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April 2024 SGA Newsletter Published

The South Georgia Association’s April 2024 Newsletter has been published.

It contains articles about:

  • CA Larsen
  • The Quest and South Georgia
  • Endurance Expedition Polar Medal Donation to the SG Museum.
  • Shackleton Memorial in Westminster Abbey
  • SG Cemeteries Website rehosting
  • SG Scientific Research 2023-24
  • Salisbury Plain and Bay of Isles Place Names
  • SGHT Update from SG
  • SG Government News
  • SGA News
  • Bill Block Obituary

Members’ paper copies will be in the post soon and the e-copy is online via the News menu above (If you need the password it will be emailed to members soon after publishing – it is the same as last time).

Older issues are free for anybody to download from the newsletters page of this website. (Now including last April’s Newsletter)

April 2024 SGA Newsletter Published Read More »

2024 AGM and SGA/FOSPRI Event

On 20 July 2024 the South Georgia Association and the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute will host a number of talks at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, followed by an evening Dinner at Jesus College. More details in the Events calendar.

While in Cambridge, you might be interested in a conference being run by the History of Geology Group: The History of Geological Discovery in Polar Regions, taking place on the preceding Tuesday and Wednesday. Dr Phil Stone (a South Georgia Geologist) is giving a talk about William Speirs Bruce and Spitsbergen (Svalbard). More details HERE

2024 AGM and SGA/FOSPRI Event Read More »

SGA Initiative Funding helps with Westminster Abbey Shackleton Plaque

Shackleton Memorial Stone Dedication, Westminster Abbey, 15th February 2024

by SGA Chair David Drewry

On a surprisingly warm February afternoon the Princess Royal, accompanied by her husband, Admiral Timothy Lawrence, attend the ceremony to unveil the memorial stone in the South Cloister of Westminster Abbey to commemorate the life and deeds of Sir Ernest Shackleton CVO OBE.

The idea to have a plaque installed and for Shackleton to be thus recognised amongst the panoply of Britain’s famous explorers – James Cook, Francis Drake, Francis Chichester and Astronomer Edmond Halley, was the brainchild of Tim Winter RN and supported principally by the James Caird Society. Alexandra Shackleton was intimately involved in this initiative throughout the several years it required to obtain the necessary agreement of the Abbey and permissions.

At an early stage the SGA was invited to give its support and responded readily and positively with a donation £1500 towards the production of the Memorial Stone. This was crafted by Mr Will Davies who incorporated Connemara marble and Kilkenny limestone to reflect Shackleton’s Irish heritage (he was born in Kilkea, Co Kildare, on February 15, 1874). The stone is also inscribed with the names of Shackleton’s expedition ships and his family motto, “fortitudine vincimus” – by endurance we conquer.

The Dedication Ceremony commenced at 5pm in the Abbey with attendance by the Lord Mayor of London and HRH The Princess Royal and her husband. A number of invited guests, representing the family and a wide range of Shackleton interests, were present some having travelled from Ireland and parts of mainland Europe. David Tatham and David Drewry attend on behalf of SGA and Bob Headland was also there is a different capacity. Following the immaculately conducted Evensong, with singing by the choir of extraordinary purity that filled the massive Abbey with otherworldly sound, invited guests made their way to the South Cloister. Here the group gathered around the plaque covered by the Abbey flag. There were several short readings and tributes to Shackleton led by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle KCVO, including one read by the Hon. Alexandra ‘Zaz’ Shackleton. Thereafter the Princess Royal stepped forward to unveil the memorial plaque.

After a suitable time admiring this new addition to the Abbey, the guests made their way to the Jerusalem Chamber where at a Reception the HRH was introduced and spoke with them. Zaz Shackleton concluded this element of the Abbey ceremonies with a few words.

Later that evening there was a further and convivial gathering of the guests from the Abbey joined by other supporters, at the Royal Overseas League. It concluded what had been a most memorable and uplifting “polar” occasion.

Click a photo to see a larger version.

Memorial Plaque (courtesy Dean and Chapter of Westminster)
In the Choir prior to Evensong
The hon. Alexandra Shackleton reading prior to the unveiling.
Gathering in the Cloister, Princess Royal (left in light green dress).

SGA Initiative Funding helps with Westminster Abbey Shackleton Plaque Read More »

Geoff Tanner Remembered

By SGA Member Dr Bruce Mair

With input from Alexandra Tataran, Archivist and Records Officer, British Antarctic Survey

It is with regret that I report on the passing of Peter William Geoffrey (Geoff) Tanner earlier this year. He played a significant role in completing the geological mapping of South Georgia in the 1970s.

Read more: Geoff Tanner Remembered

Geoff was a graduate of Sheffield University in the 1960s and moved to Imperial College London to work on his doctorate. His thesis, entitled “Structural and Metamorphic history of the Kinloch Hourn area, Inverness-shire” was submitted in 1965, and established his specialisation in structural geology. Thereafter, at the University of Leeds, he worked on the Precambrian of Connemara, and in the early 1970s on the structural setting of ore bodies in the Rwenzori of Uganda. Complex geology in complex field areas!

He joined the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in 1973 as a Principal Scientific Officer (PSO) with the Earth Sciences Unit (Birmingham University) and in 1976 transferred to Earth Science Division (BAS Cambridge). He was responsible for coordinating the final geological mapping programmes of South Georgia, and management of BAS geologists tasked previously to do so, both in the United Kingdom and in the field.

Geoff on crevasse rescue practice in Derbyshire before going into the field on South Georgia.

He conducted field work from King Edward Point (Base M), and along the southwestern coastline during the 1973-74 and 1975-76 austral summers respectively. His team of geologists included Roger Clayton, David Macdonald, Bruce Mair, Rory Mortimore, Tim Pettigrew, Phil Stone and Bryan Storey. Under Geoff’s leadership, their field work and research, was published in a series of BAS Scientific Reports, BAS Bulletins and external geological publications. Geoff and his team finally completed the first comprehensive geological mapping of South Georgia, established the ages of the various stratigraphic and lithological units, and placed South Georgia in its regional context within the Scotia Arc and in relationship to the Antarctic Peninsula and the Southern Andes.

Geoff left BAS in 1979 and joined the Geology Department of Glasgow University, and subsequently became an Honorary Research Fellow in 1990. He suffered from Parkinson’s Disease in later life but nevertheless maintained his formidable reputation as an authority on the structural geology of the Scottish Highlands. In recognition, he was awarded the Clough Medal by the Edinburgh Geological Society in 2008. Geoff leaves his wife, Judith, a daughter and a son.

For a photo of Geoff see the official obituary on the Geological Society website: https://www.geolsoc.org.uk/About/History/Obituaries-2001-onwards/Obituaries-2023/Peter-William-Geoffrey-Tanner

Geoff is commemorated on the map of South Georgia by Tanner Island. The APC Gazetteer states “It is the largest and westernmost of Pickersgill Islands, rising to 145 m, [and] was named after Peter William Geoffrey Tanner (b. 1938), BAS geologist, who worked on the island, 1975-76 (APC, 1979, p. 3).


Snapshot from Antarctic Placenames Committee – see
https://apc.antarctica.ac.uk/sgssi/

His key papers relating to South Georgia are:

  • TANNER , P W G, and D C REX. 1979. Timing of events in an Early Cretaceous island arc – marginal basin system on South Georgia. 1979. Geological Magazine, 116 (3), 167-179.
  • TANNER, P W G, STOREY B C, and D I M. MACDONALD. 1981. Geology of an Upper Jurassic – Lower Cretaceous island-are assemblage in Hauge Reef, the Pickersgill Islands and adjoining areas of South Georgia. BAS Bulletin, 53, 77-118.
  • STOREY, B C, and TANNER, P W G. 1982. Geochemistry of a Mesozoic island-arc assemblage and ocean floor basalts from South Georgia. BAS Bulletin, 56, 7-24.
  • TANNER, P W G. 1982a. Geologic Evolution of South Georgia. In: Craddock, C. (ed.) Antarctic Geoscience. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 167-176.
  • TANNER, P W G. 1982b. Geology of Shag Rocks, part of a continental block on the North Scotia Ridge, and possible regional correlations. BAS Bulletin, 51, 125-136.
  • TANNER, P W G, and MACDONALD, D I M. 1982. Models for the deposition and simple shear deformation of a turbidite sequence in the South Georgia portion of the southern Andes back-arc basin. Journal of the Geological Society, London, 139, 739-754.
  • THOMSON, M R A, TANNER, P W G, and REX, D C. 1982. Fossil and radiometric evidence for ages of deposition and metamorphism of sedimentary sequences on South Georgia. In: Craddock, C. (ed.) Antarctic Geoscience. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 177-184.

Geoff Tanner Remembered Read More »

GSGSSI Annual Report 2022

The Government of South Georgia has just published their 2022 annual report.

Alternatively you can download it directly from our own archive:

GSGSSI Annual Report 2022 (3.05 MB)

GSGSSI Annual Report 2022 Read More »

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