|Seismogram images of the earthquake on 20/07/17|
Friday, 21 July 2017
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
|The Chew Bahir project team.|
Our colleagues on the project are from the UK, Ethiopia, Germany and the US. Some are busy working out how old each bit of the sediment core is, e.g. using radiocarbon dating at the top and dating volcanic ash layers towards the bottom. Others are looking at changes in the type of algae found down the sediment core, to look at changes in how fresh or salty the lake water was over time. Some are taking the reconstructed climate changes and relating them to changes in human history. We want to establish what the climate was like when our species, Homo sapiens, evolved and then spread out of Africa. Some people have suggested that when climate changes from more variable to more stable, that can lead to movements of populations, but we want to test that hypothesis.
| From L-R: Location of one of the more famous Potsdam conferences, where Churchill, Truman and Stalin decided how|
to divide up Germany at the end of the Second World War; the famous Bridge of Spies in Potsdam.
Monday, 17 July 2017
Hello, my name is Olivier, I am a PhD student at the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry (University of Nottingham and BGS) and I have recently attended the BUFI Science Festival 2017, hosted in The Lyell Centre, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.
BUFI (BGS University Funding initiative) supports over 100 projects and the Science Festival is an opportunity for all the PhD students to come and present a poster detailing their work, and to discuss it with both scientific and non-scientific BGS and Heriot-Watt staff members. This year there were 29 presenters with fantastic posters covering a wide range of topics including; environmental geochemistry, volcanology, hydrology and glaciology. My research revolves around iodine geodynamics and plant availability, and this year I presented my poster on ‘Iodine uptake, translocation and storage in spinach and tomatoes’.
Iodine is an essential micronutrient involved in the production of the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Approximately one-third of the world’s population are at risk of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD); the most severe effects occur during fetal development; leading to goitre, stillbirth, cretinism and mental impairment. The most widely-used method for reducing IDD is dietary supplementation with iodised salt; however, poor salt treatment and food processing reduces its effectiveness.
Due to the epidemic levels of IDD, alternative supplementation methods are required: iodine phytofortification is such a strategy. In my poster I outlined how one aspect of my project aims to develop the fundamental understanding of iodine uptake mechanisms and translocation pathways within plants, and assess the practicality and effectiveness of foliar-spray biofortification as a method of increasing dietary iodine intake.
|The Lyell Centre|
As the festival drew to a close a number of awards were presented; including The Lyell Centre staff prize, a BUFI students peer prize and a highly commended prize. I was lucky enough to win the best overall poster presentation prize! I had a great day and would just like to give a massive thank you to Jon Naden, Ellie Evans and Ann Evans for organising a fantastic event, I'm really looking forward to next year’s BUFI Science Festival.
By Olivier Humphrey
The PhD is supervised under the umbrella of the Centre for Environmental Geochemistry: Dr Scott Young, Dr Liz Bailey and Professor Neil Crout (University of Nottingham) and Dr Louise Ander and Dr Michael Watts (BGS)
Friday, 14 July 2017
|Guests at the Impossible Views exhibition|
|A large pebble and some of the 'mummified' wood that can be found at the Formation|
Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Friday, 7 July 2017
Thursday, 6 July 2017
In June 2017, the ninth meeting of the Isotopes in Biogenic Silica (IBiS) working group met in Blanes, Spain. The meeting was arranged with the aim of those interested in "silica, silicon and isotopes" to meet to discuss recent advances and discoveries in:
- biological and molecular processes involved in the production of biogenic silica
- ecological and biogeochemical mechanisms in the production of silica stocks
- silica isotope tracing of processes in both modern and ancestral environments
- biotechnology of silica
The meeting was organised by the Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Blanes (CEAB-CSIC) and attracted around 50 researchers from around the world. It was clear from the meeting that the use of silica in biotechnology (mainly as a carrier for other elements that need to be distributed in tiny quantities) is a huge growth area. Other important advances are being made around the signal retained in the oxygen and silica isotopes within the biogenic silica structure, as well as the advancements in analytical protocols and laboratory inter-calibration exercises.
Blanes, the gateway to the Costa Brava, was a relaxed setting for a conference. Although it is a popular tourist town, due to its amazing beach front, it was still early in the season so very quiet. Of note to geologists is the Sa Palomera, a rocky promontory that protrudes into the sea, made of fairly coarse-grained granite (which accounts for the wide, golden beaches).
Please contact Melanie Leng if you are interested in all aspects of the geochemistry of biogenic silica and would like to join the working group. We hope the next meeting to be in Northern Europe in June 2019.
Tuesday, 4 July 2017
There was a small army of BGS staff in dark blue t-shirts ready to answer questions and guide people as they got stuck-in to over fifty different activities and learning experiences. And to top it all, there was even an ice cream van!
As well as a series of talks, the BGS site in Keyworth, Nottingham, was divided into Learning Zones, each one with a different theme:
The Red Zone included demonstrations and activities on plate tectonics, earthquakes, tsunami, volcano mapping, coastal erosion and mapping minerals on the sea bed (with thanks to NOC). You could see how mountains are shaped and unearth the secrets of soil or play a protect-your-soil game. There were fossils through the ages and you could even make your own fossils with Rockwatch, the nationwide club for young geologists.
|Getting eaten alive!|
|Fly above and below the landscape on a virtual 3D tour of the UK|
|Discover information in our boreholes|
|The sand pit that changes colour!|
The Yellow Zone displayed our maps and apps, which are useful to anyone with an interest in geology, from engineers and other scientists to homeowners, gardeners and walkers, or even minecraft gamers. There was a giant floor map and a place to learn about how we use rocks and minerals in the home.
The Green Zone showcased our landslides and sinkholes research and gave the opportunity for people to talk to the experts about hazards and engineering.
The Purple Zone introduced the Anthropocene - a new geological era that encapsulates human driven biological, chemical and physical changes to the Earth’s system. You could dig through this era in a sandpit of discovery and also find out about the secret life of your mobile phone! You could also pan for gold!
The Blue Zone was full of splashingly good watery fun where you could learn about the water cycle, including how aquifers work. How do we measure water levels and water quality?
|A tour of the BGS core store|
|The secret life of your mobile phone|
|Panning for gold!|
|Walk like a dinosaur - with thanks to Plymouth University Earth Sciences Department|
|The BGS Open Day 2017 - a day of fun, interest and geological learning!|