Because of the current uncertainty about covid, we have decided to postpone the start of live lectures for Session 164 (2021-2022) until the November meeting at the earliest.

If the covid outlook improves, we hope to be able to hold most of the later lectures as live events in the Boyd Orr Building’s lecture theatre. These talks will be recorded and may also be live-streamed. Details will be announced when they are known.

All talks will start at 7:30 pm.

9th September 2021
David Webster
Geology of Islay. This will be a Zoom talk aimed at those going on the September excursion, but all members are welcome. A link will be circulated to society members.

14th October 2021
Professor Mike Searle, University of Oxford
Tectonics and mountain building in the Himalaya
Summary

11th November 2021
No lecture. The planned lecture was cancelled for personal reasons and rescheduled for 9th December 2021.

9th December 2021
Dr Neil Clark, Hunterian Museum (Retiring Presidential Address)
Dinosaurs from Muck

13th January 2021
Dr Emrys Phillips, British Geological Survey, Edinburgh
Deformed dirt: the deformation caused by glaciers and ice sheets
Summary

10th February 2021
Dr Andrew Finlayson, British Geological Survey, Edinburgh
Below the bonnie banks – investigating Loch Lomond’s subaqueous Quaternary landscape
Summary

10th March 2021
Noel Williams, Lochaber Geopark
Big boulders of Scotland
Summary

14th April 2021
Professor Colin Ballantyne, University of St Andrews
Landslides, glaciation and the evolution of mountain landscapes during the Quaternary
Summary

12th May 2021
Members’ night

Lecture summaries

14th October 2021
Professor Mike Searle, University of Oxford
Tectonics and mountain building in the Himalaya

The crash of the Indian plate into Asia is the biggest known collision in geological history, and it continues today. The result is the Himalaya and Karakoram – one of the largest mountain ranges on Earth. The Karakoram has half of the world’s highest mountains and a reputation as being one of the most remote and savage ranges of all. This talk will present a rich account of the geological forces that were involved in creating these mountain ranges. Using his personal accounts of extreme mountaineering and research in the region, he pieces together the geological processes that formed such impressive peaks.

Background reading. Mike’s book “Colliding Continents”is highly recommended.

13th January 2021
Dr Emrys Phillips, British Geological Survey, Edinburgh
Deformed dirt: the deformation caused by glaciers and ice sheets

High resolution seismic data from the Dogger Bank in the central southern North Sea has revealed that the Dogger Bank Formation records a complex history of sedimentation and penecontemporaneous, large-scale, ice-marginal to proglacial glacitectonic deformation. The internal structure of the Dogger Bank thrust-moraine complexes can be directly related to ice sheet dynamics, recording the former positions of a highly dynamic, oscillating Weichselian ice sheet margin as it retreated northwards at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum.

Further Reading

Phillips, E. et al. 2018. Large-scale glacitectonic deformation in response to active ice sheet retreat across Dogger Bank (southern central North Sea) during the Last Glacial Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews179, 24-47.

10th February 2021
Dr Andrew Finlayson, British Geological Survey, Edinburgh
Below the bonnie banks – investigating Loch Lomond’s subaqueous Quaternary landscape

Andrew’s talk will focus on new work from Loch Lomond and some of the stories coming from the multibeam bathymetric and shallow seismic surveys.

Further Reading

Finlayson, A., Fabel, D., Bradwell, T. and Sugden, D. 2014. Growth and decay of a marine terminating sector of the last British Irish Ice Sheet. Quaternary Science Reviews83, 28-45.
Finlayson, A. 2020. Glacial conditioning and paraglacial sediment reworking in Glen Croe (the Rest and be Thankful), western Scotland. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association131, 138–154.

10th March 2021
Noel Williams, Lochaber Geopark
Big boulders of Scotland

In April 1871 The Royal Society of Edinburgh appointed a committee to “make inquiry about boulders in Scotland”. The Committee on Boulders had two main aims:

1. To identify where boulders of interest were situated.
2. To indicate which boulders were deemed especially worthy of preservation.

The idea of setting up this committee was inspired by large surveys which had been set up in 1867 to record erratic boulders and “enormous heaps of gravel” in Switzerland and the Jura region of France.

David Milne Home was encouraged by Professor Favre of Geneva to organise a similar survey in Scotland. In order to set up such a widespread survey Milne Home made contact with church ministers, head teachers and landowners across Scotland. The Committee on Boulders collected data over 13 years (1871–84) and published 10 reports.

We will retrace the steps of Professor Heddle and local headmaster Colin Livingstone who recorded the position of large erratic boulders, as well as glacial striations, during lengthy outings on the hills in the Lochaber district around Fort William.

14th April 2021
Professor Colin Ballantyne, University of St Andrews
Landslides, glaciation and the evolution of mountain landscapes during the Quaternary

A persistent view amongst geologists is that landscape evolution in mid-latitude mountains during the Quaternary (2.6 Ma to the present) was dominated by glacial erosion. Using examples from Scotland, this presentation shows that areas of high ground have experienced very limited glacial erosion, and that classic glacial landforms such as glacial troughs, corries and arêtes continued to evolve during successive interglacial periods through rockfall and rock-slope failure. The present mountain landscapes of Scotland and other tectonically stable mid-latitude mountains therefore represent a synergistic relationship between glacial and interglacial (paraglacial) processes operating over very long timescales.

Further Reading

Ballantyne, C.K., Sandeman, G.F., Stone, J.O. and Wilson, P. 2014. Rock-slope failure following Late Pleistocene deglaciation on tectonically stable mountainous terrain. Quaternary Science Reviews86, 144-157.