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Regional photo competition winners

As the saying goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Dan Welch and Gareth Farr* describe a recent photo competition run jointly by three regional geological societies.

Geoscientists  understand the value of diagrams, conceptual models and photographs to describe complex environments to each other and to the public. Visual evidence remains a key part of field work – from the most basic ground investigation to cutting edge research, particularly for in-situ features that can not be taken away for later study. With this concept in mind the West Midlands and Southern Wales Regional Groups and the Black County Geological Society (BCGS) launched their joint Photographic Competition in January.  The theme: ‘What Lies Beneath our Feet’.

The competition was first launched for West Midlands-based Fellows and BCGS members only in 2013. This year the two Groups and the BCGS decided to throw open the Competition to any local geologists; amateur or professional, working or retired. . Provided you lived in either of the regions, you could enter!

Nearly one hundred entries were received, representing famous geological locations from Nambia to Iceland and Bude to Torquay. Judges comprising Jon Clatworthy (Lapworth Museum), Bill Gaskarth (Geological Society of London) and Adrian Durkin (Dudley Museum & Art Gallery) gathered at the Lapworth Museum, University of Birmingham and deliberated over the images.


Malcolm Nugent’s picture entitled ‘Etna Beneath Our Feet’ was awarded the first prize of £200.


Second and Third places were taken by John Schroder (for ‘Hafrahvammar Canyon, Iceland’), who receives £150 and Scott O’Neil Gwilliams (for ‘Dramatic Cliff Failure of Permian Red Beds at Babbacombe near Torquay’), who receives £100.iuy


Also Highly Commended (further below) were Fiona Townley’s photograph of the ‘Strokkur Geysir, South Iceland’ and Tim Wright’s photograph of the ‘Whaleback Fold, Bude, Cornwall’. Each will receive one of the Geological Society’s coveted geological hammer USB-storage devices.









A preview of the top ten images was held at the New Dudley Archives building adjacent to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley on Monday 22 September for a meeting of the Black Country Geological Society, before the official award ceremony at the University of Birmingham, Large Lecture Theatre (Room 101, Howarth Building) which took place on Tuesday 23 September.

After such a successful year we hope to roll it out nationally next year.

*Authors: Daniel Welch (Secretary Midlands) and Gareth Farr (Chair Southern Wales)