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Newsletter - June 2008

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Our thanks go to Fred Owen for his efforts in coordinating this year’s North West Geologist with Liverpool GS and the editor, Wendy Simkiss.

The Local Heroes weekend, when we celebrated the Carboniferous, was an outstanding success, so much so that we had to refuse some applicants as we were FULL!. We have had many congratulatory comments from visitors and members and hope to stage a similar event in the future. Our thanks to Joe and Chris who did most of the organising, to John Pollard for a magnificent display of fossils, and to all who helped on the day.

The full write up and field notes of the recent super field weekend near Shap will be published in the next edition of the NWG.

The MGA visit to Germany led by Dr John Nudds was really great! Notes follow.

Bookings for the field trip to the Isle of Man in October are now well under way. If you want to go please contact Jane Michael before June 21st. See below for more details.

Jim Spencer is currently finalising a splendid programme of lectures and seminars for the autumn.

The first lecture is on Wednesday October 1st at 7 pm. Professor David Siveter (Leicester University) will give a talk entitled “Silurian Soft-bodied Sensations: The Unique Window on the Evolution of Life”.

Details and dates of the rest of the programme will be in the September newsletter and on the website.

We are sad to report that our present President Dr Joe Macquaker is leaving Manchester University this autumn for a post teaching Petroleum Geology at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, Canada. He tells me that he’s already been invited to be join the Newfoundland and Labrador Section of the Canadian GA; maybe a possible twin society? We wish him all the best in his new life and look forward to an MGA field trip to Canada in the future!

Dr Christine Arkwright, our VP, will take over as President until 2010.

Mary Howie, newsletter editor

PS Some members are already signed up to electronic newsletters…. You can have this in glorious Technicolor if you wish, just let me know, by email:


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Greater Manchester RIGS Group

Our display at Bramhall Library seems to have aroused little interest probably due to the cramped positioning of the display in the children’s library. However, the librarians in Stockport library reported keen interest and we have recruited two volunteers. Our thanks to John Price who supported us there.

On 23rd April I attended a meeting at Manchester University with Natural England and the Greater Manchester Geological Unit concerning the revised Local Geology Action Plan. GMGU stated that they would bear the cost and distribution of the revised LGAP to interested parties.

I attended the North West Regional Geodiversity Partnership meeting at Natural England’s Office in Wigan on 9th May, along with representatives from Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria RIGS Groups, Mandy North from Natural England and Keith Ambrose from BGS. Among the topics discussed were funding, Merseyside RIGS data and status, update of NW Region LGAPS, management of records and site selection criteria. The next Partnership meeting is to be held on Tuesday, 2nd September 2008, at Natural England Offices, Wigan.

We now have six sites ready for designation as RIGS. They are - Poise Brook, Stockport; Arden Bridge Quarries, Tameside; Park Bridge, Oldham; Rochdale Cemetery; Woodside Quarry, New Hey, Rochdale and Haigh Plantations, Wigan.

Our new logo, we hope, reflects the geology of the Greater Manchester area. The plant is a copy of a fossil of Neuropteris rarinervis, (ref.LL879) found in the Carboniferous Westphalian A above the Quarter Mine and is from Coney Green Colliery in Radcliffe. We would like to thank Phyllis in the Manchester Museum Resource Centre for providing us with a selection of plant fossils to copy.

Marjorie E. Mosley, Secretary, Greater Manchester RIGS Group

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Field trip to Shap/Orton

The trip to the Shap/Orton area led by Christine Arkwright in May was very interesting and most enjoyable. The weather was generally good apart from a thunderstorm (complete with forked lightning in the distance) during the last couple of locations. We saw some very interesting geology: limestone, dolomite, Shap granite, rhyolite, springs tainted by sulphur and Triassic sandstones, together with plenty of fossils. We also got to look round Brough Castle - up close and personal with the rocks.

We had a lovely picnic in the sunshine watched bemusedly by sheep (they obviously have never met the sheep on Mam Tor or would have mugged us!!) A detailed report has been prepared and will be submitted to the NW Geologist. Photos of the event will appear on the website shortly.

Jane Michael

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Membership matters

The 2008 membership renewals are now complete.

We are sorry that nine members decided to leave us, but are delighted that eight new members have joined us this year. Please continue to encourage your friends and acquaintances to come to our events - and maybe they’ll join too!

Fred Owen, Membership Secretary

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Field trip to Germany

The participants have written a report about their trip to Germany

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ESTA 41st Annual Course and Conference

ESTA, the Earth Science Teacher’s Association are holding their 41st Annual Course and Conference in Liverpool between the 12th and 14th September 2008. The theme this year is “Global Issues”.

The main course and conference activities will be held at Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool. Accommodation has been arranged at Liverpool University’s Rankin Hall of Residence.

Keynote Speakers :- Professor Bill Maguire (Benfield-Greig Hazard Research Centre at UCL) - “Mega-tsunamis and super-volcanoes as a cause of destruction on a global scale”

Professor Jim Marshall (University of Liverpool) - “Climate change and the impacts of climate change over geological time”

Field visits on Sunday to Brymbo, Wirral, and others.

Further details and booking forms etc can be found on

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