Event Reminder: Discussion Session: Canadas Caldera, Tenerife

Starts: 19:30

On: 22nd November

At: Friends Meeting House, Kirkgate, Cockermouth CA14 9PH

Our interpretation of the Canadas Caldera [Tenerife] is that its structure, as observed at the present day, is entirely the product of repetitive large – scale landslides [Masson et al. 2002, Earth-Science Reviews, 57, 1–35] Discuss. It is hoped that this will be an interactive session with active debate

Event Report: Wolves and wildcats: mammalian response abrupt climate change at the end of the last Ice Age

“Wolves and wildcats: mammalian response abrupt climate change at the end of the last Ice Age”.

Prof Danielle Schreve spoke to a packed room about her research at Gully Cave in Ebbor Gorge, a NNR in Somerset. This previously unexcavated cave is formed in Carboniferous limestone, on a SW facing slope of the Mendips in a steep sided ravine, and was almost completely filled with sediment and overgrown.

To date, over 120 tons of sediment have been carefully excavated and passed through a half-millimetre sieve to extract all bone fragments. Large mammal finds and artefacts are surveyed in 3D and the cave has been laser-scanned so that a virtual reconstruction is possible.

Thousands of teeth and bones of small mammals have been identified, some of which are extant today but not currently found in Somerset e.g. mountain hare and common vole. Some were of cold climate tundra taxa including the narrow skulled vole, northern vole and various lemmings. The bones of larger mammals, including a complete articulated hind limb of aurochs, were also identified as well as bones of red deer and reindeer, including many broken leg bones with green bone and impact fractures. Does this indicate early humans were after the bone marrow? Some bones are brown which may be due to proximity to fire. Charcoal has been recovered in the cave but as yet no sign of a hearth.

Deeper down, the sediments are sterile and coarser with chunks of broken flowstone. These represent the Dimlington Stadial 26,000 to 13,000 years BP, the last ice advance of the Pleistocene. At 25,000BP, the cave was occupied by brown bears, including a very old individual, sub-adults and several cubs. The bones show signs of being gnawed by a spotted hyaena. Below were discovered numerous remains of reindeer, bison, horse and huge red deer, dating to the middle part of the last glaciation (40-50,000 years BP), as well as a struck flint flake, evidence of the presence of Neanderthals or Homo sapiens.

Prof. Schreve highlighted the importance of the cave for understanding how mammals responded to very abrupt climate change at the end of the last Ice Age and the position of the gorge as a potential, sheltered refugialarea for warm-adapted species during times of climatic deterioration.

Event Reminder: Wolves and wildcats: mammalian esponse to abrupt climate change at the end of the last Ice Age

Starting 19:30

On: 13th September

At: Sandgate Room, Penrith Methodist Church, Wordsworth Street, Penrith. CA11 7QY

Prof. Danielle Schreve. “Wolves and wildcats: mammalian response to abrupt climate change at the end of the last Ice Age”

The rapid climatic fluctuations of the Last Glacial-Interglacial transition produced a major re-ordering of the mammalian faunas of northwestern Europe, resulting in groupings of animals that are frequently referred to as ‘disharmonious’, by comparison to their present day ranges. Using new evidence from British cave sequences, the presentation will examine the capacity of mammalian taxa to withstand abrupt climate change at the end of the last Ice Age and will discuss the implications for refugial areas, extinctions and early human occupation.


Professor Schreve’s biographical information

Professor Danielle Schreve (Director of the Centre for Quaternary Research at Royal Holloway University of London) is a vertebrate palaeontologist and specialist in Quaternary mammals. Her research (see http://bit.ly/2kzpHZO) combines biostratigraphy, evolutionary trends, palaeoecology, taphonomy and the interaction of past mammalian communities with early humans.  As a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, former President of the Geologists’ Association and recent Vice-President of the Quaternary Research Association, she is a keen science communicator as well as an active fieldworker, currently leading investigations into a number of important new palaeontological sites in Britain.

Event Reminder: Seathwaite Fell Formation on Seathwaite Fell

Starting at the slightly earlier time of 10:00

3rd September

Not October as in the previous reminder

Seathwaite Fell Excursion PDF

This arduous excursion will cover a complete section through the sedimentary fill of the Scafell caldera in the type area specifically considering the range of rock types, depositional environments, and the abundant examples of soft-sedimentary deformation. The party will take the Styhead Tarn path and where this levels out after Taylorgill Force we will climb over rough fellside to Aaron Crags and then mainly traverse along the crest of Seathwaite Fell to Sprinkling Tarn. The return will be via Styhead Tarn along paths giving a total distance of six kilometres with a height gain of 500 metres. Information about a poor weather alternative will be posted on the website in due course.