Fantastic new on-line geology course!

I’m delighted to announce the launch of Manchester University’s brand new free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

Our Earth: Its Climate, History, and Processes

Much of it is based here at the museum and uses loads of our collection. It’s a great taster for what it’s like to come to The University of Manchester to study geology and what we have to offer here at The Museum.

I hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think.

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8000 year old lava flow!

William Buckland and Noah’s Flood

Another extract from our new Ice Age display:

In the 1820s and 1830s the Reverend William Buckland argued that Noah’s Flood in the Bible had once covered Britain, eroding valleys and depositing sand and gravel. Buckland studied fossil bones which he suggested were all from animals wiped out by the flood.

Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake, Iceland

Buckland taught at Oxford University where one of his students was Charles Lyell. In 1833, Lyell put forward a powerful case suggesting the deposits had come from melting icebergs drifting across a sea and not the flood suggested by Buckland.

Reindeer antler Robin Hood Cave, Creswell Crags, collected by Boyd Dawkins

Reindeer antler
Robin Hood Cave, Creswell Crags, collected by Boyd Dawkins

Glacial cobble Found near Oxford road, Manchester Originally from Eskdale, The Lake District

Glacial cobble
Found near Oxford road, Manchester
Originally from Eskdale, The Lake District

Thanks to Professor Jamie Woodward who helped put the display together. Find out more in his new book Ice Age VSI

Come and see the new display in the Fossils Gallery, Manchester Museum.

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The Adams Mammoth

I thought I’d share some of the great stories we have put in our new Ice Age display. Here’s the first:

Adams-Mammoth

The Adams mammoth was discovered in Siberia in 1799. It takes its name from Mikhail Adams a Russian botanist, who retrieved the body.

The fleshy body and thick woolly fleece convinced early nineteenth century naturalists that this animal was adapted to life in the Arctic tundra.

Mammoth bones had also been found in Britain and other parts of temperate Europe. Had Britain once been as cold as Siberia?

hair

Mammoth hair Yakutia, Siberia Russia (purchased 2001)

Thanks to Professor Jamie Woodward who helped put the display together. Find out more in his new book Ice Age VSI

Come and see the new display in the Fossils Gallery, Manchester Museum.

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Iceland panoramas

You dont have to be rare to be valuable!

Hi my name is Hetti and I am a volunteer here at Manchester Museum helping David with the Earth Sciences collection. We were recently looking through the collection to find objects for display in the new Nature’s Library gallery and came across a wide variety of very well preserved trilobites and so I thought that they would make a great subject for my next blog post. Here’s some from the collection.

The classic view of a trilobite

The earliest known trilobites date from the Early Cambrian (521 million years ago) and over time they evolved to live in a range of marine environments and with a wide variety of lifestyles, from moving along the sea bed hunting for food to swimming through deep water and feeding on plankton. Trilobites began to decline during the Devonian and they eventually died out at the end of the Permian (approx 250 million years ago).

Some trilobites evolved to have spines probably for defence

The fact that trilobites evolved to be so diverse and geographically diverse means that they are very useful for identifying the habitats of any fossil plant or animals found with them. All trilobites had a hard exoskeleton which is much more likely to be preserved than soft tissue and therefore they have been well preserved within the fossil record.  As a result of this they have been used to greatly improve our understanding of paleontology, plate tectonics, biostratigraphy and evolution.

Geology curation masterclass, live Q & A

A few weeks ago I ran a Curating Geology Collections Masterclass for the Social History Curators’ Group.

We had a great day looking at how we organise, identify and use the geology here at The Manchester Museum. The only problem is that it is a lot to try and cover in just one day.

So, in partnership with the SHCG we are running a question and answer session. Please post any questions or comments in the comments box below at any time and I’ll do my best to answer them.

I will be answering any questions live on the 22nd of May 2-3pm.

The handout from the day can be downloaded from the SHCG website.


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