Professor Andy Gale from the University of Portsmouth has had a long career in geology and palaeontology, both as a teacher and a researcher, with a specialisation in chalk and its fossils among other things. He now lives on the Isle of Wight, and has published over 200 research articles on geological history and  fossils.

The talk will begin by looking briefly at the world 100 to 65 million years ago to review its climate and geography, then move on to the chalk - one of the most unusual deposits ever to form, a soft white limestone made from the skeletons of innumerable tiny algae living in the surface waters of a sea which extended across Europe from Ireland to the Aral Sea in central Asia. Flints in the chalk formed from dissolution of the skeletons of siliceous sponges, reprecipitated in animal burrows below the sea floor, resulting in such strange and varied shapes. The fauna of the chalk is remarkably diverse, and includes numerous sea-floor dwellers such as clams, sea urchins and starfish, together with the remains of fishes, ammonites and giant marine reptiles which swam in the sea. Specimens of some of these will be on display.

This is a FREE talk open to all which will be live-streamed on our Facebook and YouTube accounts. 

The event will be 45 minutes long with a 10-15 minute Q&A at the end.

Please join us for elevenses and learn something new about chalk!

We have free online events happening every day this week at 11am as part of our Coombe Bissett Down Chalk Celebration Week, so be sure to check them out too!