Wednesday, 25 May 2016

#30DaysWild Challenge 2016

Every June the Wildlife Trusts run a campaign called 30 Days Wild. This year I shall be taking part! It is my first time doing the challenge, and I’ve been planning lots of things to do over the month. The idea is to encourage wildness, exploration and an involvement with the natural world. The daily things can be anything, from walking barefoot, to doing outdoor yoga, or growing veg to hunting out woodlice under a stone. Little things that help you reconnect with nature!

There are lots of ideas on this website, and you can also download the app to your phone. Make room for wildness! I will be blogging, twittering and instragramming pics from my #30DaysWild challenge. I am @hammijam; find me!

If you're in the West Midlands, look here for ideas.

Ragged Robin.

Geoconservation at the Rowley Hills

I joined the Black Country Geological Society and the Friends of Rowley Hills for a geoconservation session at Portway Hill in Sandwell. 

Part of the rock face following some conservation work. We exposed more of the rock face to show the rocks and spheroidal weathering,

Close up of some of the spheroidal weathering.

Cors Dyfi Osprey Project

All links open in new windows, and all pics were taken by me!

I went on an office day out to Wales! We went to join the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust for the day, to see how another Trust works, how reserves management differs across areas and environments, and also to go and see their osprey project at one of their reserves. It was a glorious sunny day, and a beaut of a drive in a minibus; a wrong turn meant a trip up at 20% incline, some rocks and driving through the Snowdonia National Park. I saw my first ever red kite (bird), a lizard, two water buffalo, and three ospreys. Pretty Good Day!


Along the boardwalk heading to the osprey observatory.

Osprey observatory.

Was takin' photos through the 'scope using my phone... see Glesni's head popping out!

Water buffalo!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Urban Geology: Rymans on Temple St

The shop surround of Rymans Stationary on Temple St is made of a real nice polished limestone which is jam-packed full of crinoid fossils.

These fossils are the fragmented remains of stems of echinoderms, called crinoids. These looked like sea lilies, and their stems resemble a roll of polo mints. This location has fossils in both horizontal and longitudinal cross section. As it is full of broken pieces of crinoid, we can tell that the environment was high energy – the waves were strong enough to break the crinoids into pieces.  

This rock is called Derbydene Marble and I haven’t found it anywhere else in central Birmingham. It is from Derbyshire.

A section with my fingers for scale. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Urban Geology: Colmore Row Doorways

These doorways are the best doorways in Birmingham and that is a FACT. The black surrounds are a type of limestone, called Frosterly Marble, which is extracted in Durham (near Frosterly). The white marks are fossils of mostly corals, some of them are horizontal cross sections (the circles) while some are longitudinal sections (the long worm shapes). This stone is Carboniferous in age, so around 350 million years old. The shapes of these coral fossils tell us that during their growth stage, they were knocked over – these types of coral prefer to grow vertically, so any changes in direction tell us they fell over, grew straight, got knocked over, and grew straight again.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Urban Geology: Grand Central Birmingham

Grand Central is the newest shopping complex in central Birmingham, replacing the old Pallasades shopping centre above New Street Station. The floor of this new shopping area is packed full of fossils, all of which are marine. There are two types of limestone here; a beige Jura Limestone from Germany, and a black, bituminous limestone from Spain.

Sponge fossil
The beige limestone has been on this blog before as it is used in the shop surrounds of the new Longbridge Town Centre in south Birmingham. Many of the same fossils feature at Grand Central – belemnite guards, ammonites, sponges, and fossil debris, as well as stylolites. This rock is Jurassic in age, so about 145 – 200 million years old.

en echelon tension gashes

The black limestone, Nero Marquina Marble, has stripes called en echelon gashes. These represent cracks in the rock as it was stretched under tension. The cracks were infilled with hydrothermal fluids which crystallised out. This rock is Cretaceous in age, so between 66 – 140 million years old. The white cliffs of Dover are the same age.

Grand Central will feature in Part Three of the Birmingham Building Stones guide.

Ammonite with hand for scale

Belemnite guard with phragmocone

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Urban Geology: Birmingham Town Hall

One of my favourite spots to fossil hunt in Birmingham city centre. This building is brick built but clad in limestone, which was quarried on Anglesey, north Wales, at a place called Penmon. The rock is Penmon Limestone and is full of marine fossils including corals and shells. The corals are really quite spectacular. These fossils are Carboniferous in age, so are around 350 million years old.

Monday, 2 May 2016

#geobritainroadtrip – Lyme Regis

Text in blue opens in a new tab

I have been to Lyme Regis a few times now. I first went on holiday with my family when I was younger, and I have since been back when on fieldwork with college and university, and more recently as part of a #geobritainroadtrip that the bestie and I did. Lyme Regis is part of the #100Geosites list put together by the Geological Society of London

Lyme Regis is known as a fossil hunter & collectors heaven; the rocks here are very productive. It is also well known as the birthplace of Mary Anning, my all-time favourite Science Woman™. Kelly and I visited Lyme Regis to coincide with the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival, as I had never been before.

Personally, the fossil fest is just not my thing, at all. I did enjoy being back in Lyme, and we went fossil hunting down the far end of the beach, found some cracking samples, then nearly died on the slog back up the hill to the carpark.

Mini Mary Anning had her pic taken with a ichthyosaur in a fossil shop - the shop lady was VERY excited :D

I want this floor on my future doorstep