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An online course for anyone interested in the geological history of the British Isles. A bumpy ride that commences around 3 billion years ago. You’ll have to endure violent volcanoes, plate collisions, warm coral reefs,steaming equatorial forests, hot dry deserts and ice ages before we eventually arrive at the present day. 

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of William Smith’sgeological map of England and Wales. For the very first time we were able to see something of the immense amount of time it has taken to form and shape these islands. Since then, many more people has added pieces to that jigsaw of geological time, such that we now know that the beginnings of Britain go back 3 billion years!

This course takes a closer look at the rocks and the scenery of selected parts of Britain and at the people who have helped us to unravel their fascinating story. We’ll be taking a journey through our past and using the rocks, the maps and the scenery to help us to discover more. No previous knowledge is expected or a required, just a sense of adventure!

This course aims to give you the knowledge and confidence to be able to tackle real field observations, anywhere, involving all kinds of rocks, however simple or complex. Above all, it will give you an ordered and logical approach to fieldwork that really works. .

Over the coming weeks we’re going to be exploring the basics of our planet. We begin at the beginning some 4,650 million years ago and go on to examine what the Earth is made of and how it works; the story of life on the planet and much, much more.

Fossils (from the Latin Fossus, literally "having been dug up") are the preserved remains or traces of animals, plants and other organisms from the remote past (Wikipedia) Fossils are very useful in identifying the past conditions and in some cases the exact period in which the rock layer formed.

Palaeontology, or the study of fossils, starts with observation. If you see something and can describe it in simple words then it is almost certainly correct. We are all here to learn and learning starts where you are.

“Around the world in 10 great geological stories” is a 10-week course that will take a look at some of the world’s finest geology. It begins with a look at Iceland and how our interpretation has radically changed in the last few years. Also covered are: The Channel Isles, The Himalayas, fabulous fossils from China, Cyprus, The Grand Canyon, The Rockies and Montserrat.