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Scotland’s Fabulous Geology

Natural Sciences staff have been participating in this year's Scottish Geology Festival.

Natural Sciences staff have been participating in this year's Scottish Geology Festival.

The Scottish Geology Festival is a 6-week long celebration of Scotland’s fabulous geology, organised by the Scottish Geology Trust. It ran throughout September and early October and featured events and activities across Scotland as well as a series of online talks, all with the aim of encouraging everyone to engage with, learn about, and appreciate Scotland’s geological heritage.

A tour of the geology stores at the National Museums Collection Centre.

Our Palaeobiology and Earth Systems teams were keen to get involved and welcomed visitors in a series of six public tours to showcase our fabulous rock, mineral and fossil collections, visit our geological labs, and discuss how our specimens are used to further scientific knowledge.

A group looking at fossils from the geology collection.

Several team members also gave online talks:

Peter Davidson, Senior Curator of Mineralogy, explored the Scottish stories preserved in the names of minerals. Pete has been researching these, sometimes surprising, Scottish connections and presented some of the best stories here, commemorating scientific advancement, novel discoveries, and diasporic links:

Dr Rachel Walcott, Principal Curator of Earth Systems, revealed the mineralogy of mobile phones. Over 50 minerals go into the making of the tiny computers in our pockets. Rachel explored what each one is used for and the geopolitics of sourcing these minerals:

Keeper, Dr Nick Fraser, spoke about the Triassic fossils of Moray and how they have contributed to scientific knowledge. The fossils from this area are around 250 million years old and new analytical techniques are bringing novel insights as to how animals moved from sea to land:

 A slide from the online talk given by Dr Nick Fraser.

Emily Brown, Assistant Curator of Earth Systems, also volunteered at many of the in-person events organised by the Scottish Geology Trust, encouraging people to be curious about the rocks beneath their feet or that can be found on the beach.

2023 was the biggest year so far for the annual Scottish Geology Festival. This year the Scottish Geology Trust worked with partners including National Museums Scotland, NatureScot, the Signal Tower Museum, Auchmithie HAAR, Wemyss Caves and the Scottish Deer Centre to deliver over 120 events and counted around 8,000 in-person engagements and 2,500+ views on recordings of online talks.

The Natural Sciences team have contributed to the Festival in previous years too – you can catch their talks here:

Davide Foffa, Postdoctoral Researcher, on the Elgin Reptiles and his research:

Peter Davidson, Senior Curator of Mineralogy, on Meteorites:

Bob Gooday, Earth Systems Analyst, on the Geology of Arran:

Emily Brown, Assistant Curator of Earth Systems, on Scottish Agates:

Recorded tour of the Earth Systems collection:

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