Raising Horizons — TrowelBlazers needs your help

TrowelBlazers has teamed up with photographer Leonora Saunders and Prospect Union on a really exciting project. Fourteen modern day pioneers, dressed as their historical counterparts, photographed for an all-new exhibition at the Geological Society in February 2017.

It’s going to look amazing, it’s going to be fun, but –most importantly– it’s going to highlight women working in the Geosciences, and the challenges they face(d), both today and in the past.

But we need your help to make it happen. We need to raise £10,000 (update: £2.5k raised so far!). And if we can raise more, we will be able to take the exhibition on tour, visit schools, and do all sorts of extra awesome stuff.

Watch the video (complete with the Tiny TrowelBlazers).

Read our Guardian on line article: We Must Highlight These TrowelBLazers

Then, if you can, please donate here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/raising-horizons-200-years-of-trowelblazing-women-photography–2#/

If you can’t afford to donate yourself, please do still get involved to help us make a difference: share the link to our crowdfunder, and our blogposts on trowelblazers.com to read the word about the importance of women’s contributions to archaeology, geology, and palaeontology.

Walking Through Time: Jurassic Coast — the reading list

There is so much packed into episode 3 of Walking Through Time, that this reading list only does the science and history partial justice. But here goes anyway…

[Where I can I’ve included links to open access of free to access papers, or popular summaries]

Ocean Anoxia

[Strictly speaking, the anoxia in the seas at Kimmeridge is only local scale, rather than ocean anoxia]

Anoxia *generally* seems to happen when something (eg increased nutrients to the sea waters) cause a sudden increase in the amount of algae, which then use up most or all of the oxygen in the surrounding waters. These algae then also die and sink to the seafloor in a kind of sludge, which is the source of the oil in the shale beds. Other factors can contribute, though. For example, warm water can hold less oxygen, so warmer climates are more susceptible to anoxic events. And warm climates also tend to have more weathering on land (increased rainfall, and run-off), meaning more nutrients enter the oceans, further increasing that risk.

This is a nice intro to the multifaceted causes of anoxic events throughout the history of the Earth:

Katja M. Meyer and Lee R. Kump (2008) Oceanic Euxinia in Earth History: Causes and Consequences. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 36:251–88. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.earth.36.031207.124256 [pdf free here]

And Wiggers Paul Wignall has written an ace book on the subject of the Permo-Triassic extinction. It is well worth a read: The Worst of Times: How Earth Survived Eighty Million Years of Extinctions

More specifically, here are some refs for anoxia in:

The Late Jurassic (like at Kimmeridge) 

Wiggers *cough* Professor Wignall on the subject:

P.B. Wignall*, R. Newton (2001). Black shales on the basin margin: a model based on examples from the Upper Jurassic of the Boulonnais, northern France. Sedimentary Geology 144, 335-356. [free pdf here]

This is also quite interesting on an alternative explanation for why some rock layers at Kimmeridge are rich in organic material, while others aren’t (resulting in that stripey appearance): Burn-down events explain patterns of organic richness in the Kimmeridge Clay formation


In the early Jurassic (like at the Ammonite Pavement)

The best UK evidence for anoxia in the Early Jurassic is actually from Yorkshire, not Dorset. Lots of good research on that, like this:

 Danise S, Twitchett RJ, Little CTS, Clémence M-E (2013) The Impact of Global Warming and Anoxia on Marine Benthic Community Dynamics: an Example from the Toarcian (Early Jurassic). PLoS ONE 8(2): e56255. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056255. [OPEN ACCESS HERE]


But this, on the Ammonite Pavement, is really interesting, as it considers what the preservation bias caused by anoxic sediments can mean when we try to estimate last biodiversity. Conclusion — it is a bit of a problem!

Jordan, N., Allison, P.A., Hill, J., Sutton, M.D. 2015: Not all aragonitic molluscs are missing: taphonomy and significance of a unique shelly lagerstatte from the Jurassic of SW Britain. Lethaia, Vol. 48, pp. 540–548. [FREE PDF HERE]


At the Permo-Triassic boundary

There’s Paul’s book (see above), plus another addition to the Wiggers Canon:

Haijun Song, Paul B. Wignall, Daoliang Chu, Jinnan Tong, Yadong Sun, Huyue Song, Weihong He & Li Tian (2014). Anoxia/high temperature double whammy during the Permian-Triassic marine crisis and its aftermath. Scientific Reports 4, Article number: 4132. DOI:10.1038/srep04132 [OPEN ACCESS here]

Pliosaurus kevani

Here is the paper describing Kevan’s pliosaur, and where it fits in the plesiosaur hall of fame:

Roger B. J. Benson, Mark Evans, Adam S. Smith, Judyth Sassoon, Scott Moore-Faye, Hilary F. Ketchum, Richard Forrest (2013). A Giant Pliosaurid skull from the Late Jurassic of England. PLOS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065989 [Open Access paper here]

And here is a summary of the paper’s key points by one the co-authors, Adam Smith: Pliosaur kevani, the Weymouth Bay Pliosaur

Mary Anning, Elizabeth Philpot and Mary Buckland

The rich network of 19th Century women scientists will come as no surprise to those of you who already follow my other baby, TrowelBlazers. But for those of you who are new to this idea, do check out trowelblazers.com.

My TrowelBlazers co-conspirator Suzanne Pilaar Birch shows just how many women were collecting fossils on the South Coast in the 19th Century in this post — Does this photo show Mary Anning?

Eliza Howlett wrote a post for TrowelBlazers about the Philpot letter, including some lovely images that will allow you to read more than just the little bits we read out — Eliza Philpot: Walking Through Time in Lyme Regis

Here’s some  background info on Mary Buckland courtesy of Fernada CastanoMary Buckland: A Fossiliferous Life

Eleanor Coade and Coade Stone

Beautiful Belmont House, where you can stay. Plus some background detail. Landmark Trust website:  http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/belmont

How a sculptor cracked the recipe for Coade Stone, plus some historical detail (warning: some of this is at odds with the Landmark Trust info, which I can’t share on here) — FT article

Dead Squid!

We were so lucky to be allowed to show that squid dying in the Kemp Caldera, as it is unpublished data. Thanks to Jon Copley from the University of Southampton and the NERC-funded ChEsSO research project for allowing us to use this.

This paper summarises the key findings of the ChEsSO project:

Rogers AD, Tyler PA, Connelly DP, Copley JT, James R, Larter RD, et al. (2012) The Discovery of New Deep-Sea Hydrothermal Vent Communities in the Southern Ocean and Implications for Biogeography. PLoS Biol 10(1): e1001234. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001234 [OPEN ACCESS HERE]

And the whale fall from the Kemp Caldera, that could be an analogue for what happened to a Pliosaur when it dies, has been published on by the truly excellent Diva Amon & co (including Adrian & Leigh who featured in the prog):

Diva J. Amon, Adrian G. Glover, Helena Wiklund, Leigh Marsh, Katrin Linse, Alex D. Rogers, Jonathan T. Copley. (2013). The discovery of a natural whale fall in the Antarctic deep sea. Deep-Sea Research II 92, 87–96. [PDF HERE]

Walking Through Time: Britain’s Last Mammoths–the reading list

Because we can only ever scrape the surface of any subject in a 47 minute TV programme, here are some pointers for further reading [plus links to free downloads, where I have been able to find them].

General Shropshire Geology

The absolute bee-knee’s, all you could ever wish for, guide to Shropshire geology — Peter Toghill’s brilliant book, The Geology of Shropshire.

Or, the short-and-sweet version… also by the legend that is Peter Toghill:

TOGHILL, P. (2008). An introduction to 700 million years of earth history in Shropshire and Herefordshire. Proceedings of the Shropshire Geological Society, 13, 8–24. [FREE pdf here]


The Condover Mammoths

Adrian Lister has the full low down on the mammoths, how old they were, how many were there, how they died etc. Plus an appendix on those maggot casings by Y.Z. Erzinc ̧liog ̆lu:

LISTER, A.M. (2009). Late-glacial mammoth skeletons (Mammuthus primigenius) from Condover (Shropshire, UK): anatomy, pathology, taphonomy and chronological significance. Geol. J. 44: 447–479. DOI: 10.1002/gj.1162 [download from Research Gate here]

James Scourse and colleagues delve into the details of the stratigraphy, what the Condover landscape was like when the mammoths met their end, and just how that kettle hole form

J. D. SCOURSE, G. R. COOPE, J. R. M. ALLEN, A. M. LISTER, R. A. HOUSLEY, R. E. M. HEDGES, A. S. G. JONES and R. WATKINS (2009). Late-glacial remains of woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) from Shropshire, UK: stratigraphy, sedimentology and geochronology of the Condover site. Geol. J. 44: 392–413. DOI: 10.1002/gj.1163 [pdf at academia.edu]

Judy Allen and colleagues reconstruct the environment that the mammoths lived–and died–in (plus the few thousand years either side), based on the remains of pollen and beetles:

J. R. M. ALLEN, J. D. SCOURSE, A. R. HALL, and G. R. COOPE (2009)

Palaeoenvironmental context of the Late-glacial woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) discoveries at Condover, Shropshire, UK. Geol. J. 44: 414–446. DOI: 10.1002/gj.1161 [ResearchGate link here]

A lovely summary of a lecture given by the late, great Russell Coope, shortly after the excavations of the Condover mammoths had been completed:

COOPE, R. (1988). The Condover mammoths. Proceedings of the Shropshire Geological Society, 7, 20─21. [FREE pdf here]

Precambrian (Ediacaran) fossils from the Long Mynd

Alex Liu put’s the Long Mynd’s ediacaran fossils (aka the ‘slimey stuff’) into context:

LIU, A.G. (2011). Reviewing the Ediacaran fossils of the Long Mynd, Shropshire. Proceedings of the Shropshire Geological Society, 16, 31–43. [FREE pdf here]

And if you want to read a bit more about how the Long Mynd fossils provided an answer to Darwin’s Dilemma, this paper by  Richard Callow and Martin Brasier is a nice introduction:

Callow, R.H.T and Brasier, M.D. (2009). A solution to Darwin’s dilemma of 1859: exceptional preservation in Salter’s material from the late Ediacaran Longmyndian Supergroup, England. Journal of the Geological Society 2009, v. 166, 1-4. DOI: 10.1144/0016-76492008-095. [FREE full text here].