The Unification of the British Isles: A Lesson in Geology

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A discussion of how England and Wales collided with Scotland, then Europe with Britain and finally the breakaway of America.

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Join Martin Eales, Consultant Geologist & Geophysicist and member of Sutton U3A, for an online talk followed by a Q&A and discussion session.

Some 500 million years ago, Scotland was situated near to the equator. It was separated by a vast ocean from England and much of Europe, which lay close to the South Pole with ice sheets over the Sahara and Amazon.

England headed northwards and collided with Scotland around 400 million years ago, together with North America, to form a vast Himalayan-style mountain belt. Southern Europe and Africa joined a little later (some 100 million years after) to form the super continent of Pangea.

Relatively recently (circa 50 million years ago) North America decided to break away and is currently hurtling westwards forming the growing Atlantic Ocean. America tried to take Britain along for the ride, initially causing a lot of volcanism in Scotland but failed, leaving Britain perched on the edge of the Europe.

Martin Eales was educated at Emmanuel College Cambridge then researched for a doctorate and lectured at Glasgow University. He has been a petroleum geologist for 40 years including working for the largest oil companies in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Italy, and also lived in North Africa and the Middle East. In that time, he has studied the geology of most countries in the world and now works part time advising companies and banks on the value of their oil assets. He is married with 3 children and 1 dog.

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