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Bristol’s volcanoes and a Local Hero

Professor George Walker

Professor George Walker

Press release issued: 7 March 2008

The Earth Sciences Department at the University of Bristol is putting on many volcano-related events during ‘Science Week’ (10-16 March).

Did you know that there are extinct volcanoes near Bristol? A trip to visit them at Sand Point, Weston-Super-Mare, will be led by Professor Steve Sparks on 16 March.

Professor Sparks, from the University of Bristol, is one of the world’s foremost experts on volcanoes and is often seen on TV, most notably in the BBC programme ‘Supervolcano’.

In addition to the field trip, the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Bristol is putting on many other volcano-related events during ‘Science Week’ (10-16 March).

These include a free exhibition dedicated to volcanoes at Bristol's City Museum & Art Gallery, Queen’s Road. This will be on display on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th March 2008. The exhibition will feature:

  • hands-on activities and experiments for kids
  • erupting volcano model
  • educational displays
  • volcanic rocks and minerals
  • equipment used to monitor volcanoes

Each evening through the week (10-14 March) a public lecture on volcanoes will be given at 7.30 pm in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road. Room G25.

These events celebrate the life of ‘Local Hero’ George Walker. Walker was an internationally renowned geologist whose discoveries underpin much of modern thinking about the function and structure of volcanoes. Walker was an Emeritus Professor at the University of Bristol and retired to Gloucester where he lived until his death in 2005.

Walker was a brilliant teacher and devoted much time to nurturing young scientists. His first love was for field geology, and he liked nothing better than to show students how to read the rocks on field classes. He trained many distinguished volcanologists and encouraged many scientists from the developing world, where most active volcanoes are located. He was supremely fit, and carried on fieldwork into his seventies.

The ‘Local Heroes’ series of events is taking place around the country to celebrate the bicentenary of the Geological Society of London, the world’s oldest geological society.

It was founded on 13 November 1807 at a dinner at the Freemasons’ Tavern, Great Queen Street, Covent Garden. Founder members included James Parkinson who first identified Parkinson’s disease, and the famous chemist, Humphry Davy.

Click here for full details of all Bristol University’s volcano-related events. 

Further information

Please contact Vicki Smith for further information.
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