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Bruce Yardley appointed Chief Geologist

Bruce Yardley (Leeds University) has been appointed Chief Geologist by The Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

Chartership news

Chartership Officer Bill Gaskarth reports on a projected new logo for use by CGeols, advice on applications and company training schemes

Climate Change Statement Addendum

The Society has published an addendum to 'Climate Change: Evidence from the Geological Record' (November 2010) taking account of new research

Cracking up in Lincolnshire

Oliver Pritchard, Stephen Hallett, and Timothy Farewell consider the role of soil science in maintaining the British 'evolved road'

Critical metals

Kathryn Goodenough* on a Society-sponsored hunt for the rare metals that underpin new technologies

Déja vu all over again

As Nina Morgan Discovers, the debate over HS2 is nothing new...

Done proud

Ted Nield hails the new refurbished Council Room as evidence that the Society is growing up

Earth Science Week 2014

Fellows - renew, vote for Council, and volunteer for Earth Science Week 2014!  Also - who is honoured in the Society's Awards and Medals 2014.

Fookes celebrated

Peter Fookes (Imperial College, London) celebrated at Society event in honour of Engineering Group Working Parties and their reports

Geology - poor relation?

When are University Earth Science departments going to shed their outmoded obsession with maths, physics and chemistry?

Nancy Tupholme

Nancy Tupholme, Librarian of the Society and the Royal Society, has died, reports Wendy Cawthorne.

Power, splendour and high camp

Ted Nield reviews the refurbishment of the Council Room, Burlington House

The Sir Archibald Geikie Archive at Haslemere Educational Museum

You can help the Haslemere Educational Museum to identify subjects in Sir Archibald Geikie's amazing field notebook sketches, writes John Betterton.

Top bananas

Who are the top 100 UK practising scientists?  The Science Council knows...

Mente non malleo

M&MTed Nield suffers another Daily Mail moment, this time over hammering... 

Geoscientist 22.05 June 2012

You can’t tell me that it isn’t mostly about the gear; and for Earth scientists that traditionally meant the trusty hammer – our badge of office. Crossed hammers have long been our universal guild sign. IUGS indeed used to boast a hideous logo featuring our beloved planet apparently impaled on a hammer; while the tag Mente et malleo – ‘by thought and hammer’ - or variants, became enshrined in society, survey mottoes worldwide as well as a famous brand of confectionery*. Well, if you want to use a hammer these days you’d better watch out.

Way back in the late Miocene, when I was doing my PhD on Gotland, a product of which can be perused here incidentally as a special treat for Online readers, my colleague and I had special permission to use hammers on that hallowed ground; though this did not stop one importunate radio journalist from running news pieces about infidels conducting illegal raids on the patrimony, and putting the island on alert. Thirty years on, such refined sensibilities (as they seemed to us then) have spread to the most unlikely quarters.

Recently, a Bristol University undergraduate set off an avalanche of bad publicity when spied by climbers using a hammer to obtain a hand specimen of Hay Tor in Dartmoor, an SSSI. To quote an email sent by local climber George Coiley to the website “we heard a rapping and turned round to witness one of [the students] hacking at the top of Lowman with a pick (literally part of the actual tor!). ... Next followed a heated exchange .... The group informed me that it was acceptable because they were

geologists and had to take samples.” Oh dear oh dear – and thus we add special pleading and arrogance to our sins.

As a result of this unfortunate incident Bristol was engulfed in angry emails from climbers, as well as one from Natural England, asking them to account for themselves. The Committee of Heads of University Geoscience Departments has since circulated its hammer-use and core sampling guidelines to all its members. In addition to which, we might also recommend the recently refurbished Geologists’ Association coring guidelines, prepared in concert with CHUGD and the Geological Society.

Meanwhile we shall pass over in silence the erosion caused by climbers’ boots and crampons, chalk ‘gardening’, the hammering of pitons into crevices, the discarded belays and festoons of rope. We all have to live on the rockface together. Best stick to our guidelines, practise what we preach, and not dwell on what divides us.


*You mean you never knew that's what 'M&M' stands for?