Monday, 24 September 2018
The Friday evening kicked off with an evening reception meal and talks given by Holger Kessler, Callum Irving (TSP Projects), Dr Vanessa Banks and myself (Hannah Gow). We gave an overview of the Quaternary history, mapping and modelling of the areas we were going to be visiting over the next two days. The talks went on quite late into the evening and some think we may have beat a BGS record, anyone else given a presentation later than 11pm on a Friday evening?!
Even after a late evening, we were all raring to go on Saturday morning and we started off the day with site visits to overlook the Escrick Moraine. The day was led by Jon Ford, Holger Kessler and Callum Irving, providing an in-depth narrative of the geological history and engineering properties of the ground in the area.
As typical for a field visit, it rained for most of the day and we came away with an extra couple of inches height due to the clay that stuck to the bottom of our wellingtons at Wilberfoss Quarry! It is a good job us geologists are a hardy lot!
The Sunday was led by Dr Tony Cooper and he took us to various sites around Ripon to look at sinkholes. Our first stop of the day was a sinkhole that had opened up very recently, within the last five months, one to add to the BGS records! At first glance, you could mistake it for a lovely village pond, if it were not for all the orange fencing around it and the fact that holes like that seem to appear quite a lot in Ripon! Ripon has a history of sinkholes due to the gypsum under the ground. Gypsum dissolves in water causing cavities to open and the ground above it can collapse to form a sinkhole. It is believed that the sinkholes in Ripon, may have even been the inspiration behind Alice in Wonderland falling down a deep hole following the white rabbit! In the afternoon, Dave Morgan gave us all a demonstration of the passive seismic techniques being used to give us a better understanding of how and why sinkholes form.
It was an interesting and informative weekend with lots of discussion surrounding the engineering geology of the region. I think we have all come away with new friends in the geology world and ideas that we can apply to our own work/research.
Click here to find out more about the EGGS.
Click here for further information on gypsum and Ripon.
Photos courtesy of Craig Parry (Atkins) and Hannah Gow (BGS)
Thursday, 20 September 2018
|Sunset over Victoria Falls|
|Group picture at the end of the epidemiology training course|
Between training courses there was an Early Career Researcher lunch offering a networking opportunity for young researchers to meet and mingle with other young researchers as well as seasoned scientists from the SEGH community. The aim of this lunch was to start an Early Career Researcher Group which will provide a mentorship programme within the SEGH. Check out the SEGH website for more information coming soon.
During the afternoon training session I decided to attend the: ‘epidemiologic study design and interpretation- with application to cancer, health and the environment’ course run by Dr Joachim Schuz and Dr Valerie McCormack from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC-WHO). We were introduced to two study designs: cohort and case-control, commonly used in the field of epidemiology. This training course consisted of a taught lecture to introduce us to the science of epidemiology before we were given the task of designing our own case-control study in a simulated scenario in which a mine site was thought to be causing liver cancer. At the end of the course we presented our designs to the group. The course provided a fantastic opportunity to gain a valuable insight into how epidemiological studies are conducted.
Overall, the conference was very successful! It was great to share my research with the wider scientific community and engage in some wonderful training courses. I look forward to being more involved with the SEGH early career research group in the future.
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).
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
After months of preparation and anticipation, the day finally arrived. On 26 July, the last two core scanners were delivered and moved into place within the new Core Scanning Facility at BGS, Keyworth.
Monday, 10 September 2018
Wednesday, 5 September 2018
|A handful of members from the UK DeepCHALLA team|
East Africa, is home to the East African Rift (EAR) Valley, one of the most extensive active rifts on Earth. The EAR valley represents the formation of a new ocean, created by two slowly moving diverging continental plates. This has resulted in volcanic and seismic activity, as well as producing some of the world’s most dynamic and unique ecosystems including the EAR lakes. These lakes are some of the oldest, deepest and largest in the world. Thus, these lakes have sediment records millions to hundreds of thousands of years old, capturing long-term changes in their local and regional environment. In addition, past eruptions from volcanoes along the EAR emitted ash that not only is relatively easy to date but provided excellent preservation of the remains of our human ancestors and the megafauna they hunted. This resulted in the region being termed “the cradle of mankind”, globally important archaeological sites which have advanced our understanding on the evolution of our own and other species. During the AFQUA conference, attendees were lucky to visit such globally unique ecological and archaeological sites.
The international group of scientists working on DeepCHALLA are investigating ~250,000 years of environmental change using sediments retrieved from the bottom of Lake Challa, a steep-sided crater lake on the Kenyan, Tanzanian border, close to Mt Kilimanjaro. Whilst technically not considered an EAR lake, Challa’s creation is a result of the volcanic activity caused by rifting. Presentations and workshops were conducted by all four of the UK-based scientists working on the DeepCHALLA record, and involved how to produce reliable radiocarbon chronologies by Dr. Maarten Blaauw, Queens University Belfast and understanding the patterns and drivers of fires in Africa by Dr Daniele Colombaroli from Royal Holloway alongside others. Heather and Erin ran a workshop on how lake sediments can be used to understand natural hazards.
Alongside Erin, Heather spoke about how we can use fossilised algae from photosynthesisers (microscopic to larger plants) in lake sediments to understand climate and human impacts on lake ecological communities. Like many lakes globally, lakes in East Africa and those across the continent have been subject to climatic variability and pollution from the intensification of human activity and growing human populations Understanding the timing and magnitude of ecological change can help pinpoint impacts and causes of environmental modifications and ultimately guide where management should focus.
|Erin enjoying the volcaniclastic deposits of the dried up river bed found|
in the catchment of Lake Challa
This blog was written by Dr Heather Moorhouse, Diatom Isotope Research Technician working at Lancaster University, alongside the stable isotope facility at the British Geological Survey and Dr Catherine (Erin) Martin-Jones at the University of Cambridge.