It began with coffee.
Like so many things in life, the Sedgwick Club Conference 2018 started with a healthy dose of caffeine. The doors to the Cambridge Earth Sciences department were nearly ready to be opened and the masses allowed to flood in for the annual speakers’ event.
Continue reading “Behind the scenes at the Sedgwick Club Conference”
Geophysicist Professor Nick Rawlinson recently moved to Cambridge to take up the BP McKenzie Chair in Earth Sciences. During a career in Australia and the UK he has specialised in observational and theoretical seismology. Nick discussed his life and work with Greg Palmer.
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Hippos from Barrington, woolly mammoths from Barnwell and beavers from Burwell Fen help tell the remarkable story of Late Ice Age Cambridgeshire. A new ‘Ice Age’ exhibit in the Sedgwick Museum displays spectacular fossil finds from local villages that show how life, climate and the environment of the region have changed dramatically over the last 125,000 years.
Continue reading “Life in Ice Age Cambridgeshire – a new exhibit in the Sedgwick Museum”
Last year I travelled out to Ethiopia for fieldwork twice, quite a feat considering it had taken two years of broken limbs and civil unrest causing setbacks. Avoiding the rains and unseasonably hot conditions of the summer (although I didn’t quite manage to avoid the heatstroke) I visited the Butajira volcanic field in April and Fantale volcano in November.
Continue reading “Investigating Ethiopian volcanism: RiftVolc fieldwork in East Africa”
This year, in a rare turn of events, the AGU Fall Meeting took place far away from the West coast of the USA. The Golden Gate Bridge and steep streets of San Francisco were replaced with alligator-filled swamps and Creole cottages.
Continue reading “Cambridge Earth Sciences at AGU 2017”
The Earth is a very blue planet, with almost three quarters of the surface covered in water. It seems perverse, then, that there should ever be water shortages. However, only 4% of Earth’s water is freshwater, and there are seven billion people dependent on this resource for domestic, agricultural and industrial use. Hence, the apparent oxymoron: the Blue Planet has serious water issues.
The field of hydrogeology is one not greatly studied within Cambridge Earth Sciences. However, it is a subject of increasing global importance in the 21st century. As rainfall patterns become less predictable and populations increase, we are increasingly reliant on our ‘backup supply’ of water: groundwater, stored in the pore spaces within rocks, and hidden beneath our feet.
Continue reading “Himalayan Hydrogeology: an ICIMOD internship in Nepal”
Almost 200 years ago, the young Charles Darwin came up to Christ’s College to begin a comprehensive theological education. In what could be considered the most productive procrastination in history, he instead spent much of his time in Cambridge attending lectures in the natural sciences, under the mentorship of John Stevens Henslow and Adam Sedgwick. On the subsequent Beagle voyage, Darwin undertook botanic and zoological studies but, in light of his seminal contribution to evolutionary biology, history often forgets that he also produced a substantial body of geological research.
Today, Christ’s College celebrates the role that it played in Darwin’s early life by facilitating scientific research on the Galápagos Islands. I currently hold the Charles Darwin and Galápagos Islands Fund Junior Research Fellowship and it is testament to Darwin’s broad-ranging interests that I am a geologist.
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A hundred years ago Thomas McKenny Hughes (1832-1917) died. He was Adam Sedgwick’s successor as eighth Woodwardian Professor and his biographer. Today, although few geologists, even in Cambridge, will have heard of McKenny Hughes, he made his mark on British geology. It was McKenny Hughes who managed the planning and building of the Sedgwick Museum and he fostered the training of successive generations of geologists who in turn helped develop geology as we know it today.
Continue reading “Thomas McKenny Hughes: one hundred years on”