Home > Publications > Proceedings > Proceedings No. 13  2008

Proceedings 13

Summary of papers

Rosenbaum, M.S. (2008). The ground beneath our feet: 200 years of geology in the Marches. 4pp.

One hundred and forty geology enthusiasts from across the country gathered in Ludlow on Thursday 13th September 2007 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the world’s oldest geological society, and just over 175 years since the visit by Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, who is generally acknowledged as the person who unravelled the Transition rocks, those beneath the Coal Measures that hitherto had defied scientific description.
The sessions began by showing how important the ground is to the economic prosperity of the region, ranging from its influence on agriculture, through provision of building stones from Whitcliffe and Bromfield, to the winning of minerals such as iron, copper and coal on Clee Hill. There is also an intrinsic interest in the evolution of life, for which Ludlovian rocks are world famous, for instance the Ludlow Bone Bed.

Download PDF

Rayner, C. & Collings, A. (2008). Some words of welcome by the organising societies. 3pp.

Welcoming addresses by the Chairs of the Shropshire Geological Society and the West Midlands Regional Group of the Geological Society of London, the national society for geoscience in the United Kingdom.

A reception following the symposium was kindly hosted by the Friends of Ludlow Museum in the Castle Square site, and the votes of thanks were given beneath the very drawing that Murchison had prepared for his own lecture in the town, in 1854 to the Ludlow Natural History Society.

Download PDF

Toghill, P. (2008). An introduction to 700 million years of earth history in Shropshire and Herefordshire. 17pp.

The beautiful landscape of the Welsh Marches is underlain by a rock sequence representing 10 of the 12 recognised periods of geological time. This remarkable variety, covering 700 million years of Earth history, has resulted from the interplay of three main factors:

  1. erosion and faulting which have produced a very complex outcrop pattern;
  2. southern Britain’s position near to plate boundaries through most of late Precambrian and Phanerozoic time; and, most importantly,
  3. the incredible 12,000 km, 500 million year, journey of southern Britain across the Earth’s surface from the southern hemisphere to the northern, caused by plate tectonic processes.

Download PDF

Richards, C. (2008). The mark of distinction: local character shaped by landscapes and building stones. 2pp.

Within South Shropshire the partnership of geologists and planners helps inform an understanding of the historical and architectural heritage. This provides a practical basis for exploring options for re-sourcing local materials, helping conserve the local distinctiveness of the built environment

Download PDF

Lloyd, D.J. (2008). Local character shaped by landscapes. 6pp.

The landscapes of The Marches, as seen through the works of great artists, provide an insight of the region at the time it was visited by the pioneer geologists. Such paintings can sometimes reveal details of the ground that have since been lost, or features whose importance might otherwise be overlooked.

Download PDF

Jenkinson, A. (2008). From the Ground, Up: vernacular building stones in a border landscape. 16pp.

A look at the way in which vernacular buildings reflect the underlying geology, enabling them to be read as a geological map, and a consideration of the importance of recognising and conserving this degree of distinctiveness in the restoration of stone buildings.

Some distinctive lithologies have a very restricted outcrop, yielding building stones for local use which may be the sole (local) source of supply, reflecting close proximity to the quarries and yielding the most accessible exposures today. Examples include Alberbury Breccia, Acton Scott Limestone, the Pentamerus Sandstone of Norbury and Wentnor, amongst others. These are the stones which give local distinctiveness to individual villages or estates. But others are equally effective at reflecting the local geology, from the pale grey calcareous siltstones of Corvedale to the Carboniferous Limestone of Llanymynech.

Download PDF

Cocks, L.R.M. (2008). Palaeogeography of the Lower Palaeozoic. 9pp.

The chief purpose of this brief review is to describe how the disparate parts of these islands have come together, with particular reference to their amalgamation in the Palaeozoic. It is now known that, prior to the Caledonide Orogeny of the Silurian, Britain was divided between two major terranes and has thus only been united for less than 10% of geological time.

Download PDF

Siveter, David J. (2008). The Silurian Herefordshire Konservat-Lagerstatte: a unique window on the evolution of life. 4pp.

The Herefordshire (Silurian) Konservat-Lagerstatte is emerging as an exciting palaeontological discovery of global importance. It contains a variety of small marine invertebrates such as worms, molluscs, starfish, and brachiopods, together with a range of arthropods, plus many intriguing forms of yet unknown affinity.

All of the fossils are beautifully preserved with extraordinary fidelity and, in three dimensions, complete with details of their soft anatomy. They occur as calcite in-fills within nodules entombed in an ancient volcanic ash that fell onto a moderately deep sea floor some 425 million years ago. The soft-bodied animals that became preserved are unknown elsewhere. The specimens are recovered from the rock as ‘virtual fossils’, by the use of micro-grinding, digital imaging and computer reconstruction techniques.

Download PDF

Baldwin, H. & Dunne, P. (2008). Geology in the community: the role of national government. 2pp.

Attention is paid to the need for geoscientists to engage with politicians, helping to establish priorities through discussion and informed debate. Examples are drawn from SSSI protection, geohazards and climate change to illustrate how geology fits in with the broader social and political framework of the nation.

Download PDF

French, G. (2008). Geology in the community: with particular reference to the Shropshire Geodiversity Action Plan. 1pp.

The Shropshire Geodiversity Action Plan (SGAP) has been prepared with support from Natural England by a working group of the Shropshire Geological Forum and is one of a series of Local Geodiversity Action Plans which have been published in England under a process started by English Nature in 1998.

Download PDF

Torrens, H.S. (2008). Geological pioneers in the Marches. 12pp.

Shropshire provides a birthplace for the world’s Industrial ‘Revolution’ from the early 1700s. This had used Shropshire’s abundant, and varied, geological materials; like coal, iron ore, pitch/oil, and its various limestones and clays. Most commentators have however seen the rise of geology in Shropshire as much later, dating only from 1839, when Roderick Murchison, the ‘King of Siluria’ rocks in print in his The Silurian System and described its wondrous geology.

The truth is more complex. There was much geological activity here before Murchison, much of it inspired by its early industrialisation, with a number of often fascinating figures. These include the sadly forgotten, and Cardington-based, Robert Townson and two Darwins. Residents and visitors have included James Hutton, the supposed ‘father of modern geology, and two important members-to-be of the worlds oldest Geological Society, that of London, founded in 1807. One was soon to guide William Buckland on his first ever field trip and the other produced the first properly geological publication (and on Shropshire) which that Society ever produced, both in 1810.

Download PDF

Stevens, Rodney L. (2008). Challenges for the geoscientist: an international perspective. 6pp.

The field of environmental geology is used to address the topic of challenges for the geoscientist. A few diverse examples are used to illustrate some successful, and some questionable, applications of geoscience knowledge, and also the role that community contact has had in these applications.

Download PDF

Rosenbaum, M.S. & Hodgson, J.M. (2008). In remembrance of Dr Peter Cross. 3pp.

Delegates at the Marches Festival of Geology Symposium reflected on the life of Dr Peter Cross, who died peacefully at his home on Bircher Common, Leominster, on Monday 9th July 2007 at the age of 85. He had been hoping to attend the Symposium in person and his daughter, Stella, told us that he was actually browsing through the programme for the day when he collapsed in his chair.

Peter revolutionised our understanding of the landscape in the Teme Valley and the Devensian history of the North Herefordshire area.

Download PDF

Pannett, D. (2008). The Ice Age Legacy in North Shropshire. 6pp.

An ‘arctic’ landscape has been unveiled in North Shropshire by geologists, making it an ideal area in which to demonstrate the role of Ice Ages in the origin of our landscape.

The classification of glacial deposits on published geological maps is shown to have both helped and hindered subsequent research. Boreholes for mineral assessment, construction and groundwater studies have enlarged a picture once restricted to exposures in gravel pits and small river, road or rail cuts. Progress has been made by appreciating that glacial deposits are three dimensional systems produced in varied depositional environments.
Patterns in the hidden surface of the bedrock are also revealed, as is the impact on local river systems. These aspects are discussed in relation to the evolution of theories concerning glacial lakes

Download PDF

Richards, A. (2008). Glaciation and drainage evolution in the southern Welsh Borderland. 8pp.

An introduction to the complex causes of changes in river behaviour, looking particularly at the longer term development of fluvial landscapes using the response of river systems in Herefordshire and the surrounding area to environmental change during the Quaternary. This draws attention to the need for more research in this aspect of the landscape, necessary for a full appreciation of the recent geological history of the Welsh Borderland.

Download PDF

Rosenbaum, M.S. (2008). The future for geology in the Marches. 4pp.

One of the reasons that the Marches is so interesting and varied is that it is a geological frontier zone. The evolution of geological studies in the region is explored, notably by the influential Ludlow Research Group, setting the scene for future work in the area.

Download PDF

Dewey, J.F. & Rosenbaum, M.S. (2008). Future avenues of research in the Welsh Borderland, with particular reference to terrane tectonics. 10pp.

What happens at plate boundaries where tectonic plates diverge, converge and slide past each other is considered in relation to the deep geology of the Welsh Marches.

It is argued that an important goal is to relate the detailed structure of extant and extinct plate/terrane boundary zones to present and past relative plate motion. This involves study of rock fabric evolution, block rotation and deformation through detailed detrital petrography, dating the zircons, determining palaeomagnetic inclination and declination, and analysis of small scale brittle structures.

Download PDF

Schofield, D.I. (2008). The future for geology in the Marches: a BGS perspective. 7pp.

The British Geological Survey has a long history of geological study in the Marches starting in the 1830’s and led by Sir Henry de la Beche who oversaw the original one-inch geological survey of the area.

The current phase of work by the BGS started in the mid 1980’s and has largely been driven by the requirement to complete 1:50,000 scale geological map coverage of Wales and the Borders. High quality academic studies had been conducted in the area and the results needed to be integrated with the Survey’s mapping. This new phase commenced with a transect across the central part of the Welsh Basin in the Rhayader and Llanilar districts, aiming to establish a workable stratigraphy for the turbidite sequences within the basin informed by new concepts on deep marine sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy and the relationship between depositional facies, eustacy and tectonics.

Plans for the future will build on the earlier work while carrying out studies of Ordovician to Silurian basin to shelf transitions including the Knighton area, and it is hoped to use this as a basis for reappraising the geology of the adjacent Ludlow Anticline. The BGS will also be commencing a programme of collaborative studies of the Quaternary succession of North Shropshire, to further the pioneering studies which the Survey instigated in the region during the early part of the 20th century.

Download PDF

Banks, L. (2008). Closing Address: the Banks family and their support for geological studies in the Marches. 2pp.

The Banks family forbears include Richard William Banks and Sir Charles Lyell. No fewer than four of Banks’ forbears and kinsmen were amongst the twelve who signed the petition to Murchison in 1833 asking him to publish his work on The Silurian System.

Today the huge need is to proselytise the relevance of geology. It is clear that it is relevant to some, but the need is to get the message out to the young that this is not only a fascinating but also an important and relevant science.

Download PDF

Complete volume, p.1-122

All papers
Download PDF

Annual compilations of the Proceedings are printed and distributed to the major geological libraries and resource centres where they may be accessed. Click here for contact details.

To cite an article from this publication:
Toghill, P. (2008). An introduction to 700 million years of earth history in Shropshire and Herefordshire. Proceedings of the Shropshire Geological Society13, 8-24. ISSN 1750-855X (Print), ISSN 1750-8568 (Online)

© 2008 Shropshire Geological Society

Proceedings No 13 2008