Events and Field Trips

AGM in Maastricht, 4-5th February 2017

We plan to visit the Maastricht Museum of Natural History that houses a skeleton of a Mosasaurus hoffmanni and (probably) the ENCI-quarry (the ICS type area for the upper Maastrichtian) and Blankenburg quarry (largest chert bank in Europe).

Proposed accomodations:

- the youth hostel Stayokay Maastricht, Maasboulevard 101, 6211 JW Maastricht, +31 (0)43 750 17 90,

- Crowne Plaza Hotel Maastricht, Ruiterij 1, 6221 EW Maastricht, +31 (0)43 350 9191,

OUGSME Mapping week in Ardèche, Massif Central, France

We will learn to map in detail quaternary basaltic volcanoes and their Variscan metamorphic and granitic basement under the leadership of Dr Françoise Chalot-Prat. A 1st day will be dedicated to the recognition of rocks in the field and the presentation of the geological story of the area, followed by 3 days mapping in small groups in different areas. The 5th day we will synthesis our productions to produce a geological map and we will visit the most important geological sites of that area. A 6th day will be the opportunity to visit "la Grotte Chauvet" (Chauvet Caves) and the touristic area of Gorges de l'Ardèche (Vallon Pont d'Arc; 1h by car from Neyrac les Bains).

Dr Chalot-Prat is a teacher-researcher at the University of Lorraine (Nancy) and organizes every year a field mapping practical on this thematic for undergraduate or graduate students. She speaks English.

Although field mapping will not be technically difficult, participants will need to be happy to spend the days outdoor.

The mapping area is located in the Ardèche department in the SW of Auvergne. The landscape corresponds to small hills (up to 1500m) more or less covered with vegetation (dominant chestnut-trees).

In April, temperatures can vary from 0 to 25°C. Sometimes we can use the swimming pool of the camping every evening, or wear several polar jackets all the weeklong.

The estimated cost per participant is 220 €. This includes:

Accommodation for 7 nights (from 22th April evening to 29st April morning) in mobile-homes (2 separate rooms- 1 with 1 double bed and 1 with 2 single beds; separate bathroom and toilets; electric heating; living room with kitchen; covered terrace with wood table), within the Five Stars Camping de la Plage ( between Neyrac les Bains and the mapping sites (9-seater car rental and contribution to petrol of personal cars)

Not comprised is the food (self-catering or small restaurant and pizzeria in the vicinity).

It is possible to organise a pick-up in the morning of the 22th from the Valence TGV station to Neyrac les Bains. For the return, a drop-off at Valence train station will be organised in the morning on the 29th. The Valence TGV station can be reached directly from Paris Roissy airport or Lyon Saint Exupery Airport.

Field Trip to the Messel Pit and the Geopark Odenwald (near Darmstadt, Germany)

14-17th September 2017

The Messel pit is famous for its wealth of fossils that have been found there, and for the excellent preservation of them (see picture to the right).

In addition to a visit to the Messel pit, we’ll explore the Odenwald geopark (a UNESCO site!). While nearly all of the Odenwald is based on crystalline rock, we’ll also look at some of the few sedimentary features, to find out more about the environments that favour fossilisation. So this is going to be a weekend for fossil lovers, but also for “hard rock” folks - a nice mixture!

The trip is going to include some or all of the following points:

Eckweg, Heppenheim. This 2 hour walk through the vineyards south of Heppenheim, introduces various topics such as Granite and the Variscan Orogeny, Rhine Graben formation, Periglacial sedimentation (Loess), Soils and Winegrowing

Bensheim-Zell: a short walk to investigate some typical features of the loess landscape along the eastern edge of the Odenwald.

The Felsenmeer: Another 2 - 2.5 hour walk covering subjects such as Granite and Variscan Orogeny (cont’d), Tertiary climate and granite weathering, Periglacial situation and Felsenmeer development.

Grube Prinz von Hessen: Short walk, touching subjects such as: difference between Messel Pit and this small abandoned Tertiary quarry (Tertiary tectonics along the Rhine Graben), Incl. some time searching for Lignite fossils (plant remains)

Mainzer Berg Quarry: Permian sedimentation (Rotliegend)

Otzberg: short walk and view from the castle tower towards Frankfurt, the Taunus Hills, the Spessart, subject here: Tertiary Volcanic activity, Relationship between Taunus, Odenwald, Spessart and the Permian Sedimentary Basin.

Gross Umstadt, Heubach: Permian volcanic activity, Rhyolite

This is still very much a preliminary programme, so subject to change! But it gives some ideas about the things we are likely to see.

We’ll be led by guides of the geopark, one of which is an English native speaker, and the other one could be Dr. Antje Bormann, who led our group to the Felsenmeer (AGM Heidelberg, 2014) (still tbc).

If you are interested, please contact Marion Seitz (marion(at)

For some information about the Messel pit see:



Our events do not constitute a brochure under the Package Travel Regulations 1992