Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Geoconservation - I

Triassic Sandstone and Mudstone at Dunsville Quarry

I first became involved with geological conservation in 1994, through the South Yorkshire RIGS (Regionally Important Geological Sites) Group – later becoming its principal surveyor, treasurer, publicist, general dogsbody and Chairman.

As part of a county based national initiative, it identified geological sites with local conservation and amenity value in the region, which have since been included in the local development plans.

The Geology around South Yorkshire
The Group was organised on a voluntary basis and comprised staff from Sheffield University, museums, local authority planning departments and interested members of the general public. 

As the only professional geologist available to undertake paid work for the group, I was the principal surveyor and undertook a primary survey of over 250 potential RIGS.

On the whole, the geology of South Yorkshire is not very spectacular, with large areas of land despoiled by the steel, coal mining and quarrying industries.

The bulk of the hard rock geology comprises an eastwardly dipping succession of Upper Carboniferous sandstone, shale and coal, Permian sand, marl and limestone - and Triassic sandstone that is largely overlain by Quaternary glaciofluvial gravel, sand and peat.

An important criterion for designating a RIGS in South Yorkshire was the relationship between the natural geology of a site with other heritage interests, including the ecology, archaeology, architecture and industrial history. 

Having previously had experience of producing trade exhibitions and various marketing material for my own new company, I also took on the responsibility for the publicity and promotional activities for the group. 

Earth Heritage magazine