RMS at the Oxfordshire Science Festival 2012

As part of the Oxfordshire Science Festival 2012, the RMS organised a public event entitled "Volcanoes: The Magical Microscopic World of Magma" at the Dept of Earth Sciences at Oxford University. This event enabled over 50 members of the public to meet with Earth Scientists who specialise in and study the products and effects of volcanic activity throughout the world, with particular emphasis on the use of microscopy in the study of volcanic products such as lava and ash that compose the new sediments. The highlight of the session was a lecture delivered by leading world expert Volcanologist Professor David Pyle of the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, whose talk illustrated and clearly explained the difference types of volcanoes. Spectacular images of volcanoes from Santorini, off the coast of Greece, Chile and the Afar Valley of Ethiopia, studied by Professor Pyle, his co-workers and students provided the audience with an excellent insight into the hazards of sampling and working in these volatile areas.

Posters and 'hands-on' displays in the Atrium and Teaching Laboratory areas illustrated many aspects of volcanology, including how to distinguish the commonly occuring minerals found in volcanic rocks using the polarizing microscope.

An interactive "Disaster Zone" exhibition and activity centre provided competitions and games, a chance to create your own earthquake on a computer, see volcanoe's 'erupting' and arguably the highlight of the day; the chance to dress in the volcanologist's protective heat-resistant silver suit and be photographed in front of a volcanic poster.

Volcanoes at Magma at the OSF 2012

Special thanks must be given to Noel Fuller and Alan Todd from Microscope Services Ltd for providing refreshments, a free raffle and a display of a range of Leica microscopes with cameras for visitors to use to examine specimens and capture images, and the equipment for recording the lecture, and relaying live to a screen in the Atrium. Also to Jeannie Scott and her colleagues for running the Disaster Zone which was a big hit with the visitors, and of course to Owen Green on our Outreach and Education Committee for helping to organise such a brilliant event.


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