Earth Sciences Group

Group Leader: Michelle Thomas – michelle@u3a-llandrindod.org.uk

The group meets on the first and/or third Thursday morning of the month, unless we have an event. We will use this time to plan our visits/talks, look at specimens/books/maps, and have discussions about various scientific topics. Our events will take place when convenient for group members. We will aim for Thursdays, but this could change. Please read the news item about the group and contact the group leader to register your interest.

Latest news from the group

Talk – Fossils from the Araripe Basin, Brazil

Published 18th November 2021

Bob Loveridge (Portsmouth University) will be giving us a talk on the temporary fossil display at the Radnorshire Museum. These are Cretaceous fish fossils, and Bob is their official keeper. They are due to be be removed from the Museum after our talk.

The talk will be on Thursday 16th December 2021 in the Radnorshire Museum.

Space will be limited, due to social distancing.

Cost: £2 ppn donation to the Museum and £1 subs.

We are having lunch in Spencer’s Brasserie in the Metropole Hotel afterwards. This needs to be pre-booked via Michelle please.

If you would like to join us, and/or want to know more, please contact Michelle Thomas, email michelle@u3a-llandrindod.org.uk or phone 7919 893 644.

Visit to the National Museum of Wales 2nd December 2021

Published 18th November 2021

A few of us went to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff on Thursday 2nd December 2021. This was a DIY visit. However the palaeontology curator, Cindy Howells, met us and gave us a tour of the Geology of Wales exhibition, including Lily’s Fossil Footprint and Dracoraptor Hanigani. The latter was named for Wales and its finders where it was found in 2014 – a small dinosaur with feathers. The photo below shows Cindy explaining some of the features of Draco’s skeleton displayed in the case.

We travelled through Deep Time from the Big Bang to the last Ice Age. Each time section of the exhibition showed the geological features of the area now called Wales at a specific era: PreCambrian through to Quaternary. As we progressed through each section, we saw the emergence of living things and the kind of environments which encouraged them to evolve. Cindy was full of information. Her enthusisam brought the exhibiton to life, and we were amazed at the marvellous story which unravelled!

Our deep thanks go to Cindy for her warm welcome and enthusiatic description of the items in the exhibition, including Silurian/Ordovician fossils from Llandrindod Wells, Builth Wells and Llandegley.

You can view some of the exhibition on these links: https://museum.wales/cardiff/evolution-of-wales/ and https://museum.wales/cardiff/whatson/11365/Lilys-Fossil-Footprint/

NMW Cardiff visit to Geology of Wales exhibition 02-12-2021 report
Cindy with the Earth Sci group at the NMW Cardiff 02-12-2021

Silver Mountain Experience 11 November 2021

Published 7th October 2021

A group of 10 of us visited the Silver Mountain Experience near Aberystwyth on 11 November 2021.

This is the site of the former silver-lead mine at Llywernog. We went on the “A Miner’s Life Guided Tour” as well as visiting their Museum. The social history was compelling, and we all gained a taste of how gruelling life for the miners and their families were back then.

The tour included a visit to the underground mine – we donned hard hats for this. We all realised how cramped and damp it was for the miners, and how basic health & safety was. No health care, with life expectancy to their 30’s. If they reached the age of 40, they were sent to work above ground in the sheds preparing the stone for transport, alongside the women and children. With the level of pollution in the water, it is a wonder how anyone survived!

The level of engineering required to extract the iron ore from the ground and process it was outstanding. Given the remoteness of the site, it still had a couple of massive water wheels with their brick-built pits and extensive buildings. Manual labour was needed on a massive scale. The profits from the sale of the ore were quite small, and it is no great surprise that the mine eventually closed in the early 20th century.

Many thanks to the staff for their warm welcome and care throughout our visit, including a very pleasant light lunch in their café!