Event title:

Culture Café - "From garnets to gannets, exploring the Lonely Isles".

Event details

Saturday, February 9, 2019
11:00 - 13:00
Allam Lecture Theatre
Workshop size:

Event description

Culture Café – ‘GEMS of Hull: Geology, Environment, Marine Science and Us Series 2. 

Title: '"From garnets to gannets, exploring the Lonely Isles". 

Speaker: Dr Anna Bird and Dr Eddie Dempsey

Date: Saturday 9th February, 2019 

Venue: University of Hull, Business School, Allam Lecture Theatre

Time: 11am – 1pm


The Lonely Isles are series of well exposed, yet extremely remote islands that give a unique and previously unknown insight into the ancient geology of northern Scotland. These rocks are part of the Precambrian basement that underlies much of northern Scotland, including Orkney and Shetland, and parts of Greenland.

These Precambrian rocks also underlie the Clair Oil Field, which is situated to the west of Shetland, and represents the largest hydrocarbon resource in the UKCS and Europe. The hydrocarbons of the Clair field are found within Devonian-Carboniferous sandstones sitting on a ridge of this Precambrian metamorphic basement as well as within fractures in the basement rocks themselves. Despite the economic and scientific importance of these rocks, our understanding of the basement geology in these regions is extremely limited. Recent work that has been undertaken basement core samples retrieved from over several hundred km2 beneath the Atlantic Ocean suggest that the basement rocks here are Neoarchaen in age (ca 2-7-2.85 Ga) and that they lack the widespread Proterozoic “Laxfordian” event (ca. 1.6-1.75 Ga) seen in mainland Scotland and Outer Hebrides. This requires the presence of a northern “Laxford Front’ somewhere N of the Scottish mainland.

The Lonely Isles are the only place where these basement rocks outcrop above sea level providing a rare opportunity to examine and understand these enigmatic rocks. As such, understanding the geology of these islands is key to understanding the location and nature of this theorised terrane boundary between the Scottish Mainland and the basement rocks found under the Clare Oil Field.

In November 2018, a team of geologists from University of Hull and Durham University went to the Flannan Isles, North Rona and Sula Sgeir. The team, Dempsey, Bird and Armitage, (funded by Prof Holdsworth of Durham University) are the first geologists to examine the Flannan Isles since 1933 or North Rona since 1958. Many geological fundamental concepts have been developed or refined (including plate tectonics) in this time. This talk will show the highlights of the expedition and some of the initial findings of this study as well as future research and fieldwork plans.

Anna Bird1, Eddie Dempsey1, Tim Armitage2, Bob Holdsworth2

1 Department of Geography, Geology and Environmental Sciences, University of Hull

2 Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University

Speaker Biographies:

Dr Anna Bird is a lecturer in metamorphic geology who also works on Quaternary sediments. Her main interests are isotope geochemistry and geochronology: to establish timing(s) of orogenic events at high levels of precision and accuracy. Using geochronology of single mineral grains as a provenance indicator. Measuring and modelling isotopic ratios as a tracer of sediment provenance, crustal and mantle geological processes. Orogenic processes and climate: using geochemistry to evaluate the interplay between tectonics and climate on sediment deposition and provenance.






Dr Eddie Dempsey is a lecturer in Structural Geology at the University of Hull in the UK. Eddie uses evidence of deformation in the Earths crust such as faults, folds and fractures to reconstruct tectonic environments and changes to regional stress fields through time. Eddie also uses U-Pb and Re-Os isotope geochronology to accurately establish the timing of events such as fault zone development and ancient earthquakes. Eddie is passionate about geology and can usually be found talking about rocks either at an outcrop, in the lecture theatre, on the phone, online or over a pint. Eddie was recently nominated for a University Excellence Award for his external engagement work.


Dr Eddie Dempsey’s Google Scholar Citations Page - https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=lOT64pgAAAAJ&hl=en


Cost: Free Admission – All welcome but booking is required in order to guarantee a place and to enable us to ensure we have an adequately sized room booked for the session. 

Enquiries:  Jackie McAndrew - Monday to Weds - OpenCampus work days. 

Email: opencampus@hull.ac.uk

Telephone: 01482 466585

Parking is available on campus view the University campus map click here 

About the OpenCampus Programme

The OpenCampus Programme is the University of Hull's open access adult lifelong learning education programme.  You can attend one session or all the sessions in a series.  Sessions are informal and friendly and are not traditional public lectures.  We do not charge for admission to sessions so we utilise the University's normal teaching spaces when they are not required for student teaching (lecture theatres and seminar rooms).  We try to provide access to one of the University Cafes as part of the experience, but cannot guarantee this. We try to time sessions to meet the needs of the majority of our learners. We like to accommodate the needs of all attendees (seen and unseen needs) by having a comfort break at each session.   We may offer specialist one off sessions for which we may make a charge.

We may also share other events at the University that may be of interest to our typical OpenCampus learners. 


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