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Lecture: Geology & Caves of N / NE Greenland -physical record – Paul Smith 

February 15 @ 7:30 pm 9:00 pm

Carbonate rocks of Neoproterozoic to Silurian age are abundantly distributed around the coasts of North and North-East Greenland. Large cave entrances are distributed across the whole caves distributed across the whole of North Greenland, an ice-free larger than England, from 80–82.5°N and they constitute the northernmost documented karst caves globally. Data relating to the caves in this remote region have been collected on field expeditions over a 40-year period, and they provide information about palaeoclimates in otherwise poorly documented geological intervals. These geological young caves are mainly phreatic (sub-water table) conduits, and they are consistently located a few 100 m beneath the distinctive plateau that characterises the topography of the northern coast. Their identical context suggests that they developed in a single phase of cave formation, and the timing of cave development is constrained by the mid- to late-Miocene (15–5 Ma) uplift of the plateau surface and the onset of fjord-forming glaciation in the latest Pliocene – earliest Pleistocene (c. 2.7–2.5 Ma). The caves of North and North-East Greenland offer a glimpse of large-scale phreatic drainage systems that developed below an uplifted coastal peneplain during Neogene time. They preserve an important part of the geological history of North and North-East Greenland that is otherwise absent from the physical geological record

Paul Smith is Director of Oxford University Museum of Natural History and Professor of Natural History, and has spent most of his career working in university museums in Cambridge, Copenhagen, Birmingham and Oxford. His geological research is focussed on the interactions of Earth systems and organisms from the late Neoproterozoic to the Ordovician, using a combination of palaeobiology, sedimentology and geochemistry. Paul also has interests in the application of digital technologies to science museums, particularly in the areas of 3D visualisation, virtual reality and the evaluation of user experience. Much of his geological research has been carried out in Greenland and Svalbard, where he has over thirty years’ experience of field expeditions and he was awarded the Polar Medal in 2017.

The talk will start at 7:30 pm at St Francis in Kenilworth. For those unable to attend in person the talk will be broadcast live on Zoom. https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUsd-mvpj4vGtQMAwtCeZQF3_SI6ukxkvfS

Members free. Non members free online, £3 attendance in Kenilworth

Warwickshire Geological Conservation Group (WGCG)

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St Francis

110 Warwick Road
Kenilworth, CV8 1HL