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Vandals wha hae wi' samples fled

Cone-sheet exposures close to Mingary Pier on Ardnamurchan. Photo: Colin MacFadyen

Irresponsible sampling continues, despite the existence of the CHUGD/GA Code of Practice, reports Adler deWind

Geoscientist 20.01 January 2010

The July 2005 issue of Geoscientist (15.7, p15) carried a letter from Dave Cheer of St Andrews University on the issue of irresponsible coring of exposures in the Garvellach islands. Dr Cheer was distressed to see textbook features disfigured. Seeing this letter prompted geologist Colin MacFadyen of Scottish Natural Heritage to investigate the issue. He has now produced two items for Earth Heritage magazine (see issue nos. 27 pp.12,13, and 28 p.17, at These pieces have now been circulated to UK Earth science departments with a letter asking researchers to adhere to good practice as outlined by the Committee of Heads of University Geoscience Departments (CHUGD), and the Code of Conduct for Rock Coring prepared by the Geologists' Association (GA).

Says MacFadyen: “Exposures in key localities are still being damaged by researchers. In August this year I was absolutely appalled to discover internationally important cone-sheet exposures close to Mingary Pier on Ardnamurchan (pictured) peppered with hundreds of holes. A UK-based researcher has taken responsibility for some of the damage at that site (he was overseeing a US team who undertook the work in the summer of 2008) and at SNH's request he will attempt to make good some of the damage, by filling in the holes for which he has taken responsibility. SNH has requested that the researcher also considers funding the republishing of the GA's core code in a more proactive goodwill measure.”

“I have raised the issue of irresponsible coring with the Geoconservation Commission and it has been agreed that there is a need for further action to raise awareness of the core code, urging folk to sample responsibly” says MacFadyen.

Colin MacFadyen may be contacted at [email protected]. The Coring Code of the GA forms part of the fieldwork code and can be downloaded at