One woman's quest for geological understanding!

Herdman Symposium 2017 – 25th February 2017

For some years now, I have attended the Herdman Symposium. This years event is taking place  09:0017:00 on the 25th February 2017.

This year the speakers will be:

  • Dr Guillem Anglada (QMU) – ‘Proxima and detection of small planets around nearby stars’
  • Dr Hugh Tuffen (Lancaster) -‘Rhyolitic Magma on the Move’
  • Dr Kate Hendry (Bristol) – ‘The beauty and usefulness of sponges in reconstructing ocean chemistry.
  • Prof Sarah Davies (Leicester) – ‘The rise of a new terrestrial ecosystem in the early Carboniferous’
  • Prof Stuart Haszeldine (Edinburgh)– ‘Importance and impact of fossil fuels, and the use of Carbon Capture and Storage in the UK and specifically the Liverpool area’
  • Dr Marion Holness (Cambridge) – Igneous microtextures and the movement of melts.

I will be live tweeting the event as usual – me on  Twitter (#herdmansymposium)

Herdman Booking on the 2017 event:


£15.00 (Students £10.00) and includes talks, abstracts, refreshments, buffet lunch and wine reception (5pm).


Central Teaching Hub, Faculty of Science & Engineering, University of Liverpool, Off Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, L69 3BX

Building number 221 (F6) on the University’s Campus Map


Near Surface Geophysics Group – June 2016 Meeting



The date is looming: On the 16th June 2016, the Near Surface Geophysics Group (NSGG) of the Geological Society of London is holding a NSGG meeting:

“Instrumenting the Countryside – Geophysical Monitoring of the Zone of Human Interaction” Continue reading »

Herdman Symposium – Geoscience Frontiers 2016

BSRG 2015

To read the Twitter Storify summary of this event….

Continue reading »

“Officially” a PhD Student at Keele University!

logoYesterday, I went to enroll at Keele University, for a PhD in Earth Sciences!

I have collected my Keele Card (how technology has improved – I can even use it in the shops!), my NUS card, and (thanks to their IT services putting up with my ridiculous lack of technological knowledge) am now connected to the Keele wireless internet!

Monday brings the “important” stuff – finding my way around, exploring a little more, and finding out where on Earth (like the pun?) to start!

Until then, please enjoy these photos I took, on what was a glorious autumnal day!

2015-09-26 10.42.57 Continue reading »

Further investigation along the Marston Canal, Northwich


Following on from the geophysical fieldwork conducted on the 27th and 28th July 2015 (microgravity), further investigation into the possibility of:

  • brine influx from any “leak” through to nearby mines
  • changes in depth in the canal due to subsidence

was proposed.

Continue reading »

Geophysics training: (time-lapse) micro-gravity survey along the Marston canal, Northwich, Cheshire

Subsidence as a result of mining in the UK (and abroad) has occurred throughout history. This varies in severity, with evidence of subsidence ranging from topographic depressions to catastrophic surface collapse. In Northwich, and the surrounding areas, the long history of Salt mining and brine pumping has taken its toll. In order to detect / characterise / monitor areas (susceptible) of subsidence, a combination of remote sensing and near-surface geophysics can be applied.

Jamie Pringle and his team at Keele university have conducted much research and monitoring around the Marston Canal over more than 20 years (Pringle, Styles et al. 2012)

“In the village of Marston, the Trent and Mersey Canal crosses several abandoned salt mine workings and previously subsiding areas, the canal being breached by a catastrophic subsidence event in 1953. This canal section is the focus of a long-term monitoring study by conventional geotechnical topographic and microgravity surveys. Results of 20 years of topographic time-lapse surveys indicate specific areas of local subsidence that could not be predicted by available site and mine abandonment plan and shaft data. Subsidence has subsequently necessitated four phases of temporary canal bank remediation. Ten years of microgravity time-lapse data have recorded major deepening negative anomalies in specific sections that correlate with topographic data. Gravity 2D modelling using available site data found upwardly propagating voids, and associated collapse material produced a good match with observed microgravity data. Intrusive investigations have confirmed a void at the major anomaly. The advantages of undertaking such long-term studies for near-surface geophysicists, geotechnical engineers, and researchers working in other application areas are discussed.” (Pringle, Styles et al. 2012)

The fieldwork which was conducted, is a continuation of Jamie’s research.


Fieldwork was conducted 27/7/15 & 28/7/15 along the Marston Canal, in the Survey area indicated in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Location map of survey area: Marston, Northwich.



Monitor and measure relict salt mines using geophysical methods


  • Become familiar with measuring micro-gravity geophysical data using a Scintrex CG-5 micro-gravity meter, Leica Pinpoint R100 and Prism and pole.
  • Survey data collection area, where gravity points are taken
  • Conduct a survey

Continue reading »

“Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Communicating Geology to Society” – Prof. Iain Stewart, Herdman Symposium 2015

Geological issues are increasingly relevant to the everyday lives of people globally, whether it is the risk of earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, or the potential ramifications of geological engineering. And yet, as Prof. Iain Stewart highlighted, ‘Geology… lies out of sight and out of mind’.

This blog post represents a detailed account of Iain’s presentation at the Herdman Symposium 2015, very occasionally peppered with examples resulting from the papers/articles he referred to during his presentation. (Slightly more detailed than I expected, but I made copious notes and ended up delving into the wealth of references made in his presentation and getting sidetracked by related papers…  Note to self: become more focussed!)

There is a strange “no man’s land” between geologists and the public:  The ‘simple’ act of talking to the public is very challenging for academics and researchers, who are used to being careful and precise with language and also structurally there has been very little incentive to communicate with the public. This has now changed dramatically. But this is not without risk…

Continue reading »

Foraminifera under the microscope – A learning experience

Forams 003

  Today has been a day for joyful microscope experimentation! I recently received a Thin Section (TS) / Slide of Holocene Foraminifera from the Philippines (3357 feet).  Not my area of expertise at all, but very pretty.  And after years of seeing studies where foraminifera were used as proxies for climate change in geological history, and spending so much time incorporating these into my project course and personal research, it seemed a great idea to actually look at some under… Continue reading »

Photography down the microscope…

Soooo I started taking excellent photos…. and was about to label and upload photos and films I took through my polarizing microscope, when I realised I needed scale!  Rule #1!

So, I gave up on the maths – the slight zoom in my camera ruled out that – and invested in an “Advanced Calibration Slide”, which arrived yesterday.

Calibration Slide

It has five calibration patterns.

0.07mm, 0.15mm, 0.6mm and 1.5mm calibration dots.

X-Y Calibration ScaleX-Y calibration scale (In the circle in the picture of the slide above) with a smaller division of 0.01mm. The scale is 1mm long in both X and Y direction and is first divided into 0.1mm and them 0.01mm. At the centre, it has a 0.04mm square divided by 5 lines in both X and Y direction and providing much more choice for calibration.

Now let the fun begin on a large small scale!