Open University Geological Society (London Branch)




Day Trips

Longer Trips

S209 Students


Code of Conduct

Past Events


Please use the Registration Form to express your interest in these events and obtain more information.

London Branch organizes a series of lectures on a variety of geological themes. The guest lecturers are drawn from the ranks of professional and serious lay geologists.


Note : change of starting time to 19:00 for all lectures (doors at 18:15)

Meetings with guest speakers are held on Thursdays at 19.00 at the Parish Room of the All Saints church. Entrance via main gate - doors open at 18:15 for socialising. The nearest tube station is Oxford Circus.

Lectures carry a nominal admission of £5.00 to cover costs, payable on the evening.

Before the monthly lectures, some of the members organise to meet informally for a bite to eat in one of the eateries in the neighbourhood. If you would like to be included on the meal mailing list contact Gina Barnes, who co-ordinates the arrangements, or email info@lougs.org.uk and we will put you in touch.

After the lectures, some of us usually go on for an informal drink. All are welcome.

The nearest tube station is Oxford Circus.

All Saints Front view

All Saints - front view

All Saints Map

All Saints Map


Thursday 22 June

LECTURE: "The Beginning of Geological Mapping in England" by John Henry

We take geological maps for granted but geology as we know it would not have been possible without accurate compilation of the field observations of innumerable geologists accumulated over decades. Geological maps first appeared in Britain in the early 19th century with the work of William Smith, John Farey, GB Greenough, John Macculloch, Henry De la Beche and others. The story of the progress and problems faced by the first geologists is traced through their maps.

Map - William Smith

The development of professional and institutional mapping was accompanied by an explosion of popular interest as a result of increasing literacy, leisure and travel. Public interest stimulated and was fed by prolific commercial publishing of geological maps. Original early maps will be available for viewing after the talk.

Diana Smith will lead a building stones walk around All Saints before this talk.

Contact: Anna Saich


Thursday 7 September (1st Thursday of the month)

LECTURE: "Earthquakes" by Rebecca Bell

Did the Earth move for you? - From Great earthquakes to silent slip

Subduction zones are located where one of the Earth's tectonic plates slides beneath another - this motion is controlled by the plate boundary fault zone. These plate boundary faults are capable of generating some of the largest earthquakes and tsunami on Earth, such as the 2011 Tōhuku-oki, Japan and the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquakes, together responsible for over 250,000 fatalities. Although some plate boundary faults fail in catastrophic earthquakes, at some subduction margins the plates creep past each other effortlessly with no stress build-up along the fault, and therefore large earthquakes are not generated.

Determining what controls whether a fault creeps or slips in large earthquakes is fundamental

  • to assessing the seismic hazard communities living in the vicinity of plate boundary faults face and
  • to our understanding of the earthquake process itself.
In the last 15 years a completely new type of seismic phenomena has been discovered at subduction zones: “silent earthquakes” or slow slip events. These are events that release as much energy as a large earthquake, but do so over several weeks or even months with no ground-shaking.

Slow slip events may have the potential to trigger highly destructive earthquakes and tsunami, but whether this is possible and why slow slip events occur at all are two of the most important questions in earthquake seismology today. Importantly, there is recent evidence that slow slip preceded and may have triggered two of the largest earthquakes this decade, the 2011 Tohuki-oki and 2014 Iquique, Chile earthquakes. Therefore, there is an urgent societal need to better understand slow slip events and their relationship to destructive earthquakes.

In this talk we will discuss the various types of fault slip behaviour that have now been discovered at subduction margins and delve into the new techniques that we are using to learn more about them in an attempt to ultimately crack the code of why some subduction megathrust faults slip in devastating earthquakes and some slide silently.

Contact: Anna Saich


Thursday 19 October

LECTURE: "Tsunamis" by Dave Tappin

Contact: Anna Saich


Thursday 16 November

LECTURE: Members' Evening

Members Evening is an opportunity to hear from our branch members. We usually have three or four 15 minute talks about projects, holidays, or anything with geological interest. Come along to hear what our members have been up to, or if you or a friend have been doing something interesting, we would love to hear from you.

Contact: Anna Saich


Thursday 7 December

LECTURE: Volcanism and Extinction of Permian in South West China by Paul Wignall

Details to follow.

Contact: Anna Saich


Please use the Registration Form to express your interest in these events and obtain more information.