Showing posts from May, 2022


  In 2008, during the Credit Crunch, the investment bank Goldman Sachs was referred to as  'the vampire squid'.  Vampire Squids exist. Their home is the deepest and most oxygen-poor parts of the oceans, where others don't care to swim. Their life style is relaxed and in fact they are rather weedy. When attacked they try to look more imposing than they actually are. But they also have a superpower; bioluminescent organs which not only help to attract mates in the dark, but can  squirt bioluminescent, sticky gunk into the water to scare off predators.  Guess what!?! A good analogy then! No doubt Goldman's finest will be present at Davos, joining others in the the low-oxygen mountain environment and puffing themselves up with colourful displays. Being Lords of the Universe and probably 'open-source' when it comes to mating, odds on there will be some of that too.   My interest here is Davos, the ultimate jacuzzi of waffle and bullshit. There would perhaps be a poin

My Favourite Oil Wells

You should see them on the Alberta wheat fields , bobbing up and down in the seas of wheat like deranged mechanical prairie dogs..... Now, I knew that here in England we had our own onshore oil field, at Wytch Farm, near Swanage in Dorset. It has been there since 1936, carefully hidden in trees on a chalk ridge. It holds around  0.5 billion barrels of oil, which makes it a  tiddler by global standards but still a giant among the plankton-sized fields in the rest of the UK. Wytch Farm : The Dorset Donkeys Some ten years ago, it looked as if its crown was going to be surrendered. A huge oil reservoir had been found in Sussex which the ever-excitable press labelled the 'Gatwick Gusher' and trumpeted would turn England into the Kuwait of Europe.  One hundred billion barrels - two hundred times the amount of the noxious goo at Wytch Farm, and the size of a respectable North Sea reservoir, were waiting to be pumped out. They said.  Sadly, there were a couple of minor snags. For a kic

Deep Past : Intro.

This is an introduction to my 'Deep Past' Series.  The task I have set myself is to produce a jargon-free summary of the origin and nature of the features of the landscape of this area, in a brief enough form to be readable on a mobile phone.  This involves many compromises. I don't wish to try your patience dear reader and that, together with a lack of screen space, means that this will be thin gruel.  I cannot pose as an expert so y ou will just have to trust that I have done some homework, mainly relying on brevity trying and sticking to mainstream explanations. If you can tell me how to improve this stuff without lengthening it, please do.  The general idea is that this series will cover the general features of the area. I will leave all finer detail to locally specific posts, most often the suggested cycling routes. The problem was always where to start.  The fact is that nearly everything we can see is the result of relatively chapters in Earth's eventful history.

Deep Past 4 . Chilling Out

In previous posts I covered the rock foundations of our hills and valleys, so now I will torture the analogy and look at the flooring. T his 4th post in the series starts from around 2.5 million years ago  which, in geological terms, is a distance from the present day no greater than the gaps in a country  bus timetable.  Effectively this is the  ice ages and their legacy.  It has always been the case that the constant and radical changes to the landscape and the climate over millions of years, made it hard to for a simple punter like me. to sift out simple cause and effect relationships. Now, as get closer to the present, the increasing amount of fine grained detail available makes it  even harder to simplify the story. So i f any professional paleogeologists are reading this, for the sake of your mental health, stop now.    At the point when when we left the last post, what is now South East England was still connected to Europe.  The map below will give you some idea.  Southern Eng

Deep Past 2. Coming Up For Air

Let's drag our bloodstained carcass out of the apocalyptic hole left by the second life-eradicating asteroid impact into the 'Tertiary' Period. Life without giant reptiles on a planet that is very slowly becoming more recognisable, with mammals, birds and leafy trees.  Apparently this isn't geo-politically woke terminology now and I should be giving the period the correct geo-pronoun which is (I think) the Danian Age in the Paleocene epoch in the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Epoch of the Phanerozoic Eon. (Point being, I am merrily skipping through around 5 of these Epochs and  20 Ages in this post and I want you to know just how much grit and gyp I am sparing you!) No quack remedy was going to cure the Planet's hangover from the Asteroid impact and the d ramatic fluctuations that had afflicted it so far, will continue. T he climate periodically morphing from icehouse to greenhouse.   T ectonic plates and the continents atop them continued to tootle  around the g