Monthly talks in Cambridge

All talks are at 7.30 pm (doors open 7.00 pm). Everyone welcome, free to CGS members, small charge for non members.

Monday 12th September 2016
“An insight into the economic geology of Burwell”

Reg Nicholls, Cambridgeshire Geological Society member

How the local geology has, for centuries, influenced the economy of the Burwell area. Examples include brick and cement production and the coprolite industry.

Monday 10th October 2016
“Mass extinctions in Earth history”
Stephen Kershaw, Brunel University
There have been five major extinction events in Earth history so far. This talk will focus on these events and their possible causes and also on the role of microbes in the aftermath of mass extinctions. The Permian-Triassic boundary contains a remarkable deposit of microbial fossils, forming a rock called microbialite, which formed very soon after the extinction event in many places in the world, especially in Tethys Ocean. The processes that controlled formation of the microbialite, and its rapid disappearance from the rock record soon after it developed, are not fully understood. This presentation will explore the nature of the microbialite and its environments in order to consider the key questions.n the role of microbes in the aftermath of mass extinctions.

Monday 14th November 2016
The mass grave in the coal mine – the iguanodons of Bernissart”

Franziska Norman, geology student, Open University and Cambridgeshire Geological Society member

The story behind the discovery of the first complete dinosaur skeletons and what over a hundred years of research has revealed about how these animals lived.

Our AGM will also take place during the evening.

Monday 12th December 2016
“Tales of exploration – gold in County Mayo”
Steve Thompson, exploration geologist, Cambridge

In the 1800’s Ireland was mapped, at least this part of County Mayo, on horseback, or so it seems. They missed a lot, mapping this area as ‘Lower Palaeozoic sediments’. They missed the listvenites, fuchites, tuffs and gold rich quartz veining just to name a few. Found by my colleague in the middle of a Mayo bog, these rocks opened up a whole new interpretation of this area’s geology.

Monday 9th January 2017
“Gemology and geology”
Gill Mallett, gemologist, Cambridge
The identification of gemstones and how gemstones relate to geological processes.

Monday 13th February 2017
“The Fens – that sinking feeling”
Pat Doody, Coastal Ecologist
The fascinating story of sea level change in the fens and its relationship with the position of the Fen Edge, the fenland soils, water channels, settlements and human history. This talk links to our project The Fen Edge Trail.

Monday 13th March 2017
“Life in the Oxford Clay sea”
Naomi Stevenson 
Dive in to the fascinating environment of this famous Jurassic sea.

Monday 10th April 2017
“Curiosity on Mars – exploring through the eyes of a rover”
Dr Susanne Schwenzer, Open University
The Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity landed in Gale Crater on Mars on 6th of August 2012. The Gale Crater site was selected because orbiter data had revealed interesting mineralogy in the central mount – Mt. Sharp – within the crater. Clay and sulfate was found and mapped from orbit. Since setting wheels on Martian soil, the rover has explored an ancient lake bed within the crater, found exciting mineralogy, measured the atmosphere and the noble gases and methane within; it now is on its way to the exciting outcrops of clay and sulfate minerals in the foothills of Mt. Sharp. The talk will provide an overview over the rover, its instruments, and the exciting findings at Gale Crater.

Monday 8th May 2017
Change of talk due to original speaker not being able to come.

“Update on the Great Fen, Cambridgeshire”
Henry Stanier, Great Fen Ecology and Recording Officer for the Wildlife Trust

The talk includes some aerial photos and video of the landscape and some additional geological information on the area, from our Geosites team.


Monday 12th June 2017
“Tales from the Fen Edge: past environments. peat, marl and mud”
Dr Steve Boreham, University of Cambridge Geography Department
This talk is linked to our project The Fen Edge Trail.

Details of the talks for September to December 2017 will be available in the summer.

For more information on our talks programme please contact our Programme Secretary Franziska Norman on

Friends Meeting House

Friends Meeting House

91 – 93 Hartington Grove,

If possible please use the Hall car park otherwise please park in Coleridge Road or Hartington Grove towards Hills Road.

Please note the Meeting House is on the north side of Hartington Grove (shown as Quaker Meeting)


98th Conservazione! 1:00 to 6:00 pm Friday 16th and 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Saturday 17th June 2017

We will, again, be participating in the annual Conversazione exhibition on the wonders of the natural world organised by Cambridge Natural History Society. Please come along and see our stand and those of other local organisations involved in the natural word. Entry is free. Department of Zoology, Downing St, Cambridge CB2 3EJ. More information 

Geo-East Events

A day at the Sedgwick Museum, Cambridge 12th July 2017, 11:00 – 16:00 Contact us for more information

Courses at the Institute of Continuing Education of University of Cambridge

The ICE holds many interesting courses, at Madingley Hall near Cambridge. The following can be booked now:

A weekend course on ‘Evolution and the fossil record‘ on 2nd-4th June 2017. Tutor is Dr Peter Sheldon. This practical course for beginners will explore current ideas on evolution from a geological viewpoint. Among the topics discussed will be natural selection, the origin of the species, major events in the evolution of life and recent discoveries. There will be a field trip to Needingworth quarry, to collect and identify fossils.

A day course on ‘The Geological History of Britain‘ on 11th – 13th May 2018 Tutor is Dr Peter Sheldon. Almost everywhere in the British Isles has at some stage been torn by earthquakes, scorched by volcanoes, scraped by ice, covered with seas or raised to high mountains. This course will piece together the evidence for this dramatic past from the rocks, minerals and fossils found all over the country. The course is suitable for beginners and will include a field trip.

© Cambridgeshire Geological Society