Many visitors clamber along with hammers in hand determined to chip their souvenirs out of the cliff face but they potentially do untold damage to the World Heritage Site.
Over the coming months, experts from Bournemouth University’s Environmental and Geographical Sciences Group will use a sophisticated laser scanning technique to monitor this form of erosion to see just how much damage – if any – is caused by the human fossil hunters.
Funded by the Jurassic Coast Team and Natural England, the BU project is led by Andy Ford, a lecturer in Geoinformatics in the University’s School of Conservation Sciences. Ford and his colleagues have already taken ‘baseline’ scans at incredibly high resolution of the cliffs along the coast near Charmouth in Dorset prior to the influx of summer visitors. The process will be repeated at the end of the summer and again next spring to compare any changes in the terrain to help determine whether people or nature may be causing the most damage.
"Using our new state-of-the-art laser we're able to automatically scan the entire cliff face at a resolution of centimetres over hundreds of square metres,” Ford explains. “What's more, once we tell the scanner where it is and what we want it to do it takes over and scans a section of the cliff, robot fashion, in comfortably under an hour. Back in the office, we stitch the sections together to make a very detailed virtual model of the entire cliff. It even takes its own pictures and pastes them over the model. The results are something to behold."
Potential fossil hunters to the Jurassic Coast this summer should also be on the look-out for a new fossil warden who will patrol the beaches at Charmouth to deter people from chipping away at the cliffs. Stuart Godman is part of the Dorset County Council’s Countryside Service. His role is to steer people away from the cliffs and back onto the beach where a number of fossils can be found in the soft mud.
Charles Elder | alfa
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy