2021 - 2022 session

The University lecture rooms remain closed, and so the following meetings

will be held via video using the  Zoom system

MONDAY 13th December:


Alex Maltman, Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences, University of Aberystwyth


We read that the taste of wine is affected by the geology of the vineyard and that whisky is influenced by the rocks the water encountered on its way to the distillery. With beer, on the other hand, geology is rarely mentioned. Alex Maltman will explore this contrasting situation in his talk, which will lead to perhaps surprising results. His conclusions may even prompt you to think about your favourite tipples in a new light!

Alex is Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University, in Wales, U.K. Following a career in university teaching and research, he now lectures on vineyard geology and writes for wine magazines such as Decanter and the World of Fine Wine. Alex has advised on the geological content of a number of wine books, including the prestigious Oxford Companion to Wine and the World Atlas of Wine. He is author of the acclaimed book: “Vineyards, Rocks, and Soils: A Wine Lover’s Guide to Geology”, Oxford University Press 2018.

January 11th – Bristol Student talks TBA


February 8th – Liam Herrringshaw, Scarborough TBA


March 8th WEGA Presidential Address by Prof. Brian P. J. Williams

Cruising the “Trans-Pangean Highway” Searching for Triassic gas!


The Pangean Supercontinent was assembled in latest Carboniferous times and extension of various styles followed soon afterwards. Early rift Permo-Triassic sediments are found in basins that extend along the North Atlantic margins from the eastern North American seaboard through West Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, to the west of Ireland/Scotland offshore and into Mid-Norway. Reconstruction of rifted margins in latest Carboniferous to Triassic times is uncertain and weakly constrained. Triassic basin evolution and infill architecture is currently being evaluated in a regionally coherent context.

Exploration for hydrocarbon occurrences in these borderland basins, ongoing for the last 30 years, was given impetus by the large gas discovery of the Corrib Field, offshore W. Ireland. This occurs in the Slyne Basin, part of the collage of linked rift basins several of which have sediment infill excess of 6 km. The research is being focused on Triassic outcrop analogue modelling in the Fundy Basin of Nova Scotia, Essaouira Basin of Morocco, the Lusitanian Basin of Portugal, and offshore Irish basins.

The basin infills are dominated by alluvial facies, which vary from the deposits of megascale fluvial systems to a more ephemeral sedimentary suite of aeolianites and evaporites. Analysis of these infills permits reconstruction of the size and scale of the drainage basins and fluvial sediment budgets. Furthermore, palaeohydrologic divides may be ascertained within, and between, these rift basins to demonstrate the differences in Triassic sedimentary architecture between the Atlantic (Boreal) and Tethyan realms.

LIDAR-based modelling is being employed, at outcrop level, within these basins as an adjunct to the sedimentological and stratigraphic evaluation of the Triassic to generate predictive reservoir modelling of the subsurface sand fairways from offshore W. Ireland/E. Newfoundland to the Trøndelag Platform of Mid-Norway.

Where will the ‘Trans-Pangean Highway’ take us? Directly to our goal or will we be diverted off down minor roads?

Distinguished Educator Award

Prof. Brian Williams was in September, awarded by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists their Distinguished Educator Award. The photo below shows Brian with the award standing in front of a bookcase containing some of the 40-odd Ph.D. theses he supervised in his career at Bristol and Aberdeen.

















- invitation to the zoom talks will be sent via email to WEGA members


Please login into the zoom system between 7 and 7.25 pm, as once the lecture starts it is difficult for Judy to keep track of the talk, waiting room and zoom messages.


WEGA members will be emailed with the invitation to each of these zoom meetings separately