the top layers of the crust by making measurements down hundreds of boreholes. But the Earth also continues to generate heat through radioactive decay of elements such as potassium, uranium and thorium
• Steve D’Hondt on Reviving a 100-Million-Year-Old Bacterial Colony
How long can living cells survive in buried sediments? It turns out that bacteria, at least, can survive for at least 100 million years in sediments below the sea floor with barely any access to food. Had they been alive and reproducing all that time, or were they in suspended animation in a kind of hibernation? Steve D’Hondt (Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island) explains how any plausible explanation pushes the boundaries of what we previously believed about how long cells can survive.
• Paul Hoffman on the Snowball Earth Hypothesis
Paul Hoffman is Emeritus Professor of Geology at Harvard University. His research on the sedimentary rocks of Namibia revealed compelling evidence of glaciation at sea level in the tropics about 650 million years ago. In this podcast he explains what convinced him that the Earth was almost completely glaciated twice in its history.
Geology Bites offers you a podcast from:
• Richard Fortey on the Trilobite Chronometer
Richard Fortey is formerly head of arthropod palaeontology at the Natural History Museum in London and is visiting professor of paleobiology at Oxford University. He has devoted much of his research career to the study of trilobites — their systematics, evolution, and modes of life — and has named numerous trilobite species. In this podcast, he outlines their extraordinary 300-million-year history, from when they are first found in the Cambrian, and explains what made them such excellent markers of geological time.
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.
GeoWeek 2021 was held 1 – 9 May 2021 this year themed as ‘Net zero by 2050 – what will it mean for your region?’ the thought provoking launch event was recorded & can be viewed here, with the supporting slides accessible here.
Hull Geological Society also are hosting a Zoom lecture on
- New light on the Neanderthals: music, rope-making. and now an apparent genetic link to Coronavirus – Thursday 14 January 19.30 (GMT)
given by Professor Patrick Boylan, (City, University of London)
The Middle and Upper Pleistocene Neanderthals have generally had a bad press through the last hundred and fifty years. Until comparatively recently, Neanderthals were widely regarded and caricatured as primitive, clumsy and probably brutal, creatures. Knowledge, and more important, attitudes have changed remarkably in the last twenty years or so, through many additional discoveries and new interpretations of this hominin species.
Please book in advance by using the email details found here.
Imperial College have an interesting event that caught GFYS’ eye
- Science Breaks: How the shark lost its bones (and maybe why) – Tuesday, 19 January 12.30 (GMT)
Sharks are primordial animals, unchanged for over 400 million years of evolution—or at least that is the received wisdom. Dr Martin Brazeau (Imperial College) will explain how new fossil discoveries are challenging this view and are providing a unique window into the ancestry of vertebrate animals.
Please register in advance here
Into Eternity is a feature documentary film directed by Danish director Michael Madsen, which follows the construction of the Onkalo waste repository at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant on the island of Olkiluoto, Finland. A powerful insight into such long-term projects (160 years to build and fill).
The Lapworth Museum of Geology has a full & varied programme of free public lectures and events. These are proving very popular so GFYS recommends that you bookmark this site & visit it frequently so you don’t miss out (see Online courses below for something a little different).
Leading nicely onto the Lapworth Museum of Geology object of the month:
Plamen, a PhD student at the University of Birmingham in 2013, describes this bizarre looking fossil fish, his choice as Object of the Month from the Lapworth Museum of Geology.
Leicester Museums and Galleries has produced two interesting YouTube videos on:
• The Charnia Fossil (Part One: Charnia Discovery)A short film and interview with Roger Mason who discovered the Charnia Fossil (Charnia masoni) in Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire (UK) in 1957.
• The Charnia Fossil (Part Two: The Future of Charnia)Second part of the Charnia films about the Charnia Fossil (Charnia masoni) discovered in Leicestershire (UK) in 1957, recognised as one of the world’s oldest fossils.
There are many more interesting videos in this series entitled Dinosaur Gallery Star Objects.
The Manchester Geological Association are now holding their lectures online. Whilst you can attend these lectures, they are not available to view afterwards. Please register for these talks by contacting the Association at email@example.com. GFYS recommends you visit this site on a regular basis to make sure you don’t miss out.
Manchester University two YouTube videos on:
•Graptolites, Video 1
Dr Russell Garwood, Senior Lecturer at Manchester University introduces graptolites, and more generally hemichordates, and looks at the group’s fossil record.
•Graptolites, Video 2
Dr Russell Garwood discusses the morphology of graptolites, and the two major subdivisions.
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. Once aired, you can rewatch talks on NHM’s Nature Live playlist on YouTube. These include:
- Volcanoes – covering causes of volcanic eruptions, reasons for volcanic locations and eruption prediction.
- 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 GeoFun section for details.
Natural History Museum Lates Online have added a new video to their YouTube playlist on:
• Discovering Dinosaurs with Susie Maidment, Joe Bonsor & David Button
Scientists are using state-of-the-art technology to discover not only what dinosaurs looked like but how they moved, ate and lived millions of years ago. This edition of Lates Online explores how new technology can reveal secrets from very old bones, and includes a fun quiz.
The Nova Scotia Museum showcases some of the best examples of:
- Nova Scotia Fossils and Geology
GFYS recommends that you watch all five episodes of this YouTube series.
OpenLearn has a mini Lecture on:
• How old is a mountain range?
Dr Eleni Wood explains how the science of ‘geochronology’ can be used to effectively analyse the history of a mountain range, based on the Himalayan Mountain range during fieldwork in Bhutan.When we think about mountains, we might think about them being constant, permanent features of our landscapes. However, through geology, we know this isn’t the case. Mountains grow in the collision zones between plates over millions of years, but their presence is only transient as they are slowly eroded away again.
Oxford University Museum of Natural History have posted a YouTube video from their First Animals exhibition online:
• The Cambrian Explosion and the evolutionary origin of animals
Museum director Professor Paul Smith looks at the beginning of animal life, with particular attention to the Sirius Passet fossil site in the north of Greenland. The exceptionally preserved fossils from this site have been key in the development of the understanding of the ‘Cambrian Explosion’. Paul discusses evidence for the timing of the origin of animals, as well as the evolution of modern marine ecosystems and food webs. Prepare to journey back in time more than half a billion years…
N.B. The Museum states that this lecture may not be suitable for young children, but is suitable for adults and young people – beginners and experts welcome!
Oxford University Museum of Natural History has a large number of informative, fascinating lectures and video clips on their YouTube channel. GFYS especially enjoyed:
• Extraordinary soft-bodied fossils highlight the Cambrian explosion
The discovery of soft-bodied fossils at sites such as the Burgess Shale in Canada and Chengjiang in China have revealed that a remarkable diversity of animals evolved in the oceans more than 500 million years ago. This lecture provides a personal perspective, considering why exceptionally preserved fossils are well represented in Cambrian compared to later Palaeozoic rocks and what they tell us about the evolution of marine life.
Quantamagazine is an editorially independent online publication launched by the Simons Foundation to enhance public understanding of science. What’s Up in Q&A features The New Historian of the Smash That Made the Himalayas which includes a fascinating video on
•Plate Tectonics: The Mystery of Earth’s Many Faces
where Lucía Pérez-Díaz explores the mysteries of plate tectonics, solving the mystery of India’s sudden acceleration by showing that it didn’t really exist.
The Royal Institution Christmas lectures 2020: Planet Earth: A User’s guidebroadcast on BBC4 over the Christmas period are still available through the BBC iPlayer.
GFYS particularly liked the lecture on:
- The Biogeography of Madagascar: A Gondwanan island
by Dr MaM Friedman which looks at the evolution 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 took place between 25-29 May 2020 and the talks can now be viewed on the conferences YouTube Channel. The excellent extended talk by Dr Jack Mathews (a member of the organising committee) entitled Don’t walk on the rocks! exploring the increasingly important field of geoconservation is still available to view.
The Society of Popular Astronomy (SPA) hosts an excellent lecture on:
- Rovers and landers on Mars
given by Susanne Schwenzer, of the Open University, about NASA’s Curiosity Rover investigations of the surface of Mars.
More from the The Shear Zone
• Geology of NW Scotland an introduction
Professor Rob Butler, University of Aberdeen, gives an outline of the geology of NW Scotland, including the NW Highlands Geopark – with specific reference to the Moine Thrust Belt.
TED ( Technology, Entertainment and Design) has a series of lectures we think are worth mentioning:
- How do crystals work? from June 2019
Many crystals have signature shapes— like the cascade of pointed quartz or a pile of galena cubes. Every crystal’s atoms have a defining feature: their organised, repeating pattern. Graham Baird dives into the unique properties of crystals.
- What is the Anthropocene? from June 2016
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.
- Hunting for dinosaurs showed me our place in the universe from February 2016
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. indent for consistency
Teme Valley Geological Society (TVGS) are sharing their January talk on:
• Ice Age ponds and glacial landscapes in western Herefordshire
the talk was given by Ian Fairchild to the TVGS on the 18 January 2021, and is available on their YouTube channel. Professor Fairchild discusses lowland glacial landforms, including kettleholes and moraines, which can be seen in the Herefordshire landscape.
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 5 featuring Liam making footprints in the sands of Scarborough’s South Bay, and then hunting dinosaur footprints in the rocks of the South Cliff.
- UKFall: recovering the UK’s next meteorite
GFYS found this YouTube seminar by this recently 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.
- Geological superlatives in Africa 1
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
University of Edinburgh share their vision and progress towards the digitisation of Charles Lyell’s notebooks:
• Introducing Charles Lyell’s World Online
Lyell was widely credited with establishing geology as a popular and rigorous science. He was known internationally for his bestselling books and travels around Britain, Europe and Eastern North America. It is a life and a world recorded in detail in his extensive historic archives, which include notebooks, letters and literary works. Together they offer insights not only into Lyell’s life and work, but glimpses of his wider world.
Continue to keep up to date with the Lyell Collection via the University’s Lyell Blog or the GA Link to the Lyell Collection.
Warwickshire Geological Conservation Group (WGCG) hosts a YouTube talk on:
- The Geology of Arran
Stuart Blake of the Lochranza Field Studies Centre visits some of the best geology on Arran.
- Henry Clifton Sorby, Sheffield’s Greatest Scientist – given by Noel Worley in April 2021 Outside Sheffield, and outside geology and metallurgy the name Henry Clifton Sorby is little known and even within these circles all that is known by many is the name. This is not surprising but it is regrettable for apart from his outstanding achievements in a wide variety of scientific fields the life of the man is interesting from a number of viewpoints. (Biography, Norman Higham). Sorby’s geological accomplishments have since undergone a reprise with international scientific recognition in the fields of sedimentology, fluid inclusion geochemistry, structural geology and cosmology.
- Geological Time & The Anthropocene – given by Ian Fairchild, Emeritus Professor, (University of Birmingham) in February 2021
There is little doubt that mankind’s impact on the natural environment has increased dramatically in recent decades but … are we now living in a new epoch of geological time: the Anthropocene? Concepts from Earth System Science agree with stratigraphic markers that we went outside the range of conditions of the Holocene in the last 70 years, but does the term Anthropocene belong to geologists anyway
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.
Wolverhampton Arts & Culture YouTube Channel has an interesting item on
•Sir Roderick Murchison
Graham Worton, the curator and keeper of geology at the sadly closed Dudley Museum & Art Gallery, tells us about the famous Scottish geologist Sir Roderick Murchison.
The Yorkshire Geological Society (YGS) is currently holding lectures online. Whilst non-members can attend, these lectures are not available to view afterwards. GFYS recommends you visit the YGS site on a regular basis to make sure you don’t miss out.
- Livestream #41 – Minerals
Nick describes common rock-forming minerals and their identification using cleavage planes, hardness and other tests in an enjoyable and informative way.
- 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.
Basin Analysis by Prof. 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.
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 offers a range of online course. GFYS will spotlight courses we think may be of interest but suggest you browse this site on a regular basis.
Coursera operates in a similar way to FutureLearn but courses are available for longer periods. Coursera envision a world where anyone, anywhere can transform their life by accessing the world’s best learning experience. Courses that GFYS have spotlighted are:
- Our Earth: It’s Climate, History and Processes – 4 week course available now
This is an introductory course is a course designed by the University of Manchester 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.
- Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology – 12 lessons of 3-5hrs/week available now
Dr Philip John Currie (University of Alberta) takes this free course about non-avian dinosaurs. The course looks at anatomy, eating, locomotion, growth, environmental and behavioural adaptations, origins and extinction of the dinosaur.
- Mountains 101 – 12 week free course available now
coordinated by Professor David Hik, University of Alberta and focuses on the physical, biological, and human dimensions of mountains in Alberta, Canada, and around the world. It will include the geological origins of mountains, their importance for biodiversity and water cycles, their cultural significance and how mountains are experiencing rapid change in a warming climate. The course will be delivered from valley bottoms to mountaintops, from museums and labs, to alpine huts and other spectacular alpine sites.
- Paleontology: Ancient Marine Reptiles – 4 week free course available now
taken by Professor Michael Caldwell and Halle P. Street and provides a comprehensive overview of the evolutionary changes that occur when air-breathing terrestrial animals return to water. The course examines the diversity, adaptations, convergence, and phylogenetic relationships of extinct marine reptiles, and will explore three major groups of marine reptiles: ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and mosasaurs.
- Paleontology: Theropod Dinosaurs and the Origin of Birds – 5 week course available now
run by Dr. Phillip Currie, University of Alberta the course examines the anatomy, diversity, and evolution of theropod dinosaurs in relation to the origin of birds. Students will explore various hypotheses for the origin of flight. Watch a preview of the course here
- Seismic tomography: Look inside the Earth – 4 week course available now looks at the use of seismic tomography and its mathematical base, about earthquakes and find out how they start, and include an expedition to Kamchatka. The course is run by Dr. Ivan Koulakov
- Origins – Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth and Life – 2 hrs/wk for 4 wks available now
Offered by the University of Copenhagen, this course tracks the origin of all things – from the Big Bang to the origin of the Solar System and the Earth. This four-week course follows the evolution of life on our planet through deep geological time to present life forms, including evidence for very early life Greenland, the Cambrian explosion and Ediacara biota / Eukaryotic evolution.
- Emergence of Life – approx. 45 hrs spread over 8 wks available now led by Dr. Bruce W. Fouke (University of Illinois)
How did life emerge on Earth? How have life and Earth co-evolved through geological time? Is life elsewhere in the universe? Take a look through the 4-billion-year history of life on Earth through the lens of the modern Tree of Life!The course evaluates the entire history of life on Earth within the context of our cutting-edge understanding of the Tree of Life. This includes the pioneering work of Professor Carl Woese on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus which revolutionised our understanding with a new “Tree of Life.” The course also considers the influence of Earth system processes (meteor impacts, volcanoes, ice sheets) on shaping and structuring the Tree of Life.
- Global Arctic – 25 hrs of study spread over 4 weeks
This intermediate course introduces you the dynamics between global changes and changes in the Arctic. It aims to highlight the effects of climate change in the Polar region. In turn, it will underline the impacts of a warmer Arctic on the planet Earth. The Arctic stands both as a laboratory and a warning for human kind.
- Paleontology: Early Vertebrate Evolution – 4 wk syllabus taking approx. 7 hrs to complete & is available now
run by Dr Alison Murrey (University of Alberta) who teaches a comprehensive overview of the origin of vertebrates. You will explore the diversity of Palaeozoic lineages within a phylogenetic and evolutionary framework. This course examines the evolution of major vertebrate novelties including the origin of fins, jaws, and tetrapod limbs. You will also explore key Canadian fossil localities, including the Burgess Shale (British Columbia), Miguasha (Quebec), and Man On The Hill (Northwest Territories). Watch a preview of this free course here.
- Astrobiology: Exploring Other Worlds – 4 wk course taking approx. 14 hrs to complete & is available now
run by Prof. Chris Impey. You will explore the field of astrobiology, an emerging multidisciplinary field. The topics in this course range from the science of how exoplanets are detected, to the chemistry that supports the argument that the ingredients for life are common in the Universe. You will follow the analyses of experts in chemistry, astronomy, geology and archaeology which will enable you to identify what makes a planet habitable, and how likely it is that life exists there.
is the trusted platform for education and learning. Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is home to more than 20 million learners, the majority of top-ranked universities in the world and industry-leading companies. As a global nonprofit, edX is transforming traditional education, removing the barriers of cost, location and access. Courses that GFYS have spotlight are
- Earthquake Seismology – 12 weeks of 8-12/week available now
T Aldo Zollo, Professor of Geophysics and Seismology (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II) leads this free course and explores the processes that cause earthquakes and the methods used by seismologists to analyse seismograms, to measure source parameters, and to simulate the seismic wave impact at the Earth’s surface.
- Watershed Systems and Their Influence on Water Movement and Quality – 4 weeks @ 12-15 hrs per weeks available now
Dr Geoffrey Hall (Queen’s University) takes this free course which includes the consideration of the influence of geology and soils on water quality and quantity.
- Monitoring Volcanoes and Magma Movements – available now
This informative course, delivered by the University of Iceland, 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 History of Ancient Environments, Climate, and Life – 6 week course available now.
led by Dr Kristin Bergmann, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A survey of Earth’s early history of life and environments through a combination of classroom lecture and virtual field trips to Northern Minnesota, Svalbard, Norway, and the Death Valley area. At these key sites, you will be able to explore the interactions between Earth’s early environments and ancient life.
- Climate Change: Carbon Capture and Storage – 2-3 hrs/wk for 5 wks; starting Wednesday 31 March
which explores the technology that can provide a long-term solution to protect our atmosphere from an excess of carbon dioxide, in the context of global energy, our use of fossil fuels, and climate change and Geological Carbon Storage.
- Minerals and Mining in a Sustainable World – 8 weeks @ 4-5 hrs/week available now
led by Dr Elaine Wightman, Senior Research Fellow at The University of QueenslandThis highly topical course is free, self-paced, and explores the role of minerals in society and their contribution to sustainable development. You will investigate the current issues and challenges, understand the importance of environmental social and governance (ESG) aspects of mining operations and find out about new frameworks and policies for resource developments in the 21st century.
Further information and an introductory video are available here.
- Monitoring Volcanoes and Magma Movements – 3-5 hrs/wk for 8 weeks
This free course gives an introduction to volcano monitoring techniques, magma movements and volcano unrest and presents some aspects of why volcanoes are dangerous and volcanic hazards. It will use examples of monitoring data and interpretations from recent eruptions and periods of volcanic unrest in Iceland and around the world, including the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull that closed Europe’s airspace.
- Phase equilibrium modelling: Approaches & Pitfalls – 5 x 3.5hr video workshops
The aim of this e-workshop was to present and discuss (1) the most commonly-used phase equilibrium modelling software packages currently available (THERMOCALC, Perple-X, Theriak-Domino), focusing on their capabilities and pros/cons, and (2) the factors influencing the interpretation of phase equilibrium modelling, including thermodynamic database/a-X models, uncertainties, reactive bulk composition, and the interplay between equilibrium and kinetics.
- Reservoir Geomechanics – 3 to 6 hrs/wk for 10 weeks
This interdisciplinary course encompasses the fields of rock mechanics, structural geology, earthquake seismology and petroleum engineering to address a wide range of geomechanical problems that arise during the exploitation of oil and gas reservoirs. Some pre-knowledge is required. This free course is scheduled to be archived shortly.
- Dinosaur Ecosystems – 6 weeks of 1-2 hrs per wk
Tutors from the University of Hong Kong explains how palaeontologists reconstruct ancient ecosystems using fossil and modern evidence. There is also the opportunity to find out about the late Cretaceous dinosaur ecosystem and dinosaur biology.
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. Courses that GFYS have spotlight are:
- Atmospheric Chemistry: Planets and Life Beyond Earth available now
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.
- Exploring Our Ocean available now
This course looks at the half of the world which is covered by deep ocean, and how humans affect these areas.
- 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.
- Moons – 8 week course starting Monday 15 February
Discover the amazing diversity of moons in our Solar System. This online course will allow you to explore the rich diversity of moons in our Solar System. With experts from The Open University, you’ll explore the fundamental processes that have shaped them, and the relationship between our Moon and the Earth.
- Life on Mars, Earth and Beyond – 15 x 3hr sessions available now for 7-day free trial but due to length of course it might cost £36
if you take all modules Dr Louisa Preston an astrobiologist, planetary geologist, author, and UK Space Agency Aurora Research Fellow takes you through this ‘ExpertTrack’ course during which you will learn about –
• What makes the Earth so special, and why ‘habitable’ doesn’t always mean ‘inhabited’
• The formation of the Earth and the history of life on the blue planet
• Our neighbouring planet, Mars
• Icy Moons and Exoplanets
• The Future of Life
- Extinctions: Past and Present
Dip into this free course to find the reasons behind the Ordovician mass extinction. Extinctions: Past and Present was created by the University of Cape Town, and filmed on location at South Africa’s Iziko Museum, West Coast Fossil Park, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and the Table Mountain National Park. It is presented by Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan.
GA Zoom talk/workshop on:
•The Wealdon (Smokejacks) – available to view in GA Members area
led by Peter Austen and Ed JarzembowskiThis popular annual Wealden field trip takes the form of a Zoom talk/workshop and starts with a virtual tour of the Smokejacks clay pit, describing the geological contexts and environment in the Lower Cretaceous when these sediments were deposited.If you missed this excellent workshop, the highlights included a virtual tour of the Smokejacks clay pit, followed by looking at some of the fossil finds, starting with the discovery of dinosaur Baryonyx in 1983.
The Goldschmidt 2021 Virtual Workshop on
•Advanced Geochemical Modelling – available free of charge
given by Dr. Peng Lu & Prof. Chen Zhu
Geochemical modeling is a powerful tool, which has wide applications in geology, hydrogeology, environmental sciences and engineering, and petroleum geology. Recently, new databases, functions, code enhancements, and utilities associated with the computer programs Supcrtbl (Zimmer et al., 2016) and Phreeqc (Parkhurst and Appelo, 2013) have greatly expanded the applicability ranges of these modeling tools.Please note you will need to register to access the recording.
OpenLearn are offering a course on:
• Geological processes in the British Isles
The landscape of the British Isles has undergone dramatic changes during the history of the Earth, from shallow sea to desert to the familiar terrain of the 21st century. In this free course, Geological processes in the British Isles, you will explore the processes that have shaped the British landscape over time, gaining insight into the geological evolution of the entire planet.
• Geological time – 7 short podcasts lasting a total of 30 mins
This free course is mainly about the interpretation of geological maps and the relationship between the landscape and underlying rocks. It reveals how the geological history of any area can be interpreted from a geological map. Dr Andrew Bell visits Morecambe Bay and the ‘special’ Siccar Point to investigate the rocks and stones in the area.
Note – this is an older but very informative short course offered by Open Learn. So comes with a warning that some of the information provided may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate, and any views or opinions expressed may no longer be relevant.
• Earthquakes – 8 hrs of study
Earthquakes shake the ground surface, can cause buildings to collapse, disrupt transport and services, and cause fires. They can trigger landslides and tsunami. In this free introductory course, Earthquakes, you will look at why, where and what happens when they occur and also at how earthquakes are assessed qualitatively and quantitatively.
Open University OpenLearn
Lis a free learning platform, delivered by The Open University as part of its Royal Charter commitment to support the wellbeing of the community. GFYS will spotlight courses we think may be of interest but suggest you browse this site on a regular basis.
- An introduction to geology – available now in this free introductory course you will be introduced to some key geological processes that impact everyday life, as you discover the link between volcanoes and your mobile phone, and find out why tiny marine wildlife is at the core of the plastics industry.
- Geological processes in the British Isles – 9 hr course available now. The landscape of the British Isles has undergone dramatic changes during the history of the Earth, from shallow sea to desert to the familiar terrain of the 21st century. In this free course, you will explore the processes that have shaped the British landscape over time, gaining insight into the geological evolution of the entire planet.
- Minerals and the crystalline state – 10 hrs of study available now
Rocks are made of minerals and, as minerals are natural crystals, the geological world is mostly a crystalline world. Many large-scale geological processes, such as the movement of continents and the metamorphism of large volumes of rock during mountain building, represent the culmination of microscopic processes occurring inside minerals.
- Mountain building in Scotland – 30 hrs of study given in 9 modules; available now an account of the origin and demise of that ancient mountain range, based on the geological evidence in rock exposures. Some of Britain’s most dramatic scenery is found in the Scottish Highlands. Although these landforms were largely carved by glacial activity that ended some 10,000 years ago, the rocks themselves tell of a much older history. The Highlands are merely eroded stumps of a much higher range of ancient mountains.
aspires to connect students world-wide to the skills they need to succeed & offers:
- Geology: Earth Science for Everyone – available now
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.
The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) has been providing high-quality educational opportunities to communities since 1903. Today, their vision is “A better world – equal, democratic and just; through adult education the WEA challenges and inspires individuals, communities and society”. GFYS will spotlight courses we think may be of interest but suggest you browse this site on a regular basis.
The WEA continues its course on Volcanoes & Earth quakes with:
• Volcanoes & Earthquakes: Part Two – 5 x 1.5hr sessions on Mondays 14:30 (GMT) from 10 January to 07 February
In the second part of this interactive online course you will discover the causes and effects of historic volcanoes and earthquakes form around the world. Bev Fowlston will take you on a journey around the world exploring the landscapes, geology and hazards of these fascinating natural wonders. No experience required, although if you know a little geology that would help.
The fee is £24.00 and you can enrol now.
• Rocks and Fossils Workshop – 1 x 3 hr session Saturday 27 November 10.30 (GMT)
Join Bev Fowlston, an enthusiastic Earth Scientist, and discover rocks and fossils. Learn how to identify some basic rocks and fossils through specimens and samples. Bring along your own collection for identification in this fun interactive session.
The workshop costs £13.50 and registration is available now.
WEA courses are very popular so book early.
Virtual field trips
•Ancient Manitoba – Ordovician Life 450 Million Years Ago
Produced by Sarah Sobry, a teacher in Canada, for her online classroom. Life in Manitoba was vastly different 450 million years ago when Manitoba was covered by a warm, shallow inland sea. Fossils found in Ordovician limestone – called Tyndall Stone – reveal an underwater world where ancient animals thrived until the first great mass extinction of complex life on earth.
All videos were taken at the Manitoba Museum Geology and Paleontology exhibits. These no longer appear to be available through the Museum website.
Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy (ASFC) provides conservation and stewardship for natural open space and provide free environmental education programs for the Arroyos and foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. GFYS particularly liked:
•Geology: AFC Virtual Field Trip
Discover the geology of the Rosemont Preserve, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the northern part of Los Angeles County, with USGS Geophysicist Doug Given and AFC Advisor Rich Toyon.
- Pennan, by N.H. Trewin which visits an unconformity in the Old Red Sandstone.
- 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.
ABC Science, an arm of the Australian Broadcasting Company aims to help you understand how science affects our lives. They post videos about the human body and mind, space and the natural world. This week their post caught GFYS’s attention:
• Geologists explain why Tasmania is different
It has always been thought that Tasmania is different, and now geology can explain why. New discoveries from Tasmania’s oldest rocks at Rocky Cape reveal that about 1.5 billion years ago Tasmania was not part of Australia, but wedged between two other continents. The geology of north-western Tasmania may have more to do with North America and Antarctica than it does with the rest of the Australian mainland.
- Streetcar 2 Subduction is a collection of geological field trips to some of the world-class geological sites of the San Francisco Bay area. Although designed to be live field trips using a phone and the Google Earth App, the trips can also be explored at home. All are superb with detailed descriptions and located photographs. GFYS especially recommends the Hayward Fault at Central Park trip.
The Bampton Heritage Centre has posted a new YouTube video entitled:
•Bampton’s journey through deep time
This is the geological story of Bampton, Devon, as told by the local building stones. Hugh Saxby has created a walk for Heritage Centre visitors and the general public to enjoy, with wider appeal for anyone interested in Devon’s geology.
The Berkshire Geoconservation Group have complied an excellent illustrated walk across the North Wessex Downs ANOB to include chalk scenery, clay-with flints, sarsen stones and local building materials.
British Geological Survey has a short but informative virtual field trip to
•Siccar Point – the birthplace of modern geology
is on the southeast coast of Scotland & world-renowned in geological science, famous for outcrops that reveal ‘Hutton’s Unconformity’, and is a location rightly regarded by many as the birthplace of modern geology.
Join Professor Iain Stewart at one of The Most Important Geological Site in the World as he talks about Siccar Point, on the Berwickshire coast of Scotland to visiting students from Glasgow University’s Geoscience Summer School.
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.
This is a virtual field trip guide exploring the volcanic history and evidence of mass wasting at:
• Sentinel Peak, Tucson, Arizona
collect ‘virtual’ evidence, and decide if Sentinel Peak is a volcano!
Coastal Norway geology
An informative short video exploring the bedrock geology and glacial erosion of one of Norway’s small rocky islands or skerries.
within the videos listed on Shawn Willsey’s YouTube Channel. Shawn is a geology professor at the College of Southern Idaho & this Channel has many other interesting video on Idaho & wider US geology.
The Department of Geological Sciences at Cornell University bring you:
Galapagos Geology on the web
For those interested in natural history, there are few places quite as fascinating as the Galapagos. Charles Darwin was the first geologist to explore the Galapagos. He made many important observations of Galapagos geology and drew conclusions that remain valid today.
Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre
A superb way to explore the varied geology of Cumbria. The Cumbria Geoconservation homepage 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 geological sofa-surfing!
The Devonshire Association
includes a geology section where 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.
Ecton Mine Educational Trust
The Ecton mine is an underground SSSI and the Ecton Mine Educational Trust promotes education in applied geology, mining and mineral extraction. The Trust has produced three videos in which Dr Ralf Halama and Dr Stuart Egan of Keele University have integrated materials relating to Ecton Mine into undergraduate and post-graduate teaching. GFYS recommends that you start with the geological setting.
Exploring the Earth is a YouTube Channel created by Dr. Stephanie Sykora who is an exploration geologist. The Channel contains some fascinating geology and GFYS would particularly recommend:
Whilst the unprecedented preservation of the Inca culture’s architectural icon is usually the reason to visit, there is geological evidence underpinning to this lost city. This video is about the rocks that make the famous stones of Machu Picchu, and the geologically unstable faults that bound the city ruins. Plus, mention of other spectacular Inca sites that are definitely worth the visit while in the Cusco and Lima area of Peru.
GA South Wales Group have put together six suggested locations for a weekend visit to Pembrokeshire as their contribution to vFoG. Locations include Abereiddi Bay and the Blue Lagoon (Ordovician shales and graptolites) and West Angle Bay (some spectacular folds and thrusts).
Geocenter Denmark is a formalised cooperation between four partners; Department of Geoscience at Aarhus University, The Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management (IGN) and Natural History Museum of Denmark.
The Goecenter Danmark has a dedicated YouTube Channel Underground Geocenter Denmark Channel featuring:
•The Ordovician climate paradox – searching for earliest evidence of an ice age
Long believed to have been an integral part of an Early Palaeozoic super-greenhouse, Ordovician climate has in recent years undergone a remarkable revision. Thus, it now appears that a much cooler climate prevailed throughout most of the period. Here, a team of palaeontologists set out to search for the earliest fossil and geochemical evidence for an Ordovician icehouse on the Swedish island of Öland.
GEOCOAST aims to broadcast educational videos about Ireland’s coastal and marine environments with particular focus on coastal geology and geomorphology. Initiated in 2012 check out:
•Loughshinny, north Dublin, Ireland
Dr David Chew, Trinity College, Belfast, explains the dramatic folding and other features in this short YouTube video.
Geoexpro is an interdisciplinary magazine and online publication which explains, clarifies and discusses geoscience and technology in an easy-to-read manner, allowing busy professionals to rapidly catch up on industry developments within the disciplines of Geology, Geophysics and Reservoir Engineering. GFYS found a number of fascinating trips under GeoTourism and recommend:
• The Red Rocks of South Pembrokeshire
The rocks which form the beautiful cliffs and beaches of south Pembrokeshire give a snapshot into the Variscan Orogen of south-west Wales. Professor Brian Williams and Dr Gareth George explain that Pembrokeshire is unique in the British Isles in that its fully exposed, magnificent cliff coastline transects two orogenic fold belts; the Caledonian and Variscan. These preserve rock sequences ranging in age from Neoproterozoic to Late Carboniferous, spanning a time period of some 250 Ma.
Also in the PreCambrian take a look at:
• The Geology of Newborough, Anglesey
Dr Paul Anderson gives a fascinating account of some of the geological secrets of the late PreCambrian rocks of the Gwna Group at Llanddwyn Beach/Island (Newborough), Anglesey.
Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) is part of the Earth Sciences Sector of Natural Resources Canada and has an Earth Science section on their website which features, amongst other content:
•Where Terranes Collide: The Geology of Western Canada
This YouTube video is about the geology and the geologists of the Canadian Cordillera and covers the current concepts concerning the origin of the mountains of western Canada and the geologists and geoscientists who work among them.
Exploring the Earth is a YouTube Channel created by Dr. Stephanie Sykora who is an exploration geologist. The Channel contains some fascinating geology and GFYS would particularly recommend:
• The Andes, Volcanoes and Copper Mines of Chile!
Which gives a brief overview of the Andes mountain range, the active volcanic arc of eastern Chile and the largest copper mines in the world such as Rio Blanco and Chuquicamata.
The GSL is hosting an exhibition in its Burlington House Courtyard as part of 2021 Year of Space, for those of you ready to venture beyond your sofa, entitled:
• Spacescapes: Postcards from our solar system – 20 August to 8 October, everyday from 9:00 – 18:00 (BST)
Visit the Perseverance rover on Mars, impact craters on the Moon, mountains on Pluto and storms on Jupiter in this free, outdoor exhibition.
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.
Geology Virtual Trips
is a teaching site, created by Dr. Ed Marintsch and has some superb
photographs and asks a few challenging questions. GFYS especially liked –
– the dinosaur footprints (Texas Dinosaur Valley State Park),
– the Sunset Volcano National Volcanic Monument, a tall cinder cone volcano,
– the Teton Fault and the Gros Ventre slide (Grand Teton National Park).
GeoLancashire has produced this impressive geological trail guide: The White Coppice Trail Guide. This twenty-page guide explores the geological features visible along Dean Brook at White Coppice, Chorley. It will be of interest to anyone wishing to find out more about the gritstone rocks, lead mining and quarrying of this exquisite part of the West Pennines Moors.
Geo Virtual Field Trips allow you to explore the fascinating and spectacular world of various geomorphological landscapes. Look all around and zoom-in on features of interest and observe how the landscape changes from one location to the next. GFYS particularly enjoyed exploring:
•Rhodes with Professor Niki Evelpidou (University of Athens), Andreas Tsokos and Dionysios Goutis (Geology and Minerals Hellenic Survey).
Based on Google Earth, this field trip looks at the Quaternary evolution of Rhodes Island and focuses on the coastal evolution, relative sea level changes, tectonic history and palaeoseismicity of Rhodes Island.
Associated with a paper from Nature take a look at the:
• Gentle giants of the Cambrian
More than 500 million years ago in the Cambrian period there was an explosion of animal life. The top predators were from a group called the Anomalocarids, the largest animals of their day. But now, a new fossil suggests that not all the Anomalocarids were the fearsome killing machines scientists once thought. At least one, it seems, evolved into a gentle giant.
The Harrow & Hillingdon Geological Society (HHGS)
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.
The Harrow & Hillingdon Geological Society (HHGS) have taken their annual Uxbridge Rock Show Online this year. GFYS wanted to recognise the huge effort that goes into hosting a show like this. The content supports the National Curriculum but also provides Earth Science for everyone, this Rock Show includes interviews, quizzes, interactive content, the rock cycle, fossils and dinosaurs, florescent minerals and geology in art and industry. Start your virtual tour here.
Herefordshire and Worcestershire Earth Heritage Trust have produced a number of Projects – Leading developments in Geoconservation for exploring geology, although intended for use in the field, can be used from the ’sofa’.
Hertfordshire Geological Society (HGS) produced four excellent vTours that they produced for the GA’s 2020 virtual Festival of Geology. These are now available to view on their website and on their YouTube channel.
Letchworth State Park within the vast area of NY State Parks takes you on a virtual field trip: Geology led by Elijah Kruger who takes you along part of the Genesee River where it roars through the gorge and plunges over three major waterfalls between cliffs.
Make a virtual visit with Little Frank to:
• The incredible geology of the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland
Little Frank’s YouTube Nature Playlist covers many other locations that he has travelled to around the world, impressive visuals, accompanied by music.
and then go on a field trip with Nick Zentner via his Nick on the rocks YouTube Channel to discover how such geological features formed.
• Columns of Basalt Lava
The Giant’s Causeway, located in County Antrim, on the Northeast coast of Northern Ireland, is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven and eight sides. The tallest are about 12 metres high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres thick in places.
Nick looks at the spectacular rock columns in the deserts of eastern Washington, and asks how do these stone pillars form? How old are they?
Travel through time and landscapes with more than twenty Lochaber Geopark interpretation boards. Follow the Rock Routes to visit all the boards which explain how the magnificent scenery reflects the dramatic geological history of the surrounding area. Click here for a map of Lochaber with tabs that shows geological layers.
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.
The Lyme Regis Fossil and Earth Science Festival was held over the weekend 10/11 July. If you missed it, there are lots of interesting talks, field trips and activities still available in their Library. GFYS enjoyed particularly enjoyed:
•Virtual Geological Field Trip to Burton Bradstock with Vincent Sheppard
This is a fantastic event & GFYS is looking forward to a physical festival in Lyme next year.
- Where the Earth rips apart! The volcanoes of the East African Rift Valley
Kevin Wong, PhD student at the University of Leeds (GASS 2019 presentation winner & presenter of the first GA virtual Halstead Lecture), visits the Corbetti and other volcanoes in the Rift Valley. It has some excellent explanations and scenery.
- 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 Societyshare 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 courtesy of the Manchester Geology Society.
National Geographic has a self guided, virtual tour exploring the world’s largest cave Son Doong in Vietnam. The tour has some stunning high-resolution photos that you can navigate around, with supporting information at each location.
- Colorado River Raft Tour: this is a superbly photographed downstream geological tour along the Colorado river as it passes through the Grand Canyon.
National Trust Wales has a short virtual field trip to
- Cwm Idwal, Snowdonia which includes some spectacular scenery and explains ways of looking after the geological glacial landscape.
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.
Offaly County Council in Ireland shares the:
• Geology of Offaly – The Silurian Period in Offaly, Ireland, by Dr John FeehanThis video is part of a series of five videos by John Feehan made to accompany The Geology of Laois and Offaly published by Offaly County Council in 2013.
In OneMinuteGeology (OMG) Professor David Dobson has put together a selection of excellent short videos of the geology you might see when out walking or climbing. GFYS has picked out two about the Lewisian Gneiss:
• Durness 3.5-Billion-year-old Lewisian Gneiss
Some of the oldest rocks in the world are exposed in the North-West of Scotland. Here we see 3.5-billion-year-old Lewisian gneiss as Sango Bay, Durness.
• Two billion years of geology in one road cutting
Just outside Laxford on the A838 is the road cutting known to geologists around the World as the Multi-Coloured Rock Stop. Here you can see fresh exposures of Lewisian Gneiss cut by successive dyke intrusions of Scourie basalt and Laxfordian granites.
The OpenLearn YouTube Channel has a wealth of video content which you can easily lose yourself in. Well worth viewing is the 5 part Geological Landforms: Dorset and the Isle of Skye Playlist. GFYS recommends starting with Part 1:
•Rock Types on The Isle of Skye
Dr Iain Gilmour uses geological maps to explain the types of rock found on The Island of Skye and talks about the different levels of erosion and weathering these rocks go through.
Another field trip from Out There Learning in New Zealand on:
• Erosion and Sedimentation of Taranaki Volcano
Taranaki Volcano stands isolated above its own ring plain on the western side of New Zealand’s North Island. It is made of layers of hard lava with soft ash sandwiched in between. This makes for a very unstable mountain where erosion is exacerbated by frequent severe weather conditions:
The Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain (PESGB) takes you to:
- North Cornwall (UK) Geological Field-trip, June 2016 to look at the fantastic geological structures along the North Cornish coast with Jeremy Daines. It includes some spectacular geology at Hartland Quay, Millook Haven and Bude.
Rotunda Museum Scarborough has a self-guided:
• Rotunda Museum Virtual Tour
which includes the Ancient Seas of the Yorkshire Coast display. You will be able to see the fascinating collection of fossils and specially commissioned reconstructions of what marine life was like millions of years ago.
The Rocks Rivers & Bones YouTube Channel is dedicated to geologic tours of northern New Mexico. Videos posted here are a joint collaboration between Javier Sernas (camera-video) and Kirt Kempter (just rocks). So far a 6 part tour of the Valles Caldera has been posted. GFYS recommends starting with:
• Valles Caldera Geology Tour (Part 1 of 6): Introduction
The Valles Caldera is the world’s type example of a resurgent caldera. This virtual field trip with Dr Kirt Kempter explores the rocks and landforms that tell the story of the caldera eruption – and some of the volcanic history of the Jemez Mountains.
The Royal Ontario Museum takes you for:
• A Swim Through a Cambrian Sea
This is a compilation from the wonderful computer animation/simulations of the extinct Precambrian sea creatures of the Burgess Shale by the Royal Ontario Museum. The original animation appears to be no longer available.
The Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow takes you on:
• A guided excursion round the geology of Islay
The island of Islay is a treasure trove of geological sites. There are visits the ‘Billion Year Gap’, look through a window at the basement underlying most of the Grampian Highlands, signs of Snowball Earth, and the best evidence in the British Isles of Precambrian life. Plus, the occasional diversion to mineral sites and whisky distilleries.
David Webster, has a degree in geology from Oxford University, an MSc from Stockholm, and worked for many years in the oil industry.
The Shear Zone, educational videos on geology is a YouTube channel developed by Professor Rob Butler from the University of Aberdeen and contains a wealth of video content. GFYS has picked out a few to view but do explore this fantastic Channel for yourself.
•Tectonic Topics featuring
– How strong are plates
which looks at the geological landscape of Wester Ross, NW Scotland
•Scottish Geology featuring
– Sketching Slioch exploring the unconformity at the base of the Torridon Group onto the Lewisian basement
•Seismic interpretation full of practical advice, for example
– Expression of faults on seismic profiles
looking at how faults are expressed in seismic images, and strategies for their interpretation
Shetland Amenity Trust strives to preserve and enhance everything that is distinctive about Shetland’s cultural and natural heritage. They have produced 6 leaflets including introductions in Discover why Shetland Rocks! and Find out more about Shetland’s geology, with more detail in each of the regional guides. The leaflets include excellent details and maps, photographs and grid references.
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.
Byron Machin has produced a comprehensive YouTube Playlist entitled Stories in Stone, A Landscape History got the Peak District. An early edition is:
•Peak District 02 Geology
Byron has produced an informative and interesting account of the geology of the Peak District, using some dramatic paths and filming.
From Out There Learning in New Zealand GFYS found:
• Where to explore the Wellington Fault
Julian Thomson, of GNS Science, shows you where you can take a closer look at the Wellington Fault, which runs along the Hutt Valley and right through Aotearoa, New Zealand’s Capital City. This is a densely populated area, making this one of New Zealand’s highest risk geological faults. That’s why a lot of research is ongoing to better understand the likelihood of a rupture of the fault and what that would mean for the area. This video shows you where you can actually see the Wellington Fault up close, starting from the top of Wainui Hill, with further points of interest in California and Totara Parks, (Upper Hutt), followed by Mains Rock, Hutt Road, Thorndon and Wright’s Hill.
Dr Paul Anderson (University of Birmingham) is a geologist sharing some experiences from teaching and field work. Check out his YouTube video on
•The Geology of Newborough, Anglesey
and learn some of the geological secrets of the rocks of the Gwna Group at Llanddwyn Beach/Island (Newborough), Anglesey.
Prof. Niki Evelpidou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Faculty of Geology and Geoenvironment has a YouTube Channel which including an interesting field trip presentation on:
• Boulder deposits on SE coast of Cyprus – relation with palaeotsunami events on Eastern Mediterranean
Using maps, accounts and a video clip, this interesting vfield trip uses evidence, including accumulations of boulders, to look at the evidence for past tsunami events.
University College London (UCL) Earth Sciences department has produced a number of Virtual Field Trips. All are worth a visit but GFYS particularly liked:
which introduces some basic field skills, granitic rocks and minerals, and metosomatic reactions. You can visit Cligga Head and Rinsey Cove and examine vertical and very shallow-dipping intrusive contacts in granite as well as seeing how granite is emplaced into the country rock by the process of stoping. There is lots to of excellent information here and chances to revise your skills before this summer’s field trips.
If you are short on time then University College, London has the answer with:
• Cornwall Speed Geology
Watch this ‘Speed Geology’ video of a first year Field Class at Kynance Cove and Coverack Cove, South West England.
University of South Australia takes us to Hallett Cove Conservation Park, South Australia and shows us how to make a geological map. Dr Tom Raimondo discusses the major rock types and their structural features, and explains how to use a geological compass. The site has spectacular folds at Black Cliff.
Urweltmuseum Hauff in Holzmaden (Hauff Museum of the Prehistoric World) in Germany has a virtual tour of the museum led by Dr Dean Lomax. The museum has one of the greatest fossil collections in the world. All of the fossils, ranging from ammonites to ichthyosaurs with skin, have been found locally, by the Hauff family.
- 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 the November/December 2019 Geology Today (available at discount to GA members).
Voyages in Deep Time Project is an App to encourage people to visit and enjoy learning about their local rocks and landscapes that tell us what our part of the world was like millions of years ago – in deep time! This amazing App includes field trips, voyages, information about palaeoenvironments, ancient life and drone filming. GFYS particularly enjoyed visiting:
- El Hierro in the Canary Islands to examine the volcanics, and
- Wye Valley 1 (a second trip is also available) to look at the lithology and palaeoenvironments
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, Helvellyn Range (English) 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.
WGCG take you to:
• The Hidden Wonders of Burton Dassett
Enjoy this short video exploring Burton Dassett Hills Country Park, which is a much loved place to spend recreation time. Walkers, cyclists and family groups with a picnic can enjoy the panoramic views and the sheltered hollows for playing and relaxing. Many are unaware of the industrial heritage and geological record that can be seen all around.
Westmorland Geological Society have recently added another Geotrail to their website:
• Kendal Limestone Geotrail
Richard Wrigley illustrates a selection of beautifully photographed Carboniferous Limestone outcrops west of Kendal which are accessible on walks from Kendal town centre.
- Flamborough Head VGFT 1v2 examines the exposures at Speeton and Bempton Cliffs.
The 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.
GFYS has also found some fascinating YouTube content for you to enjoy:
• Geological fieldwork, east Greenland, summer 2014 posted by Gijs Henstra (University of Bergen):
Geologists from different universities in Norway undertook an expedition to Wollaston Forland, East Greenland, in the summer of 2014. The objective was to map and study coarse-grained sediments that were deposited at the bottom of the sea that developed when Norway and Greenland were rifting apart, some 150 million years ago.
• Out There Learning is a YouTube Channel exploring New Zealand, especially the geology of Aotearoa created by Julian Thomson, a science communicator. GFYS particularly enjoyed:
– The Spectacular Rocks of Mataikona
At Mataikona, near Castlepoint on the Wairarapa Coast, New Zealand, there are rock strata that have been tilted and eroded to form long straight lines along the sea shore. These were formed as turbidites (submarine mudflows) about 20 million years ago that were deposited repeatedly over thousands of years.
– Oamaru’s Undersea Volcano
Oamaru in New Zealand’s South Island is a wonderland of nature with its quirky town, abundant marine life and rugged coastal geology. The cliffs on the headland around Boatman’s Harbour have world class examples of volcanic rocks such as pillow lavas. They were erupted underwater by an undersea volcano 30 to 35 million years ago.
has developed a very comprehensive YouTube Channel of USA based field trips, including 2-minute Geology with Tom Foster and geologically themed helicopter flights, Nick on the Fly Field Videos. Some have sub titles.
Nick Zentner has just added a new Nick From The Field (#31) podcast entitled:
• Clastic Dykes w/ Skye
Cooley Nick and Skye Cooley debate the formation of the clastic dikes (dykes) near Touchet, Washington. The latest field trip from Nick in his usual thought-provoking and informative style. Not to be missed.
• Longs Pass Serpentinite
Nick Zentner hikes on top of Longs Pass to view the Stuart Range, Washington USA. Enjoy some stunning views and geology.
The Amoeba People – And finally a Science Music video on YouTube – The Geologists Are Coming! An ode to the hardworking scientists who uncover the planet’s mysteries and carry under-sized hammers. Onward!!!
- Hunting for fossils along the Jurassic Coast. William Whiskerson visits Lyme Regis to meet a fossil expert and to learn how fossils were formed.
Blogs of the European Geoscience Union has an conducted some interesting research into:
• Baking geological cakes!
Ruth Amey, postdoctoral researcher and programme manager of the Earth Observation Centre for Doctoral Training at the University of Leeds discusses the best geological bakes she has come across.
Brighton Museums host a mid-week draw online. A past online draw featured some interesting fossils and an invitation to send your artistic efforts to the museum.
Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand has some great learning resources. Why not download you own:
•Top Fossil Colouring Book
print off these images of ancient New Zealand’s lost creatures and colour them in, they include the Waipara Giant Turtle, Love’s Paleocene seabird and the Waipara Giant Penguin which was about 1.8 metres tall. Wow that’s going to be tricky to fit in your colouring book! You can also visit the museum’s on-line exhibition Ancient New Zealand: Squawkzilla and the Giants print off the activity sheets and solve the puzzles
Take a look Inside Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre with Anna Holbrook who gives a guided tour of the Heritage Centre, including the Charmouth Dinosaur, fossilised vomit and a mock-up of Charmouth beach which will help you to recognise any fossils that you might find.
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’!
The Common Room are a new charity, formed to lead the restoration of Neville Hall in Newcastle. Their vision is to use our unique heritage to inspire the next generation of innovators and engineers. Through their Explore Online programme we found The Rock Showman who is a geologist with some creative ways to get you excited about rocks! GFYS recommends:
- What’s Beneath Our Feet?
Join Steve, The Rock Showman! and his trusty Rock Hounds to find the Black Stuff along the North East coastline in search of coal, because where there is coal, there are fossils! See Steve combine the circus and geology – great fun.
Communicating Geoscience. We thought these recipes sounded yummy
• Geology and Food – a Geologist’s Cookbook
Ultra-Gooey Chocolate Brownie (cumulate textures) and Chocolate Pillow Lavas, both made with large amounts of chocolate, delicious! Make sure you watch the pillow lava video as well.
The Dorset County Museum’s Make a Museum at Home have put together instructions for making a fun fossil sun catcher. The Museum ask for photographs to be emailed or sent to them using the hashtag #DorsetMuseumAtHome.
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.
- Geology Rocks: Climate Change
Join Finley as he travels around the world and back in time, take a look at how climate change is caused and how it is affecting our planet. Travel back 55 million years ago to discover the last time we underwent climate change and what happened to all the creatures living at the time.
Geologic Time Music Video ‘Earth Time’ based on a song by The Script (For the First Time), and with words by Mr. Parr, this makes finding out about geological time great fun.
The Geological Society has another Podcast adventure with Finley, so join him on a
- Rock Hunt as he discovers how we use rocks in our everyday lives. We look in the bathroom, the kitchen and even the make-up bag. What will we find…..?
How quickly can you solve this:
• Geology Crossword
send your time to firstname.lastname@example.org and GFYS will try to beat you!
The HIDDEN Geology of BOLO DE ROLO (Brazilian Rolled Cake)
Dr Haydon Mort unlocks the secrets of hidden structural geology using a popular cake from Northeast Brazil! (and the cakes look delicious….)
Hull Museums have A Mineral Mystery to Mull Over. There are thousands of minerals on our planet. In fact, we use some minerals all the time, often without realising. Read the stories about these natural wonders and take this quick quiz to see how much you know about minerals.
Don’t miss ITV’s Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh – 28 February 10:00 (GMT) will be featuring Dr Anjana Khatwa aka JurassicGirl who will be whisking viewers off to the beaches of Lyme Regis to explore how fossil hunting can be a great day out for the family. Anjana will be showing you some amazing finds on the beach and giving you tips and tricks so you can go out and find some for yourselves. The programme is also available on ITV Player once it has aired.
Jigsaw Planet has a huge number of geology and other categories of virtual jigsaws available online, ranging in difficulty i.e. you can choose the number of pieces you want to tackle. GFYS particularly liked this one:
•Nature>uncut agate – we played it with its original 32 pieceswe are sure that you will be able to beat our time of 3:39!
Jurassicgirl – Dr Anjana Khatwa and Sarita Khatwa also known as Jurassicgirl and MiniJurassicgirl
- Discover how to make rocks out of sweets. Tempting and tasty but possibly not good for teeth!
- Hunt dinosaurs in Devon with MiniJurassicgirl ably assisted by Jurassicgirl, other wise known as Sarita Khatwa and her mum Dr Anjana Khatwa! MiniJurassicgirl Discovers: Fossilised Dinosaur Footprints! In this roarsome adventure Anjana and Sarita visit Keates Quarry in Purbeck to explore REAL dinosaur footprints! Incredibly 145 million years ago, gigantic Sauropod dinosaurs walked across this landscape leaving their traces behind as footprint trackways.
- Mini JurassicGirl Discovers: How Durdle Door was formed!
Anjana and Sarita explore the power of coastal erosion and how it created one of the most famous landmarks on the Jurassic Coast, Durdle Door. Equip yourself with playdough and join in by making your own model!
Jurassicgirl (Dr Anjana Khatwa) and Mini Jurassicgirl (Sarita Khatwa) look at:
• Mini JurassicGirl Discovers: How the Jurassic Coast was formed!
The Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it showcases 185 million years of Earth’s history in just 95 miles of coast! Using playdough, Anjana and Sarita have fun learning about how this was possible through discovering how the Jurassic Coast was formed.
There are many other YouTube videos in the Mini Jurassicgirl Discovers series why not take a look.
- making a simple erupting volcano
- colouring in sheets of a Dimorphodon
- dinosaurs fighting
- mineral wordsearch.
The Lyme Regis Fossil and Earth Science Festival produced some amazing songs at the festival. Watch how that was done with their:
•B Sharp Fossil Festival Songs
Students from St Michael’s Primary School explored the beach and the Victorian Town Dump with geologist Jim Thomas and worked on lyric development with poet and storyteller Martin Maudsley.
B Sharp then worked with the children to support them to create their own original songs about the theme. The children came up with all the musical ideas and lyrics, and were supported to shape them into songs. There is a resource pack for each of three songs created by the children, with a lyric sheet and backing tracks to enable other primary schools to learn and sing these fantastic songs! GFYS really enjoyed ‘She Sold The Sea Shells’ and ‘Mud Slides’.
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.
Lyme Regis Museum gives an exclusive look behind the scenes at 10 intriguing objects from the museum’s collections through their ‘museum at home’ series. GFYS recommends the episode about:
• Mary Anning’s House
For older children and adults. Watch this YouTube episode and try either the writing or drawing activity, or both.
Maidstone Museum have a learning with Spike at home section with activities for the half term. GFYS particularly liked the idea of:
•Make your own Hatching Dino Egg
When you have finished your Dinosaur Egg, don’t forget to share it on Twitter using the #SpikeDinosAdventures tag.
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.
- Activity 13: Walk like a dinosaur – make your own dinosaur feet
- 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.
- What dinosaur are you?
Have fun discovering if you are a gentle giant or fierce meat-eater and which dinosaur shared your habits.
- Dinosaur footprint cookies recipe
The biscuit recipe makes a soft dough, easy for making footprint-shaped holes with the foot of a toy dinosaur – dinosaur not included!
- Natural History Museum has a YouTube video with instructions about
- How to draw a dinosaur
Follow the simple instructions to draw a cartoon T. Rex. There is also some supporting notes about how professional artists bring dinosaurs to life with their pictures. Then look at some dinosaur pictures from the 1960s that we now know aren’t quite right. Can you work out what’s wrong?
- 360° fossil-hunting adventure
Get tips on what fossils to look out for as you explore the beach alongside students on a fossil collecting walk organised by Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre.
Natural History Museum has a fantastic
Fossil Explorer app – covering England, Scotland and Wales is a must for everyone wanting to venture outdoors!
The app uses your device’s geolocation technology to set your current location on the Fossil Explorer app’s interactive map, or select an area you would like to explore. The app plots the rocks present at your chosen location and provides a list of fossils known to occur in rocks of the same age.
Whether you want to discover ammonites along Dorset’s Jurassic coast, marine reptiles in Whitby or trilobites in Girvan, this app can tell you more about your fossil finds.
Also at the Natural History Museum come face-to-face with
• Dippy the dinosaur
explore his skull in 3D! Can you find Dippy’s nostrils? What feature does Diplodocus share with humans but few other dinosaurs? Rotate, zoom in and explore the features of this popular dinosaur.
For younger children –
Christmas is coming at the Natural History Museum so why not make your own:
• geology-themed snow flake
Templates include stegosaurus, T-rex and volcanoes. Click on each to download and print.
Explore North Norfolk’s Deep History Coast – wonderful if you live locally or for post lock-down inspiration. Follow the Discovery Trail with Discovery Points along the way and imagine taking a journey back in time to when early humans roamed the land and encountered amazing megafauna.
Rockwatch is the UK’s nationwide club for young geologists and the junior club of the Geologists’ Association. See how to make metamorphic marble fudge with Fureya Nelson Riggott, who made a fantastic geological recipe book for a Rockwatch Rockstar competition. Try her other recipes for igneous obsidian toffee and sedimentary oolitic limestone crispies. Homemade Christmas presents?
Rockwatch the junior branch of the GA, introduces children and young people to the amazing world of geology. The recent Rockstars competition inspired some incredible entries which you can see on the home page.
The Rock Showman encourages you to
•Try This at Home
An interest in geology often starts after finding a curious stone upon a beach. But the stone’s beauty fades as the stone dries out. This fun two-part tutorial by Steve Cousins, the Rock Showman, leads the absolute beginner through the process of polishing a stone using nothing more than sandpaper, water and time! Learn how the art of lapidary reveals the science of geology.
The Rotunda Museum is part of the Scarborough Museums Trust and GFYS recommends: Fantastic Fossils – suitable for younger children.where Megan the Megalosaurus guides you through an activity sheet which includes dinosaur foot prints and a plesiosaur colouring in sheet.
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!
Sedgwick Museum proves you don’t need to go far to find fossils. Try out the: Gravel Hunters video and download the Gravel Hunters ID sheet to help you with your hunt.
• Bag of bones
Putting a skeleton back to together when you know what the animal looks like can be a challenge, but imagine how hard that becomes when these creatures are extinct. See if you can restore the dinosaur.
There are more extension activities for teachers or home-schooling on this site.
•Fluffy bee activity
Did you know the first bees would have been flying around in the Cretaceous just as Iggy, the Sedgwick Iguanodon was snacking on leaves from tall trees? Download your fluffy bee activity sheet here and learn some amazing bee facts.
Sedgewick Museum also has a number of Exhibitions on offer but, for older children, GFYS would recommend:
•Exploring the Wenlock Reef
take a dive into the Wenlock Reef and discover the range of animals that once lived there. Be a detective and use clues, evidence and deduction to solve a modern-day crime, and then use your skills to reconstruct the distant past
Sedgewick Museum has some:
•Lockdown creativity: Recreating an iconic scene of Jurassic Sea life
Early in lockdown, the Getty Museum challenged social media users to recreate artworks from its collection using household objects. The Sedgwick Museum responded by challenging ourselves and our social media followers to recreate a famous painting, Duria Antiquior, which hangs in the museum. Using the hashtag #DIYDuria, they collected ammonites, belemnites and ichthyosaurs made from teaspoons, vegetables, Lego and more. The results are wonderful – here they are!
Silurian Geologic Time Period Science Shoebox Project
• ‘Chill Laxin’ on YouTube makes a stunning Silurian Sea scene. Make one similar to this one and send GYFS a photo!
The Whitby Museum has more fun geology for the school holidays with a:
•Fossil Activity—Make Your Own Fossils
Have a go and experiment how fossil imprints form. Then make your own fossils from salt dough, great fun.
GFYS also found a YouTube video entitled 25 Strangest Geological Formations On Earth. The creator says “Our planet is amazingly beautiful as shown by the geological formations in this video which includes some of the most incredible formations that were created by the earth itself, not by us humans.”