GeoD Projects: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007. 

Project 2011   “Doweel Breccia Cores”

“GeoD” has taken the plunge again with another construction  project, currently in its infancy, called  “The Doweel Breccia  Core”.   The Story began in 1953 at Dumfries ICI Factory at Cargenbridge where it was necessary to look for an additional water source to improve the water supply to the ICI.

A 0.5m borehole was drilled in the grounds of the factory to a depth of about 60m to get below the existing water table.  The rock from the borehole was then  stored locally and forgotten about until last year when I read about it in the British Geological Survey Team [BGS] Memoirs for the Dumfries area. I visited the landowner where the Cores were and gained access to survey and take photographs of  them.

It was really exciting discovering the Cores buried beneath thick moss, silverbirch saplings, grasses, rosebay willowherb and small tree scrub. However this all seems to have preserved them beautifully as they appear to be mostly intact with just a few loose sections lying about.

Since then I have been approaching various organisations looking for money to fund the restoration of the Cores for public display. This has proved difficult in our current financial climate! However while on our last GeoExcurtion to Langholm I was discussing the project with one of our group from BGS. He suggested I approach a couple of organisations who may be interested in the Cores for research or display. This I have done and they are very interested………..we hope to meet soon to discuss a way forward………….so watch this space!!

Project for 2010     GeoSites Survey

In July 2010, I surveyed another 25 new geoconservation sites for suitability as Local Geodiversity Sites and reassessed 18 from previous years  [click on Geoconservation for further information]. 

          Project for 2009                  Moniaive GeoDial

GeoD has had some good recent publicity with the construction and opening of the Moniaive GeoDial – The Gateway to Geology in Dumfries and Galloway. Find it at Map  Reference: NX783907  Something like 40 tons of rock has gone into the construction of the GeoDial. The opening ceremony on Saturday, 28th September 2009 was the culmination of much time and effort spent in obtaining initial funding for the project by Moniaive Community Council and GeoD members. There followed labourious hours spent driving around the countryside sourcing suitable rocks, cutting and shaping the rocks, haulaging and placing the huge seating stones and a pathway of pebbles around the GeoDial, and actually constructing the GeoDial.

There was also much work-time spent on clearing tons of leftover rock, landscaping and planting flower bulbs, designing, building and erecting an Information Board and the final stone pathways to the GeoDial and around the Information Board. If that wasn’t enough there was also the considerable effort by the Group’s members in preparing for the opening ceremony; this included, helping to decorate the dining room with kids’ pictures, fantastic talks by Stuart Munroe, [Scientific Director of Glasgow’s Dynamic Earth] and Andrew McMillan [British Geological Survey Team], prizes, preparing a really wonderful meal with cake and wine [Craigdarroch Hotel], taking photographic records and helping with the parade. Of course, the pupils of Moniaive Primary School put a tremendous effort into their geological Art Project. Some of the fun and excitement of the GeoDial’s opening was captured by the BBC and subsequently broadcast across the UK.

The GeoDial – Gateway to Geology in Dumfries and Galloway Article and photography by Diana Turner.

It’s difficult to imagine the ferocious eruptions and thunderous earth movements of the past as you walk through the present tranquil landscape fashioned by the geology of Dumfries and Galloway. It was this landscape and years of fell-running over mountains and through rivers and valleys that inspired my interest in geology. Three years ago I started a geology group called “GeoD”, the first Geological Society of Dumfries and Galloway. I was looking for a first project idea and the concept for a garden came one day when I was asked what I was going to do with the two tons of rock I had accumulated on my study floor! So I put crayon to paper and came up with a design for a geological garden called the “GeoDial”.

 Moniaive Primary School and Community Council, Dumfriesshire heard about my idea, asked me to build it in their Wildlife Garden beside the Dalwhat Water, and then offered to help seek funding to pay for its construction. And so began six months of fantastic fun, sourcing the rocks at various locations around Dumfries and Galloway and working with some wonderful people – especially our funders: Scottish Natural Heritage, the Institute of Physics and BBC Breathing Places; those who donated, transported and cut the rocks, Kenny Marchbanks Haulage, Andy McKinna Stonemason and Kirkconnel, Cloburn, Duneaton and Dalbeattie Quarries; and Stuart Monroe for opening the GeoDial Launch Event.

The rocks you see in the garden are mostly from Dumfries and Galloway but some come from Canada, Africa, Europe and Scandinavia highlighting our geological history of attachment to these countries eons ago.

Here in the garden you can walk beside fossil corral and sea creatures, sit on fossil tree roots and leaves and even climb over an extinct volcano or two! You will find a wealth of rocks of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic origin….                                                 

Coarse grained granite from Dalbeattie                                                                               Basalt lava flows in the glaciated valley of the Dalveen Pass;  Gabbro from the Southern Upland  Fault;                                                                                                Agglomerate, lamprophyre, dolerite and diorite intrusions of the Solway Coast; Blackshale and sandstone gullies cutting the Moffat Hills;  Mudstone, coal and seatearth around Kirkconnel;   

Limestones full of fossils, mudstones, sandstones all exposed along the coastal pathways from Carsethorne toStranraer  Conglomerate outcrops at Shinnelhead;                                    Glacial deposits of pebbles and gravel in the Scar, Nith and Shinnel river valleys.

Around the GeoDial the larger rocks are for sitting on and will always remain in place. The smaller rocks between will be continually changed to show the vast variety of rocks around the region. A “Swaps” box containing local rock samples will be regularly filled allowing people to take a rock from the box and swap it, with a rock they find elsewhere, on their next visit. This will encourage adults and children to compare, identify and look for the diversity of the rocks beneath their feet. The GeoDial has been built as an outdoor classroom for children from local schools as part of their “Curriculum for Excellence” Education Programme. This encourages teachers to take children outside for lessons in the sunshine. It has also been recommended as an education tool for those studying Earth Sciences at University because it is so unusual to see fresh rock so accessible. Visitors can walk along the pathway and over the bridge from the village and enjoy a tranquil moment sitting by the GeoDial. Geologists have said they’ve never seen or heard of another GeoDial and think it may be the only one in the world so why not visit Moniaive GeoDial and see it for yourself!!!

                             Project for 2008                  GeoSites Survey

In June, and again in November 2008, GeoD was offered it’s 1st and 2nd instalments of funding from Scottish Natural Heritage to survey and assess geological sites suitable for recording as Local GeoDiversity Sites. [click on Geoconservation for further information]

                             Projects for 2007       Launch of GeoD GeoConservation Group

The GeoD Launch Dinner in October 2007 included a display of  pictures, articles, books and maps and a wonderful talk from Jim Floyd, GeoD’s new chairman from The British Geological Survey Team in Edinburgh, on the structural geology of Dumfries and Galloway as well as a display of some of his fossils. Eleven new members attended , including support from Solway Heritage, Dumfries Resource Center and Scottish Natural Heritage.

On the following day Jim took five new members on site visits to give us his advice on assessing GeoConservation sites. We identified 19 sites which I photographed and recorded and added to the 20 or so sites I had already visited.   

With this inspirational start I set up a reference library of rocks, books, leaflets, maps amd magazines for group members use in my office and the grounds of my house. Anyone wishing to use them can take them out on a library loan scheme. Jim also generously donated over 100 past BGS Journals and geology books to my library.

At this time I had a tremendous amount of support from a variety of organisations who gave me a great deal of encouragement to form a Geoconservation group. We formed a Partners group consisting of members of Scottish Natural Heritage, Solway Heritage, Regional Heritage Societies, Dumfries Regional Council, Regional Museums, Forestry Commission, Local Schools and Estates.