Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

The geology around Disko Bay, West Greenland (lecture)

Thursday, 11 April 2019
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Event Category:
Lecture Theatre, Gregory Building
c/o School of Geographical & Earth Sciences
Glasgow, Glasgow City G12 8QQ United Kingdom

Dr Iain Allison, University of Glasgow

Iain has been leading excursions to the NW Highlands for the Open University Geological Society for almost 20 years and on recent excursions he has considered other areas to visit where similar rocks could be seen. The Lewisian Gneisses of NW Scotland are part of the Laurentian shield of Archaean and Proterozoic basement gneisses which extend westwards across Greenland into Canada.

In Greenland there is a large area dominated by Archaean rocks akin to our Scourian gneisses which are cut by wide doleritic dykes equivalent to the Scourie Dykes. To the north of this Archaean block lies the Nagsuggtoqidian belt of reworked gneisses of lower Proterozoic age which are akin to the Laxfordian gneisses. In addition, on Disko Island there occur thick sequences of basaltic lava and related rocks of Palaeogene age just like our Palaeogene volcanics along the western seaboard in Skye, Mull, Ardnamurchan etc. Thus, Disko Bay shows familiar rocks in a very unfamiliar setting. A group of 12 spent two weeks in the summer of 2018 in west Greenland, starting in the capital Nuuk, before heading north on the coastal ferry to a base in Disko Bay, Ilulissat. From there the group spent time in two communities, Qeqertarsuaq on Disko Island and Gasigiannuit in the south-east corner of Disko Bay.

This talk will cover aspects of the Archaean and lower Proterozoic gneisses and, on Disko Island, their cover of Palaeogene volcanics but also the impressive glacial scenery and culture in west Greenland. A society field trip is being planned to Disko Bay in 2020.

Background reading:

Campbell, Nancy. 2015. Disko Bay, Enitharmon Press.

Glassley, William. 2018. A Wilder Time, Bellevue Literary Press.

Henrikson, Niels. 2005. Geological History of Greenland, GEUS.

Following a post-doc at the University of Western Ontario, Iain came to Glasgow 40 years ago to join the Department of Applied Geology of the University of Strathclyde. In 1989 the department closed and staff and students joined the department in the University of Glasgow to form the new Department of Geology and Applied Geology. Most of his research focussed on the NW Highlands in the Moine Thrust Zone and the unconformity of the Cambrian rocks on the Lewisian gneisses although there was brief research project based on the southern coastal area of Yemen. When the department was reorganised into Earth Sciences, he joined the Science Faculty Office and became the Principal Adviser of Studies for the final years of employment and has now been happily, and busily, retired for 7 years.