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PostPosted: Sat 13 Feb 2016 01:57 
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British Cave Research Association Karst Science Field Meeting

Gull Caves and Cotswolds Karst

Sunday 23 October 2016

Box Mines, Wiltshire – in memory of Charlie Self

The British Cave Research Association (http://www.bcra.org.uk) is pleased to invite you and your friends to attend its Karst Science Field Meeting that will be held on Sunday 23 October 2016 at Box Stone Mines, Box, Wiltshire. This will follow the annual BCRA Cave Science Symposium at Oxford University on 22 October, which will be notified separately.

The meeting venue will be at Box in mid-morning. Two underground trips are planned: short (10 people maximum) and long (6–8 maximum). Both trips will start at an older part of the mine that was quarried using hand tools. For some, this will be the most interesting part of the complex. The pillar-and-stall style workings are well seen, as are both pick and saw marks, miners’ tallies in charcoal, and charcoal drawings on the walls. An obscure side passage known as the Picture Gallery is full of mid-Victorian sketches and is not to be missed. We shall also study the geology of the site, and in particular the gull caves, cambering and dissolution phenomena. A great advantage of studying gulls from inside a mine is that they have not been modified by surface weathering effects. There are 35 gulls and gull caves crossing one passage and their size variation and spatial distribution are easily seen. Cambered strata and dip-and-fault structures can be seen near the valley edge in this part of the mine and we shall also consider the palaeohydrology of the southern Cotswolds (Farrant et al., 2015). This part of the meeting had been planned by Charlie Self, who sadly died on 4 February 2016 after a short illness. His important studies of Cotswold gull caves are well known and will be discussed whilst in the Box Mine.

At this point the party will be split. People on the short trip can study the scientific aspects in more detail and then leave for a local pub lunch. The long trip will be led by Dr. Andy Farrant. This will be a substantial 4-hour underground traverse of much of the rest of the mine to a second entrance. On the way we will look at the Wind Tunnel to examine the Corsham Fault and some of the solution features and see the impressive skylight known as The Cathedral. Attendees on the long trip should carry their own lunch packs and have a reasonable level of fitness.

Pre-registration for the Field Meeting is essential and should be made to the meeting secretary, Dr. Trevor Faulkner, by sending an email to t.faulkner[-at-]bcra.org.uk by Friday 23 September 2016 at the latest, although earlier indications will be appreciated. Please state your preference for the short or long trip. Attendances will need to be restricted, and reservations will be accepted in order of receipt. All participants will need BCA insurance and suitable personal caving equipment for a dry caving trip without crawling or difficult climbing. There will be a small charge for the meeting, with discounts for members of BCRA, payable on the day. Further information will be provided by email to those who pre-register. The latest information can be discussed by phone at 01625 531558.

BCRA re-launched cave science field meetings in 2008 and participants have enjoyed many successful events since then. We hope you will come and support this one so that similar activities can be staged in the future.

Farrant, AR, Noble, SR, Barron, AJM, Self, CA and Grebby, SR. 2015. Speleothem U-series constraints on scarp retreat rates and landscape evolution: an example from the Severn Valley and Cotswold Hills gull-caves, UK. Journal of the Geological Society 172, 63-76.


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