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Newsletter - December 2005

Dear Member,

We were all very disappointed that a combination of different circumstances led to the enforced cancellation of the Cheshire Basin Seminar: shall we ever find out about it?
I can, however, report that Jim Spencer is continuing to recover.. ..We canít do without him!

We are delighted that the North West Geologist has reappeared, thanks to the Liverpool editor Wendy Simkiss and to Fred Owenís efforts in encouraging contributions.
Donít give up folks. We want it to come out every year.

Please note, the lecture on March 15th on Iceland is joint with the Geographical Society and in the Mansfield Cooper Building at the earlier time of 6.30 pm.

Weíll be having a very fossiliferous time with John Nudds and Paul Selden on January 14th when they talk about the Exceptional Fossil Sites of Germany.
They are leading a study tour to Germany to visit these and other sites in May 2006, organised by the Wilmslow Guild, with a related Day School on 21st January.
John has also offered to lead an MGA trip to the Lagerstštten of Southern Germany in 2007.

Paul Selden has now retired from Manchester University, moved down south, and has a research position at the Natural History Museum. We wish him all the best in his new role.
Our President is also talking about fossils after the AGM, but from a chemistís point of view.

The first field trip next year will be on Saturday March 25th to Scunthorpe and Frodingham Ironstone formation. We have a Museum talk /tour in the morning and a visit to Corus Crosby Warren Quarry and Ironstone Rock Store in the afternoon. The visit will cost £5. Jane Michael needs to know possible numbers quite soon, so if you are interested please contact her ASAP on 0161 366 0595 or by email ~ outdoors@mangeolassoc.org.uk

Joe Macquaker, our vice president, has offered to lead a 3/4 day field visit to Skye in late September. Details much later, but if you are interested let Jane know. Click here to read an account of the field trip to Whitby in April 2005 led by Joe Macquaker. The photos are also in the Photo Gallery

Congratulations to our new vice president who is now Christine Arkwright PhD! Well done Chris!

There are some Saturday and Wednesday classes available at the University - see lower down for details.

Itís that time of year folks! Subs are due on January 1st. Make Fredís life easy and renew rapidly. A renewal form is enclosed with this newsletter. If you pay by SO thereís no need to do anything, unless your details have changed.

So I think thatís it for now, except to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Mary Howie newsletter editor


Presidential Address ~ Wednesday 15th February 2006
Our President John Price will give us

ďA Laymanís View of ArchaeopteryxĒ

John tells me :-ďI donít pretend to compete with the professionals and I intend to concentrate on the origin of the feather and its constitution.
I shall be comparing the alpha & beta forms of keratin which distinguishes feathers from scales, nails and hair and which may suggest a possible solution of the uniqueness of Archaeopteryx in its attempts to fly!
The talk will be enhanced by a series of illustrations and will include a discussion on the complex series of amino acids which go to make up the structures of both keratin and collagen.Ē

There is a photo of a fossil exhibit on the Photo Gallery page.


Geological tours:

Rocks, Fossils and Scenery of
South - West Germany

May 2nd - 15th 2006
Day School and Study Tour
Dr Paul Selden & Dr John Nudds

The tour includes a Rhine Cruise and visits many Fossil Sites and Museums

Day School at the Wilmslow Guild on Sat. 21st January
Details from the Wilmslow Guild 01625 523 903
Tour details see:-

Dr Jill Eyers, who is well know to Open University geologists, is leading archaeological and geological tours to Turkey in June and the Dordogne in September next year.
She is an excellent leader and the trips look fascinating.
Find out more by visiting


or e-mail: j.eyers@btopenworld.com

Courses for the Public Next Year at Manchester University

SC235WO5 Regional Studies 2 ~ Sedimentary Rocks and Field Mapping
A level 2 course comprising of 4 Saturdays at the University and 4 Full Day Field Visits (starting 25th March 2006) during April, May, June & July.
Practical mapping and logging of sedimentary rocks in various locations around the north west.
~~ Kevin Stephen and Christine Arkwright ~~

SC217WO5 Mountain Building ~ 10 Wednesdays 1.30 - 3.30 pm starting 25th January
A level 1 course open to all covering plate tectonics, earthquakes, metamorphic processes, landscape evolution, ancient and modern mountain chains etc
~~ Chris Horsfall and John Wadsworth ~~

For further information please contact Alison Scott at the Manchester University CCE Department Tel 0161 275 5592 ~ email to alison.scott@manchester.ac.uk
Or ring 0161 275 3275 for a CCE brochure with these and many other fascinating courses open to the public



Greater Manchester Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites Group report

The GM RIGS group members have an ongoing task of visiting all the hundreds of sites which are in the process of being recorded on a database. These site records, which reside at the Museum, date from the 1970s and are all potential RIGS. We need to find out whether they still exist and if so, whether they are accessible, and then consider whether to submit any of them for listing as RIGS.

Taking the Trans Pennine Trail eastwards from the A6017 Stockport Road, GR SJ 923 937 and following the footpath through Hulmes Wood for about 750 Metres, Sue and I located the site at GR SJ 927 934, on the bank of the River Tame, opposite Arden Mill. This site, last documented according to our records by G. F. Walters and A. L. Draper on 5th July 1977, comprises two small purple sandstone cliff exposures.

Access to both exposures from the overlooking bluff requires a short scramble down a steep, slippery bank to the riverís edge, and as the River Tame was in full spate that day with fast flowing water lapping the base of both exposures, it seemed foolhardy to clamber down. It is possible to view the exposures from the bluff, but as both exposures are covered with mosses and lichens it is difficult to pick out the finer details recorded by Walters and Draper.

Sue and I were disappointed at not being able to access either of these exposures, and decided to walk further along the path. To our surprise, to the left of the footpath, at GR SJ 931 930 just before Arden footbridge, is a fascinating quarry exposure of what is probably a succession of medium to thick purple sandstone and laminated siltstone similar to the one described by Walters and Draper at the previous site. This exposure is clean and free of plant growth and is obviously well used, judging by the flattened path around it. We recommend a visit!

As we are now in the process of recording this site we would be grateful if anyone could give us any information as to why and how this site is being used.

Marjorie Mosley, GM RIGS group

If you are interested in joining the RIGS group please contact them via email: gmrigs@hotmail.com


COPY NEEDED ...See your name in print...Share your experiencesÖ Send me your photos The next newsletter will be in March. Send any copy to me by end of February please.
Mary Howie - newsletter@mangeolassoc.org.uk
or Snail Mail to Kinder View, 118 Glossop Road, Marple Bridge, Stockport SK6 5EL.
Tel: 0161 427 2965


Events Elsewhere

MGA members are welcome as guests at events of the following societies. Ring the contact given for details of times and places and to book in, or look at their web sites via our 'Links' page.

Cumberland Geological Society
Ring contact for details

Gogledd Cymru (N Wales) OUGS
Ring contact for details

Lancashire Group GA
Ring contact for details

Leeds Geological Society
Ring contact for details

Liverpool Geological Society
Tues 17th Jan The Glaciation of Wales ~ Neil Glasser
Tues 7th Feb Diamonds ~ Jeff Harris
Tues 24th Feb History of Geology from Hooke to Leyll ~ Allan Chapman
Contact Joe Crossley 0151 426 1324 Ring contact for details

Oldham Geological Society
Sat 21st Jan visit to Cliffe Castle Museum at Keithley
Wed 25th Jan Geological map evening
Contact Andrew Tenny 01706 372 450

North Staffordshire Group GA
Thurs 12th Jan The K/T Boundary Event, Dr Peter Floyd
Thurs 9th Feb Geology and Wine in Southern France - Including wine tasting and buffet beforehand
Thurs 9th March AGM and Chairmanís Address - The Geology of the ChaÓne des Puys, France
Contact Carol Fereday 01782 713227

Open University Geological Society NW Branch
Sun 8th Jan Afternoon of Lectures at Rainhill
Remotely sensing volcanoes in Iceland and Geology and scenery of the Azores
Contact Chris Arkwright 01772 335316

Shropshire Geological society
Ring contact for details

Westmorland Geological Society
Ring contact for details

N Wales GA
Ring contact for details

Contacts for the above events:-
Cumberland GS --- Dennis Dickens 01697 321375
Gogledd Cymru (OUGS) --- Wendy Owens 01352 715531
Lancashire GA --- Jennifer Rhodes 0124 811 203
Leeds GS --- Anthea Brigstocke, 01904 626013
Liverpool GS ---Tom Metcalf 0151 286 9975
North Staffs GGA --- Elizabeth Hallam 01260 275616
N Wales GA --- Fred Owen 01565 651004
Shropshire GS --- David Pannett 01743 850773
Oldham GS --- Andrew Tenny 01706 372450
OUGS NW --- Chris Arkwright 01772 335316
Westmorland GS --- Pam Wilson 015395 33198


Holiday Geology ~ Parys Mountain

I was down in Anglesey last weekend in ferocious weather, so I drove around and had a look at the rocks and the sea.
Parys Mountain, (not been there for years) now has an excellent industrial and geological trail along a track bulldozed through the old workings and spoil heaps.
For 20p you can get a very instructive leaflet out of a box (make sure you pick up the English version, unless you speak Welsh) and youíll discover lots of things you didnít know about Copper Mining and Processing.
For instance, I learnt that scrap iron was used to precipitate out the copper, then the iron compounds were sold as pigments.
Itís a superb view point with free parking. Access is from the B5111, just south of Amlwch.
Mary Howie

See colour pictures in our Photo Gallery


We are sad to hear that a long standing member, Jack Savin, died in August this year having joined the MGA in 1973. On informing us about his death a family member said: "He was a very keen amateur geologist and went on many field trips with the Society. The US trips led by Dr Fred Broadhurst gave him much pleasure and intellectual stimulation".