The Society meets in the Finchley Baptist Church Hall, No. 5, East End Road, Finchley, London. N3 3QL every 2nd Tuesday of the month.

This is almost opposite Avenue House/Stephens House. There is limited parking at the Hall but lots of free parking in East End Road.  It is less than 10 minutes from Finchley Central Station Northern Line with lots of buses travelling down Ballards Lane. A nice, warm, bright hall with a kitchen serving area.

7.30pm for 8.00pm start.  Enquires: 020 8346 1056 Julia Daniels, General Secretary.

Go to the ‘Find Us’ page for a map and more information…..

Future Lectures planned for 2018:


Tues March 13th 2018 -“The Active Volcanoes of Italy” – Dr. Tony Waltham

Tues April 10th 2018 -“Virtual Fieldwork Using Google Earth” – Dr. Ian Watkinson

Tues Oct. 9th 2018 -“Biosignatures In Earth’s Oldest Sediments” – Dr. Dominic Papineau

Other lectures to be announced …..

PAST LECTURES 2017 + 2018

Tuesday January 9th 2018 

“Sir Richard Owen and Fossil Invertebrates” – This is Dr. Chris Duffin’s 14th talk to the AGS!  Chris is Scientific Associate in the Earth Science Dept. of the Natural History Museum and in 2011 won the Mary Anning Award for outstanding contributions to palaeontology.

“Richard Owen introduced the term ‘dinosaur’ and was responsible for describing a number of fossil reptiles, as well as the existence of giant antipodean fossil birds from a single bone fragment!  He oversaw the establishment of the Natural History Museum and the model dinosaurs now in Sydenham Park, as well as being at the forefront of palaeontological research for several decades.”

See ‘Nodule‘ for a synopsis of the talk.

Tuesday December 12th 2017

“Why Planet Earth is Habitable” by Dr. Philip von Strandmann from UCL.

The last talk of the current year……..

The Earth has been inhabited by life for almost 90% of its 4.5 billion year existence.  However, life requires very narrow climatic and chemical conditions.  The implication therefore is that Earth has maintained such conditions necessary for life for billions of years.  This cannot be a coincidence, which means that there must be active processes that keep Earth habitable, despite cataclysmic events such as meteorite impacts, volcanoes, continental drift and mass extinctions………..


See ‘Nodule‘ for a synopsis of the talk.

Tuesday November 14th  2017

Frank Stokes Memorial Lecture:

“Connoisseurs of Minerals: the Freeman and Simmons Collections”

by Dr. Monica Price, Collections Manager, Mineralogy & Petrology of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

We often talk about connoisseurship when discussing fine mineral specimens; well formed, richly coloured, lustrous crystals in aesthetic groups and unique combinations, are beautiful natural works of art but they are also repositories of scientific information. My talk will focus particularly on two collections made by connoisseurs at very different times in history.  The first was made by Dr Richard Simmons in the 19th century and the second by Pearl and Sid Freeman (both members of the AGS) in the 20th century.  Both mineral collections are very special to the Museum, and Monica will explain why……..

See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis of the talk.

Tuesday October 10th 2017

“Exceptionally Preserved Cambrian Fossils, the flowering of early animal life, and world heritage in Yunnan Province, China.” by Professor Derek Siveter of Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

520 million year old Cambrian mudstones are yielding a spectacular variety of exquisitely preserved fossils.  Thousands of fossils have been collected, comprising not just of the hard shells of the animals, but also their soft tissues in fine detail.  The Chengjiang fossil sites are of world importance…….

See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis of the talk.

Tuesday September 12th 2017  

“The Textures of Peridotite Rocks of Sub-Continental Mantle Origin” by Dr. Bryan Tabor from Harrow & Hillingdon Geological Society.                                                               “Processes involved in the development of igneous and metamorphic rocks involve some combination of crystal growth, solution, movement and deformation, which is expressed as changes in texture.  Recent advances in the quantification of aspects of crystalline textures have opened new avenues of research that extend and complement the more dominant chemical and isotopic studies”.   It is on this theme, trying to find achievable measurement that my PhD thesis work is based and summarized in the talk.

See ‘Nodule‘ for a synopsis of the talk.

Tuesday August 8th 2107


“Green Skies and Brown Clouds on Lanzaroti” (20mins) by Vic Taylor (AGS)

“Platinum – It’s Mineralogy, Extraction and Applications” by Bruce Rimmer (AGS)

Also: Display of entries for the coveted ‘Golden Egg’ Competition.

See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis and the outcome of the ‘Golden Egg’ competition!

Tuesday 11th July 2017   –  Did not take place, no speaker.

Mike Howgate stood in for the speaker who was stuck in traffic ……..

“Virtual Fieldwork using Google Earth” by Ian Watkinson.  Lecturer in Regional Tectonic Analysis at the Dept. of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway University of London.

Wherever we live, our lives are shaped by the motion of the Earth’s tectonic plates.  Mountain belts, sedimentary basins, oceans, volcanoes and earthquakes are formed by plate tectonics and they control climate, agriculture, mineral resources and natural disasters.  Using Google Earth we can explore the planet from anywhere with an internet connection.  Adding geospatial data such as earthquake locations, crustal ages, population densities and historical surface imagery to Google Earth allows us to asses a wide range of geological processes in four dimensions and understand their impact on the Earth’s inhabitants.


See ‘Nodule‘ for a synopsis of the talk.

Tuesday June 13th 2017

“Internal Features of Gemstones” by Patrick Daly of Gem-A

Patrick is from Gem-A, an international Gemmological institution specialising in education and identification of gemstones. His talk will explain how inclusions in gems are formed and why they can be desirable, and how they can be instrumental in identifying the many species of gemstones. They can also reveal how a gem was formed and whether it is a natural or synthetic stone plus other fascinating facts…….

See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis.

Tuesday May 9th 2017

“Chromite, Tungsten & Iron: Mineral deposits and mines in Portugal”

by Lesley Dunlop     – Northumbria University. 

Although Portugal is a small country it contains an interesting range of different types of mineral deposits from different settings. Chromites is found within a series of ophiolites, tin and tungsten deposits are similar to those of south-west England and granite related whereas the iron is from volcanic origin. All of these types of deposits have been exploited commercially over the years and some are being re-evaluated. This talk will cover the range of deposits, characteristic and unusual minerals and show the main deposits.

Things about myself:
I have had a long interest in mineral deposits and became interested in the Portuguese tin-tungsten deposits whilst working on geochemistry of the related deposits in SW England. Over the last 25 years I have made many visits to different mining regions and seen many changes. I currently work at Northumbria University where I do mainly geophysical research. I am currently Chair of the English Geodiversity Forum and GeoConservationUK and involved with the Geoconservation Committee of the Geological Society.

See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis.

Tuesday April 11th  2017

“Sandstone Fantasies of Jordan” by Dr. Tony Waltham of Geophotos.

Jordan has a classic desert environment where the geology is clearly displayed with much cover by soil and plants. Much of the country’s area is floored by unexciting, minimally folded Mesozoic sedimentary rocks, but there are two notable exceptions. The Dead Sea Rift has faults, dykes, geothermal waters and the Dead Sea minerals. And red Precambrian sandstones provide sheer spectacle in southern Jordan. Wadi Rum presents the natural, with classic semi-arid landforms, including mesas, buttes and arches. Petra presents the artificial, with the amazing rock carvings and exposures around the 2000-year-old city site. “Rose-red city half as old as time” is the famous epithet, but the best bits are neither city nor rose-red.

See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis.

Tuesday March 14th  2017

“Stones said to have fallen from the Clouds” by Prof. Paul Henderson from UCL.

Farmworkers knew from bitter experience that stones came from the heavens, sometimes with dramatic sounds and sights, but they were not believed by the savants.  Prejudice and disbelief were finally overcome through unusual “rock hard evidence’ at the end of the 18th century.  Now we understand much about meteorites, but do we really know all the answers?

See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis.

Tuesday 10th January 2017 was the first meeting at the Baptist Church and featured

“IGUANODON” by Dr. Chris Duffin, Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum.

The full story of this famous Dinosaur, from the first incomplete discoveries, the incorrect positioning of the thumb spike, reconstructions at Crystal Palace, establishing if it was quadrupedal or bipedal, fossil footprint finds and its dental habits!

See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis.

Past Lectures – 2016

Tuesday 13th December

This was the last meeting in the Parlour …….

“Our Heritage – Stone Tools and Rock Art” by Bob Maurer from Harrow & Hillingdon Geological Society.

A synopsis of the talk can be found under ‘Nodule’……..

Tuesday 8th November

“Carbonado Diamonds From Space” by Pro. Hilary Downes of Birkbeck University.

  • See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis of the talk.

Tuesday 11th October

“The Mesozoic Marine Reptile Renaissance Part Two” by Dr. Mark Evans from the Leicester Arts & Museums Service and the University of Leicester.

  • See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis of the talk.

Tuesday 13th September

“Virtual Fossils – Soft Bodied Sensations from the Silurian” by Prof. Derek Siveter from the Oxford University Museum.

  • See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis of the talk.

Tuesday August 9th   was a ‘Members Evening’ and included two Mini Talks:

“A Gemstone Through the Ages” by Janice Nicholson, Treasurer of the AGS.

A lovely talk by Janice on the origin and history of the gemstone Peridot (or Periodo´) which is gem quality Olivine. Pale green in colour, depending on the iron content, Janice also explained where the stones have been found.  A ‘green’ olivine beach in Hawaii, inclusions in meteorites and in volcanic lava, plus Native Indians of Arizona who found the small gemstones in streams were just a few.  Janice showed a number of interesting slides which included some of beautifully polished and faceted specimens.

“Clay and Bricks” by Richard Furminger

Talk was ok, with the brick and clay examples the best bit…..

******  The coveted ‘Golden Egg’ award was deservedly won by Penny Badham for her wonderful sketches and water colours of her numerous geological trips.  Congratulations Penny!

Tuesday 12th July

“30 Years Collecting with Sussex Mineral & Lapidary Society” by John Pearce.

  • See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis of the talk.

Tuesday 14th June     “The Natural History of the Mammoth”.

Prof. Adrian Lister from the Natural History Museum.

  • See ‘Nodule’ for a synopsis of the talk.


Jean Miller’s executor has contacted us to say that Jean left her fossils, maps and books to the AGS. They will be available to members at future meetings at a very reasonable price.