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Earth Science Entertainment with Geopark Shetland

Top Trump Cards Top Trump Cards Zoom Geopark Shetland is preparing to host a visit from the Tectonic Studies Group for an evening of earth science entertainment, aimed at all ages and levels of scientific understanding.

The Group, which is part of the Geological Society, will be spending a week in the isles to explore the structural Geology of Shetland.  The field trip, organised by PhD student Natalie Farrell from Aberdeen University is in tribute to Professor Derek Flinn who died last year. Professor Flinn spent his life studying Shetland’s geology and provided the foundations for our present understanding of the islands’ rich geological heritage. He created the geological map of Shetland that we use today and, while some of his theories were subject to controversy, no-one would deny his remarkable contribution to his subject. If it wasn’t for his pioneering work Shetland would not be the world renowned Global Geopark it is today.

Natalie said ‘throughout my studies I was fascinated by Flinn’s work and became aware of how many questions about Shetland remain to be answered.  I hope our visit will help inspire more students to undertake field research in Shetland’.

The TSG will be exploring sites throughout the Mainland, and the North Isles, focusing on a number of features including the Walls Boundary Fault – an extension of the Great Glen Fault; Shetland’s oldest rocks – 3 billion year old gneisses in North Roe; and the Shetland ophiolite – a section of Earth’s crust that formed beneath an ancient ocean and now makes up the eastern parts of Unst and Fetlar. 

During their visit the TSG are holding an evening of short talks at the Shetland Museum and Archives on Thursday 27th June, at 7.30pm. They will be of interest to the many Shetlanders who met Professor Flinn during his research as they will include a reflection on his life and work by Natalie Farrell, but they are suitable for everyone, no prior knowledge is needed, and will have a special appeal for children. 

Geopark Shetland’s Robina Barton said ‘We’re thrilled that the TSG have chosen to visit Shetland and it is great that they are able to share their knowledge and enthusiasm while they are here.  I don’t know much about what is planned for Thursday but I understand that at least one experiment will involve yoghurt…

‘Natalie has also secured funding to produce sets of Shetland geology ‘top trumps’ cards and hand lenses that we will be giving out to children who attend the talks.  We hope it will inspire them to look at things in a new way and question the world around them. I also hope there will be a set left for me as they look fantastic!’

Natalie’s fellow speakers on Thursday will be Dr Dave Healy of the University of Aberdeen and Professor John Wheeler from the University of Liverpool – Flinn’s own academic home.

The event is free but booking is recommended via Shetland Museum and Archives on 01595 741562.