Powered by Rock – Week 2


Coal consumption 1980-2011 (from Wikimedia Commons)

Lecture notes (pdf): 2014_PoweredbyRock_lect2_coal_mini

Lecture notes (PowerPoint): 2014_PoweredbyRock_lect2_coal

Energy from fossil fuels – a short explanation of the chemical reactions that allow us to extract energy from hydrocarbons, by Western Oregon University.

Coal – guide from the Minerals UK section of the British Geological Survey.

Coal statistics from the UK Government.

World coal statistics from UK Coal.

Coal mining statistics from the National Coal Mining Museum.


Powered by Rock – Week 1

Earth’s Energy Systems – Introduction

(updated Thurs. Jan 23rd)

Nuclear power station, France (from Wikimedia Commons)

Lecture slides from Week 1:

2014_PoweredbyRock_lect1_intro (PowerPoint file)

2014_PoweredbyRock_lect1_intro (PDF)

Generally useful online energy resources:

Prof. David MacKay’s book ‘Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air’ can be downloaded free from his website here.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) website can be found here.

The UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) website is here. Its DUKES (Digest of UK Energy Statistics) is particularly useful, and can be found here.

Gridwatch (live data of UK National Grid power sources) can be found here.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) website has lots of energy information here. Various free publications are provided courtesy of the NERC Open Research Archive (NORA) which can be found here.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program also provides lots of data. It can be found here.

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides significant information on the health impacts of different fuel sources, in its Fuel For Life publication. It can be found here.

Durham University also provides some information via the CeREES Geoenergy website here, and the Durham Energy Institute website here.


An Introduction to Geology: 10


Life on Mars? (Image from Wikimedia Commons)

Lecture notes: 2013_IntroGeol_Lect10_future_SML (PDF) 2013_IntroGeol_Lect10_future_SML (PowerPoint)


The global seismic hazard assessment programme (1992-1999).

Predicting earthquakes (USGS web resources)

Earthquakes and seismology (BGS resources)

The L’Aquila Earthquake, Italy (by Dr Richard Walters, University of Leeds)

Did toads predict the L’Aquila earthquake? (from Nature Blogs)


International Earthquake and Volcano Prediction Center.

Cycles in felsic volcanic eruptions might be caused by gas waves (from Nature)

Using thermal imaging to predict volcanic eruptions (from National Geographic)

What will happen when the Yellowstone super-volcano erupts? (from io9)

The Yellowstone super-volcano is also rather larger than previously thought (from BBC News)

Plate tectonics

Measuring plate motion (by Andrew Alden, Geology About)

Using GPS to measure plate movements (University of Colorado)

Calculate the speed your plate is moving at! (from UNAVCO)

The Earth in 50 million years (from Chris Scotese’s Paleomap project)

Climate & Extinctions

The Big Five Mass Extinctions (from the Natural History Museum)

Has the Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction Already Arrived? (paper by Barnosky et al.)

Why previous predictions of future extinctions were problematical (from Nature)

Movement of marine life follows climate change (article in Science Daily)

More species in a warmer world? (article in Nature)


An Introduction to Geology: 9


Chino copper mine, New Mexico (from Wikimedia Commons)

Lecture slides: 2013_IntroGeol_Lect9_econ_SML (ppt) or 2013_IntroGeol_Lect9_econ2 (pdf)

English Heritage/BGS county atlases of building stones.

GeoScenic, the national archive of geological photographs.

Minerals UK (BGS website)

Coal mining map of the UK (from the Coal Authority)

This Exploited Land: ironstone and the railways in the North Yorks Moors

Cleveland Ironstone: a history (from the Tees Valley RIGS website)

Map of UK oil and gas fields (from DECC)

UK energy analysis (by US Energy Information Administration)

Economic geology in 2013 (review issue of Nature Geoscience, including the paper ‘Metals for a low-carbon society’ by Vidic and colleagues: Vidal_etal2013_renewables_metals)

The Future of the Global Minerals and Metals Sector (BGS article)

Geology of the Coed-y-Brenin (from Geology Wales)

Geology of the Great Orme copper mines (from Wales Underground)

Treasures from the Deep (RSC article on the challenges of deep sea mining)

Rare earth elements: a beginner’s guide (from the BGS)

Rare earths and renewables (an article I wrote for the Newfoundland Independent)

Geothermal energy (BGS website)


An Introduction to Geology: 8

Fossils & Palaeontology

The Walcotts investigating the Burgess Shale (from Wikimedia Commons)

Lecture slides: 2013_IntroGeol_fossils_Lect8 (pdf) or 2013_IntroGeol_fossils_Lect8_SML (ppt)

3D Fossils (new project led by the British Geological Survey)

British Fossils (book by Peter Doyle)

St Hilda’s ammonite, Hildoceras bifrons (NHM website)

The Palaeontological Association (UK-based organization promoting palaeontological science)

Palaeontology Online (articles about the cutting edge of fossil research, written by palaeontologists)

Palaeocast (Palaeontology podcasts and photos on a wide variety of topics)

Fossil evidence of early life: Oldest_fossil_evidence_PaleoSoc (a short guide by the Paleontological Society)

The fossil record of cyanobacteria (UCMP website)

The earliest evidence of life (Phys.org article). If you want the full scientific version, it can be found here: 3.48 billion year-old microbially induced sedimentary structures.

Tracking Ancient Life


Chondrites (from Wikimedia Commons)

The lecture presentation: 2013_TrackingAncientLife_SML

Charles Darwin – worms and vegetable mould (from Darwin Online)

Darwin’s wormstone at Down House, Kent.

Phil Manning’s Dinosaur CSI website.

An amazing dinosaur trackway site in Bolivia.

Dinosaur speed calculator (from the University of Sheffield)

Why that previous theory might be wrong! (from Heinrich Mallison, Berlin)

How fast did ancient people run? (My blog post on interpreting fossil trackways)

The deep sea animals that live in trees (National Geographic article about boring marine creatures).


An Introduction to Geology: 7


Ice and Water, Argentina (from Wikimedia Commons)

Lecture notes (pdf file): 2013_IntroGeol_Lect7_climate

Oxygen isotopes as ancient temperature proxies (from the JOIDES Resolution project).

Using earthworm poo as a palaeo-thermometer (the original paper can be read here).

Milutin Milankovitch: Seeking the Cause of the Ice Ages (from AMNH)

A tutorial on Milankovitch cyclicity (from Science Courseware)

Erratics: rocks from afar (pebbles of the Yorkshire Coast, by Coast Alive).

Mapping the glacial deposits and landforms of the Vale of York: Hall_etal2010_gcl_map_ValeYork (paper by Hall et al. 2010).

Coastal erosion maps (from the Environment Agency).

Coastal Explorer, assessing coastal erosion in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

An overview of the Snowball Earth hypothesis (Gabrielle Walker’s book is highly recommended).


An Introduction to Geological Maps


William Smith’s geological map (1820) – from Wikimedia Commons

Lecture notes (PowerPoint format): 2013_IntroGclMaps

Exercise 1 (pdf from Earth Learning Idea website): 2013_GclMaps_Ex1

Exercise 2 (pdf): 2013_GclMaps_mapping_intro

Exercise 3 (pdf): 2013_GclMaps_Ex3

Geological map resources:

The British Geological Survey has various Open Geoscience resources (including the Geology of Britain viewer, and the iGeology app). There is also the BGS Lexicon of Named Rock Units.

Geological mapping of the Vale of York: Hall_etal2010_gcl_map_ValeYork (paper by Hall et al.)

ScottishGeology.com has a simplified geological map of Scotland.

OneGeology – Making Geological Map Data Accessible

US National Geologic Map Database

A History of Mapping:

A cannon at Hampton: William Roy and the start of the Ordnance Survey (Twickenham Museum)

William Smith (NHM biography)

William Smith – a man who changed the world (BGS biography)

The Map That Changed The World (by Simon Winchester)

John Phillips – Time Lord of York (my article for YorkMix)

Phillips’ 1855 geological map of Yorkshire

The Mapping of Assynt:

An Assynt mapping fieldtrip (courtesy of Leeds University)

A 3D reconstruction of the geology of Assynt (by the British Geological Survey)

A pilgrimage to Assynt (by Metageologist)

A biography of Charles Lapworth (Birmingham University)

How did Peach & Horne map Assynt? (Leeds University)


An Introduction to Geology: 6


Plate tectonic map, from Wikimedia Commons.

Lecture notes as a pdf: 2013_IntroGeol_Lect6_tect_SML

Lecture notes as a PowerPoint file: 2013_IntroGeol_Lect6_tect_SML

The day the Earth moved (Extremely interesting Cosmos article on the theory of plate tectonics).

Rheology in structural geology, by the University of Leeds (just in case you missed it)

Leeds also provide further teaching resources on structural geology here.

An online geology dictionary/glossary can be found here.

What heats the Earth’s core? (from phys.org)

Early Earth had molten magma oceans, new study suggests.

The Iapetus Suture on the Isle of Man (Manx Geological Survey)