Thin section view of the meteorite ejecta deposit on Skye. Image: Simon Drake
In a paper published in Geology in December 2017, Simon Drake, Andy Beard and colleagues announced the discovery of remarkable new evidence of a meteor impact in Scotland. They found a one-metre thick ejacta layer immediately below the first layers of Palaeogene lava in south Skye, which were erupted about 61 million years ago. This layer contains very unusual unmelted crystals from the actual meteorite, albeit tiny crsytals that can only be viewed using a microscope. This is the first recorded occurrence of vanadium-rich osbornite (TiVN) on Earth, this has previously been reported as dust from comet Wild 2, but on Skye it is found as an unmelted phase.
This remarkable discovery raises intriguing questions about the start of volcanic activity on Skye and other locations along the west coast of Scotland, one of Scotland’s most important geological episodes that contributes much to the landscape of the Hebrides.
Read more about the science behind this discovery – Geoscientist magazine of the Geological Society, April 2018.
It is very depressing therefore that this narrow and scientifically unique layer has been targeted by mineral collectors, who have used a small digger to remove part of the exposure. More than 400 fist-sized pieces of loose rock have also been taken. There are plans now to protect the site behind glass, so that the exposure can still be viewed.
BBC News – Meteorite hunters dig up 60 million-year-old site in Skye.
Neil Clark, paleontologist at the Huterian, University of Glasgow has announced the discovery of some exciting new dinosaur footprints near Inverness, the first recorded discovery of footprints on the Scottish mainland.
The footprints date from the mid Jurassic, 170 million years ago, and since these are the first footprints from the Moray Basin to the east of Scotland they are likely help to build a clearer picture of dinosaurs living in Scotland at that time.
Neil has started a crowd funding campaign to raise £5,000 to undertake mapping of new footprint localities and discover more in new locations around Scotland.
The very first Angus Coastal Festival will highlight some of the hidden – and not so hidden – corners, encouraging you to look deeper and take home some special memories, whether your home is nearby or many miles away. Everyone is welcome to join in the events, from spotting wildlife with youngsters, enjoying a guided cycle ride, joining the beach cleans being organised by local communities all-round the coast, listening to a myriad of talks or enjoying the exhibitions.
Arbroath coast. Photo: Angus Miller
Included in the programme are several coast tours and geology walks that will allow you to find out more about the wonderful geology of this area.
Download the programme (pdf file) | Tayside Geodiversity
Scotland is enjoying unbelievable weather, what a great time to get out and explore our fantastic geology, landscapes and culture. But where to start?!
The 51 Best Places to see Scotland’s Geology will give you an idea of some of the variety that Scotland has to offer, from waterfalls and crags to entire islands. There’s something for everyone!
Scotland’s four Geoparks are bursting with activity. There are visitor centres to enjoy, coffee to be drunk, and lots of information and events:
Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark – Shetland Nature Festival 28 July – 5 August 2018
North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark – field days, summer geotours, Deep Time walks
Lochaber Geopark – Darwin’s Rest Coffee Shop in Roybridge and the Geopark Visitor Centre on the High Street, Fort William
And Scotland’s Geological Societies have a range of summer field trips for members and anyone interested in geology: Edinburgh Geological Society | Geological Society of Glasgow | Aberdeen Geological Society | Highland Geological Society | Open University Geological Society – East Scotland | Open University Geological Society – West Scotland
The Friends of Hugh Miller are embarking on an ambitious “relaunch” including of our internal structure and external activities, and an element of this expansion is the decision to move our next annual meeting from Cromarty to Scotland’s capital for the first time in our twelve year history. All members and friends welcome!
The AGM takes place on Saturday 16th June, 10.30am at the Scottish Poetry Library 5 Crichton’s Cl, Edinburgh EH8 8DT. It is purposefully arranged to take place on the same day and at the same venue as the Awards ceremony for the winners of the second national Hugh Miller Writing Competition, in which we are one of the partners with organisers, the Scottish Geodiversity Forum.
At the meeting, we will be displaying specimens from a newly donated collection of fossils found on the North East coast of Scotland, including in local deposits at Cromarty and Eathie, as well as a rare Miller artefact. Full details of the meeting will be included in the next edition of our newsletter, Hugh’s News Issue No 35, Summer 2018,
which will be
emailed to our members and posted on our website www.thefriendsofhughmiller.org.uk
GeoWeek is a new initiative that aims to promote ‘active geoscience’ via a nine-day ‘week’ of fieldwork activities taking place across the UK between 5 and 13 May 2018.
GeoWeek seeks to introduce as many members of the public to geoscience as possible, mainly through outdoor activities such as urban, rural or coastal fieldwork.
You can find out more about GeoWeek and the events that are planned here.
This show, the first ‘rock and gem’ show in Scotland for many years, will be held at Musselburgh Racecourse 10am – 5pm Saturday 7 April & 10am – 4pm Sunday 8 April. Further information at www.rockngem.co.uk/show/musselburgh-racecourse-rock-gem-n-bead-april-show/
A second show is planned for the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh on 15th – 16th September 2018.
From Tuesday 27 March to Sunday 15 April, Lochaber Geopark is running one-day and half-day self-drive tours around Lochaber, each led by an expert geologist. They will show you some of the most beautiful and majestic scenery in Scotland, and explain how it was formed by mountain building and volcanic activity over hundreds of millions of years, to be finally shaped by glaciation that ended only ten-thousand years ago.
To book and for more information please visit: lochabergeopark.org.uk/explore-lochaber/easter-geotours-2018/
The second Hugh Miller Writing Competition invites entries inspired by fossil discoveries made in Scotland over the last 30 years. The competition, which takes its name from Scotland’s celebrated self-taught geologist, Hugh Miller, is open to all ages and is free to enter. The competition is organised by the Scottish Geodiversity Forum, the Friends of Hugh Miller and many other partners.
This year, poetry and prose entries are invited that are inspired by fossil discoveries made in Scotland over the last 30 years. Open to all, there are two categories; young people aged under 16 and adults aged 16 and over.
Competition entries can be in any written format, fiction, non-fiction or poetry and should be directly inspired by fossil discoveries made in Scotland within the last 30 years. The competition closes at midnight on 15 April 2018.
Full rules and further details, including how to enter.
51 localities across the country have been chosen by a panel of expert volunteers as the Best Places where people can see, enjoy and engage with Scotland’s incredible geology. A full list of all the sites, along with eye-catching images and the dramatic stories behind them, can be found at https://www.scottishgeology.com/best-places/.
People flock to Scotland to explore and wonder at the beauty and drama of the landscape, but now everyone can find out more about exactly how these landforms were created and why they look the way they do today. Three billion years in the making, Scotland has been through an amazing geological journey, involving continental collisions, mountain building, deserts, glaciers, and volcanic eruptions. Oceans have come into being and then vanished, as have the dinosaurs that once roamed the land, whilst large-scale volcanic eruptions and intrusions have transformed our landscapes. The processes continue to this day, with erosion of the coasts and mountain regions clearly visible, and the effects of recent glacial periods evident across our small country.
These stories can be ‘read’ in the rocks around us, and now they are being made easily available, thanks to a project developed by the Scottish Geodiversity Forum and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to encourage the public to engage with the best of Scotland’s Geology. ‘Revealing the stories in the rocks: raising awareness of Scotland’s outstanding geoheritage’ is linked to the HLF ‘Stories, Stones and Bones’ programme, and in partnership with the ‘Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology’.
Come along to the Public Launch event at Dynamic Earth on Saturday 14 October to find out more … see you there!