Author: SGT Web

New book reveals the story of Scotland’s National Gem

Crystal MountainsCrystal Mountains – Minerals of the Cairngorms unravels the story of Scotland’s National Gem – the cairngorm. The book encompasses the social history of the people who sought “Cairngorm Stones”, geology, mineralogy and occurrence of the gem minerals, the lapidary and jewellery trades and links with Queen Victoria. Demand from the lapidary and jewellery trade in the 1800s was such that the supply of authentic local material could not keep up, and inevitably, imported material began to be passed-off as Scottish. The book features numerous previously unpublished images of specimens from all the major public and private collections.

The book has 184 large format pages, a softback cover, and is available direct from the publisher priced at £25 plus p&p.

100 great geosites

The UK and Ireland feature some of the most diverse and beautiful geology in the world, spanning most of geological time, from the oldest Pre-Cambrian rocks to the youngest Quarternary sediments. As part of Earth Science Week 2014, The Geological Society and partner organisations are celebrating this unique geo-heritage by launching a list of 100 Great Geosites across the UK and Ireland.

More than 400 sites have been nominated, and we need your help to whittle the list down to 100! We’ve split the sites into 10 categories – you can vote for one site in each. Of course, many of the sites could fall into more than one category but we have tried to pick the most relevant one.

The site with the most votes in each category will automatically be included in the final list as a ‘People’s Favourite’, so your votes will make a big difference! You have until Monday 22 September to vote. Photographs and more information about each site can be found on our Flickr pages – just follow the links below.

Volcano Fun Day 04 Oct, Edinburgh

This is the 4th edition of our hugely popular Volcano Fun Day, an entertaining educational day out for all the family. Activities include :

  •  volcano games and activities;
  • guided tours on the Arthur Seat volcano;
  • make your own marshmallow earth;
  • arts and crafts;
  • touch, feel & learn about igneous rocks.

Venue: Holyrood Park Education Centre 1 Queens Drive, Edinburgh, EH8 8HG Sat 04 Oct 2014, 11 am – 3 pm. Free admission and free parking in Holyrood Palace car park or by the St Margaret’s Loch. Enquiries: or 0131 652 8150

We are Cromarty Festival 23-25 September 2014

cromartyThree-day festival at the Old Brewery, Cromarty, organised by the Friends of Hugh Miller.

23rd-25th September 2014, 10.30am – 4.30pm daily
Drop in any time. Come and enjoy films, arts and crafts exhibitions, fossil-hunting, wildlife, storytelling, music and dance.
Tuesday, 23rd September
11.00am Public and media opening
2.30—4.30pm Fossils talk, display and field trip.
Wednesday, 24th September
10.30-12.30pm: Story-telling and
walkabout with Bob Pegg
Thursday, 25th September
11.00am – 1.00pm: Wildlife talk and tour with Kenny Taylor
2.30 – 4.30pm: Poetry and story-reading; harp recital
Starring Cromarty Youth at
VICTORIA HALL, 7.30-9.30pm

Cruise of the Betsey

Coming up in September … the sailboat Leader will follow part of the journey taken by Hugh Miller on The Betsey in 1844. This is a modestly funded project, but has created quite a dynamic over the past year, because so many creative people and organisations have pledged their support – the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Friends of Hugh Miller and the Scottish Geodiversity Forum are all involved, with many others. The journey will take place from 6th -12th September 2014, and has associated community events in Cromarty and on Eigg. We have also produced linked educational resources for primary and sceondary pupils which will be piloted in September & October.

Ice streams & multibeams – Scotland’s marine geodiversity

ice-streams-01Scotland’s landscape is remarkable and almost entirely due to our fascinating and continuing geological story. Our small patch of the Earth’s surface contains rocks which have formed over the last 3 billion years as our landmass has wandered across the southern hemisphere, northbound to its current location. Although our landscape is appreciated across the globe and it contributes billions of pounds of income to the Scottish economy, it is only recently that we have started to appreciate the importance of our marine geodiversity.

Read more about Scotland’s marine geodiversity and its links with the land in Alistair Rennie’s SNH blog post.

Shale gas and oil in the Midland Valley of Scotland

The British Geological Survey (BGS) in association with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has completed an estimate for the amount of shale gas and oil in the Midland Valley of Scotland. The estimate is in the form of a range to reflect geological uncertainty. The range of shale gas in place is estimated to be between 49.4 and 134.6 trillion cubic feet (tcf), with the central estimate for the resource being 80.3 tcf. The range of shale oil in place is estimated to be between 3.2 and 11.2 billion barrels (bbl), with the central estimate for the resource being 6.0 bbl.

The figure for both shale gas and shale oil represent the total amount of gas and oil present in the rocks. Reserve and recovery estimation is not possible at this stage; in order to estimate the shale gas and oil reserves, drilling and testing of new wells will be required to understand if commercial production rates would be achieved. Development of shale gas and oil in the Midland Valley of Scotland will also be strongly controlled by the depth of prospective shales relative to abandoned deep coal mine workings and the presence of pre-existing geological faults.

Find out more at

North West Highlands Geopark events, summer 2014

Regular guided walks

Weekly walks introducing one of the most important geodiversity sites of Scotland, learn about what the rocks have to tell us and how the story was unravelled by pioneering Victorian geologists. Meet your guide at the Knockan Crag car park 10am Wednesdays. Minimum donation £3 per adult, £2 concession and £8 per family.


Visit an extensive area of the Geopark in a week-long or half week tour, designed to help visitors interpret the deep time that this part of the Earth’s crust has experienced.

10-17 September £230 or 19-22 September £140. This includes guides, materials and transport in minibus or private car depending on numbers. We can help with accommodation too. Further information …

Contact Pete Harrison 01854 612568 or Mike Goodwin 01971 521301

Panning for Gold – Outdoor learning activity Fri 16 May

Gold Panning Field Trip to Wanlockhead
Suitable CPD for teachers for CfE and Outdoor Learning
Friday 16 May 2014
9.00am – 4.15pm

Programme details:
9.00am Meet at Hunterian Art Gallery, minibus departs Glasgow
10.30am – 12.00pm Arrive at Wanlockhead, visit to Hidden Treasures Museum and lead mine
12.00pm – 12.45pm Lunch
12.45pm – 2.00pm Panning for gold with expert and Hunterian curator Dr Neil Clark
2.00pm Depart from Wanlochead
3.30pm Arrive at Glasgow, tour of Scottish Gold exhibition, Hunterian Art Gallery
4.15pm End

£100 per person. Booking essential – email
Cost includes: expert guide; travel; lunch; Gold panning licence; materials; entry into the mine, the Hidden Treasures Museum and the Scottish Gold exhibition; copy of Scottish Gold book by Dr Neil Clark.