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Showing posts from May, 2013

Oligocene discussion day

On the 16th of May, the University of Bristol held a half-day meeting devoted to the discussion of the  Oligocene epoch (34 to 23 million years ago [Ma]) . The Oligocene is a period of relative climate stability following the establishment of permanent ice sheets on Antarctica (34Ma). By the early Miocene (23Ma), atmospheric CO 2   was low enough to allow the development of northern hemispheric ice sheets 1 .  As a result, the Oligocene may have been the only time in the Cenozoic era (65-0Ma) during which a unipolar glaciation could exist. Despite this, the Oligocene has received little attention from the Cenozoic palaeoclimate community. The aim of this event was to promote awareness of the Oligocene and encourage future research within this field. Ellen Thomas , currently in Bristol on sabbatical from Yale, and  David Armstrong-McKay , from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), began the morning session with a series of talks devoted to the late Eocene and early Oligocene.

A dirty relationship

I went to see Cabot Institute Artist in Residence Neville Gabie ’s Archiving Oil installation in the Basement Stores of Geology last night (16 May 2013).   It’s pretty cool to be down in the depths of the Wills Memorial Building at the University of Bristol and I can safely assure you I saw no ghosts.   I started off by going into a lift and as the doors opened into the basement, there was an eerie darkness with a bright light emanating from a creepy corner.   A man dressed in white was in front of me and he was pouring a sticky black substance into buckets.   A distinctly thick, gloopy and dirty sound filled my ears.   I promise you it wasn’t a ghost but the image in front of me was quite harrowing.  We use oil in everything we do and here was oil in its bare nakedness – black, shiny, thick, dirty.   I stopped and stared for a while, mesmerised by the horribleness of the clean white background being splatted with this dirty substance.   When you see oil like this, you know de