UK Earthquake Resources

It was rather ironic that while spending a week studying (relatively quiet) tectonic activity in Iceland, a significant earthquake hit the UK.

On my return, I gathered a few resources concerning this earthquake – having missed out on the event, at least I will have some information to hand when the next earthquake hits our shores. They may also stimulate the creation of a mini case study to use to compare with future larger events elsewhere in the world.



BGS Monmouth

British Geological Survey seismograph from Monmouth station


BGS Geosocial app picking up twitter heat about current earthquakes in Mexico and S Wales @BusyWorkerBee

BGS Geosocial app picking up twitter heat about current earthquakes in Mexico and S Wales – via @BusyWorkerBee.jpg


Location Map @NNweather

Simple location map – via @NNWeather

Stay Strong


Even made the National Geographic!



Made the USGS pages as well!



Macroseismic intensities from BGS

These web links provide some interesting comments from UK residents experiencing the earthquake:





However, my overall favourite resource is this tweet:

ScreenHunter_01 Feb. 20 12.21

On my return to the UK, things did start to get rather more interesting in Iceland – with an unprecedented amount of activity around the island of Grimsey, just off the north coast.


My tectonic timing just seems a little out of sync at the present!

Posted in Curriculum, Physical World, Students, Teachers | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Icelandic Tongue Twisters

I have been travelling to Iceland on a regular basis for a number of years now, and am slowly making progress with the native language. However, there are many pretty challenging words and place names to get your tongue around – the pick of which is shown in this wonderful map posted on Twitter by @aldakalda (Alda Sigmundsdottir):Iceland Dyslexia Map @aldakalda

Alda has been kind enough to add a pronunciation guide to help out. Follow this Dropbox link to listen to it for yourself:


Posted in General Geo, Human World, Iceland, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee Table Fit For A Geographer

ScreenHunter_01 Jan. 23 13.04

How about this for a coffee table? It is the only one of its kind – based on a scale model of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.

Made from sycamore and yew, it has a glass top that gives an amazing bird’s-eye view of this feature every time you pick up your coffee cup.

ScreenHunter_02 Jan. 23 13.04

The table has been produced by the ‘Natural Edge Company’ – who claim to bring together the love of landscape with a passion for simple, functional design. Commissions are possible – so if you fancy a table to remind you of your favourite Scottish Highland or Lake District peak, why not get in touch?

Posted in General Geo, Maps | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is That Sea Water Fit To Bathe In?





I recently completed a piece of work focusing on tourism in my own area – with particular reference to the quality of sea bathing water. My research led me to the excellent Environment Agency web site, where I was able examine information about all of the bathing beaches within my county.

ScreenHunter_03 Jan. 23 13.05

The Environmental Agency assesses water quality at selected sites from May to September, and at a number of sites, daily pollution risk forecasts are issued.

ScreenHunter_04 Jan. 23 13.06This is a great resource for students to investigate their own areas, and ask questions about why sea water quality varies from place to place.

A search tool allows you to locate bathing water profiles in a selected area, and by clicking on individual beaches on the map, it is possible to access further details. Data extracts can be downloaded from the data page.

Why not try it out on your next fieldwork visit to the coast?

ScreenHunter_05 Jan. 23 13.07

ScreenHunter_06 Jan. 23 13.07

ScreenHunter_08 Jan. 23 13.08

ScreenHunter_07 Jan. 23 13.07

Posted in General Geo, Human World, Physical World, Students, Teachers, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Are Our Perceptions Of Countries Around The World?

ScreenHunter_11 Jan. 23 16.18

ScreenHunter_01 Jan. 24 16.12Exeter International is a Florida-based travel agency that specialises in arranging trips to Russia and Central Europe. I came across them while researching a possible future trip to Russia, and was interested to read about a project they completed examining people’s perceptions of the different countries of the world.

They used Google autocomplete to discover what people most commonly searched for every country in the world. When typing a search in Google, suggestions are offered based on what other people are searching for. These were used to draw maps showing the top suggestions associated with each country, giving a fascinating insight of people’s perceptions of different nations.

Maps for all of the continents can be accessed via the weblink above, along with a full list of search terms for each individual country. Meanwhile, some of the results are shown below. Interesting to see that the most popular term used for Argentina was Malbec! Note the popular use of music and food terms for different African countries! How about ‘Dating Sites’ for the Ukraine!

ScreenHunter_19 Jan. 23 16.20

ScreenHunter_22 Jan. 23 16.21

ScreenHunter_14 Jan. 23 16.18
I wonder if pupils would be able to guess the correct countries from the search terms used? Might be a bit of educational fun for the classroom!


Posted in General Geo, Human World, Maps, Teachers, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Map Squeeze Balls and Bubble Wrap Maps?

Squishy Ball citylab.comI don’t know if these geographical oddities will ever become a reality, but they are interesting ideas.
The object shown in the image to the left is called an ‘Egg Map’, and is designed for urban explorers to use instead of a paper map or smart ‘phone app. It is a soft squishy ball that can be squeezed to reveal a close up view of streets, roads and major landmarks.
Squeeze ballThe Egg Map is a concept from Denes Sator, who has designed a prototype for his home city of Budapest. It is light, waterproof and pretty much indestructible.
A number of world cities are planned for future production – providing a Kickstarter fund raising programme is successful. I wonder if it will catch on?


Bud Map



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASator recently launched another idea – popping map bubble wrap – called ‘Pop Map’. His press release states:
“PopMap is not only an unconventional, playful tourist guide, it also serves as a great tool to release nervous energy while exploring the world. Several studies have shown the stress-relieving effect of popping bubble wraps and the way it relaxes people ….. So pop through the sights with your therapeutic map and leave not a bubble behind”.


For now, they only have Budapest in stock but there other cities that will be pop-able soon.

Find out more about Egg Maps at:



Posted in General Geo, Maps, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do You Know What A Deci-point Is? Mount Etna is The Only One In The World!

Etna DecipointI love learning new things, and happily stumbled across this the other day. I had never heard of a ‘deci-point’ – but now I know it is a location where ten different administrative areas converge at one place.

There is one location in the USA where 5 counties meet – in the centre of the wonderfully named Lake Okeechobee. This is known as a ‘quinti-point’.

According to the map above – discovered via a tweet from @onlmaps – Mount Etna has ten administrative areas converging on its peak, and is the only location in the world where this can be found. The Italian province of Catania is divided into 58 comuni, or municipalities, and ten of those—Adrano, Biancavilla, Belpasso, Bronte, Castiglione di Sicilia, Maletto, Nicolosi, Randazzo, Sant’Alfio, and Zafferana Etnea—all meet at the top of the volcano. So now you know as well!

If you want to go one step further, you could examine Antarctica. The Antarctic Treaty of 1961 allows all nations the freedom to explore and do research on the continent, but it doesn’t address the past territorial claims made by seven countries. With all of these claims meeting together at the South Pole, they form a complicated 11-way intersection of territories and claims. However, I don’t know what this is called!

Posted in General Geo, Maps | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment