Monday 6 February 2012

Geology Today to hold online Minerals and Fossils Event.

Geology Today is published by Wiley Blackwell on behalf of the Geological Society of London (the UK's main professional body for geologists) and the Geologists' Association (the UK's main non-professional geological organization). It contains articles about current developments in the geological sciences written by experts for the general reader, as well as news about the geological community, and regular features on fossils, minerals etc.

From 5-16 March 2012 Geology Today is hosting an online Minerals and Fossils Explained event, which will enable students & members of the public to participate in a geosciences conference, without having to travel (scientific conferences within easy distance are a once in a lifetime event and not to be missed; the Palaeontological Association held one a mile from where I was living two years ago - and I spent the entire two weeks in bed with Swine Flu). The event will feature online discussions on common & interesting fossil groups hosted by experts in the field.

5 March will see an opening session, followed by online discussions on Taphonomy (the study of fossilization processes) and Fossil Lagerstätten (exceptionally well preserved and plentiful fossil deposits), followed by discussions on three particularly famous fossil assemblages; the Ediacaran Biota (well preserved, but enigmatic Precambrian Fossils that may, or may not, represent the earliest multicellular animals in the fossil record), the Burgess Shale (exceptionally well preserved Early Cambrian fossils from British Columbia, with many soft bodied animals) and the Lady Burn Starfish Beds, a site in Southeast Scotland noted for exceptionally well preserved Ordovician invertebrates, particularly trilobites and echinoderms. On the mineral side there will be discussions on alpha-quartz (or to the layman, quartz), Opel, Alkali Feldspar and Plagioclase Feldspar.

Echinoderm from the Lady Burn Starfish Beds. Huntarian Museum and Art Gallery.

7 March will see discussions on notable groups of Palaeozoic Invertebrates; Trilobites, Graptolites, Brachiopods, Crinoids and Eurypterids (water scorpions), and on the mineral side Olivine Group minerals, Amphiboles, Micas, Garnets and Kyanite.

9 March will see discussions on prominent groups of Mesozoic Invertebrates; Belemnites, Nautiloids, Bivalves, Rudists (a group of reef-forming bivalves that went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous) and Sea Urchins. On the mineral side there will be discussions on Calcite, Dolomite, Baryite, Gypsum and Fluorite.

A preserved Late Cretaceous Rudist Bivalve Reef, near Isona in Spain. Paul Harnik, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center.

12 March will see discussions on Cenozoic Invertebrates, namely; Gastropods, Barnacles, Bryozoans, Benthic Forminifera and the Palaeontology of Amber. On the mineral side there will be discussions on Hematite, Galena, Sphalerite, Pyrite, Azurite and Malachite.

Malachite with Azurite crystals. Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle.

14 March will see discussions on Vertebrate groups, notably Anaspid (Jawless) Fish, Ichthyosaurs, Therapod Dinosaurs, Azhdarchid pterosaurs and Saber-toothed Cats. The mineral side will see discussions on naturally occurring pure elements, Graphite (carbon), Copper, Silver, Sulphur and Gold.

The event will close on 16 March.

The experts hosting the discussions will be:

Peter Doyle, palaeontologist and geologist, of University College London and the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Greenwich, the Editor in Chief of Geology Today and Lethaia, and a prolific author in the geosciences field.

Duncan Pirrie, mineralogist and geologist, of the Cambourne School of Mines at the University of Exeter, and deputy editor of Geology Today.

Craig Barrie, mineralogist and geochemist, of the Mineralogical Society of the UK and Ireland and a member of the editorial board at Geology Today.

Howard Falcon-Lang, palaeobotonist and palaeontologist, of Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of Munster, a member of the editorial board at Geology Today and science writer for BBC News Online.

Jamie Pringle, geophysicist and sedimentary geologist, of the Keele University and a member of the editorial board at Geology Today.

Colin Prosser, geologist and palaeontologist, of Natural England and a member of the editorial board at Geology Today.

Jon Radley, geologist, of Warwickshire Museum and the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham and a member of the editorial board at Geology Today.

Hugh Rollinson, mineralogist, petrologist and geochemist, of the University of Derby and a member of the editorial board at Geology Today.

You can sign up for the event here.