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Tapping Jenny

Coincidentally, two recent threads on LinkedIn brought Assynt to mind. And one of those threads concerned Janet Watson, geological queen of the Northwest Highlands


In the instructions Joseph Gaimard copied into the diary before he left Toulon, there is a long section on field geology. Despite being written in 1817, it could very usefully be given as a guide to first-year geology students in our universities. Amongst other things, it has some very nice sketches and some wise words on the importance of context, but it also has comments on the importance of rocks that are not in situ

Welcome to Duroca**

It took a few years for the significance of the linear magnetic anomalies discovered by Ron Mason and Arthur Raff to be realised, but they were key factors in the development of Plate Tectonics. This development might have been considerably delayed if their work, arguably the first systematic magnetic survey of a large area of oceanic crust, had instead been carried out over the seas east of Queensland. Even today the uniform data set that provides the best approach to study of this region is gravitational, not magnetic.

The Louisiade Plateau: what’s in a name?

Back in the mid-1960s, plate tectonics was still in its infancy but the origin of the shallow rises in the Tasman Sea, as strips of Australia peeled away like layers on an onion, was already pretty obvious. Inevitably, there was speculation on possible links between ophiolites in eastern Papua and New Caledonia.

Eddie Polak at the AGH

Giving a talk in the AGH university building in Krakow was memorable, as far as I was concerned, because it was the building where Eddie Polak, one of my first geophysical mentors, studied during the four years that preceded the invasion of Poland and the start of the Second World War. I was able to imagine him in his time there all the better because he had left me with a typescript of his memoirs.

Zealandia completely mapped?

On 9 October, GNS Science, which is effectively New Zealand’s geological survey organisation, made a startling announcement. “Zealandia”, so its publicity department contended “just became the first continent to be completely mapped”. But what is Zealandia, and are these extravagant claims justified?