The Rhynie Hot Spring System:

Geology, Biota and Mineralisation

 

17 – 20 September 2003

 

Rhynie conference delegates, University of Aberdeen, 18th Sept. 2003

Above: Photograph of the delegates who attended the Rhynie conference, taken in the grounds of King's College, University of Aberdeen, 18th September 2003.

 

Over forty delegates attended this international conference and workshop, which provided a forum for discussion of all aspects of research on the Early Devonian Rhynie hot spring complex, Aberdeenshire Scotland. As well as from UK and European universities, delegates also came from the US, Australia and New Zealand.

A wide variety of areas of research were covered by oral and poster presentations, and are listed at the bottom of this page. Palaeontological aspects included both review papers and descriptions of new elements of the biota from the Rhynie and Windyfield cherts. Other areas covered included a history of Rhynie research, geology, mineralisation and dating of the Rhynie deposits. Various topics relating to modern hot spring analogues were also explored. These included taphonomy and preservation of biota, sinter formation and facies variation in hot spring environments, silica maturation and sinter diagenesis, together with the role of microbes in silicification, sinter formation and the precipitation of metals.

For the conference, with permission from Scottish Natural Heritage, a trench was excavated through part of the Rhynie chert-bearing unit, revealing a 12 metre sequence of cherts and chert-cemented sandstones interbedded with weathered carbonaceous sandstones, siltstones and shales (see inset below right). For the first time oriented blocks of chert were recovered from in situ chert beds, and will provide material for future work on the palaeoecology of the deposit. The trench was visited by the conference delegates on Saturday 20th September as the main part of a field excursion looking at the geology of the Rhynie area

 

Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh - Rhynie special publication:

The papers resulting from the conference and accepted by Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh will shortly be published as Part 4 of Vol 94 (2004) of the Transactions.

 

Public open day at Rhynie

 

On Sunday 21st September, Drs. Nigel Trewin and Clive Rice gave a talk on the geology and palaeontology of the Rhynie hot spring complex at the school in Rhynie, which was attended by over two hundred people from the village and the surrounding area! Following the presentation members of the public were invited to view the trench excavated through part of the Rhynie chert-bearing sequence (see inset right).

We would like to thank Scottish Natural Heritage, who own the Rhynie chert SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) for their cooperation and allowing the excavation to take place. Jim Duncan is also thanked for his help in excavating the trench. 

 

 

 

Right: Members of the public viewing the trench excavated through part of the Rhynie chert-bearing sequence at Rhynie.

Members of the public viewing the trench through the Rhynie chert seqence

 

Conference Presentations

The following contributions were given during the conference, and the abstracts may be viewed here.

 

Oral Presentations

History and framework geology

 

History of research on the geology and palaeontology of the Rhynie area, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. N. H. Trewin (University of Aberdeen)

Geological setting of the Rhynie Hot Spring System. C. M. Rice and W. A. Ashcroft (University of Aberdeen)

Absolute age and underlying cause of hot spring activity at Rhynie. S. F. Parry (University of Aberdeen) and S. R. Noble (N.I.G.L., Keyworth)

 

Palaeontology

 

A review of the sporophytes of embryophytes in the cherts at Rhynie. D. Edwards (University of Cardiff)

 

Rhynie chert gametophytes. H. Kerp and H. Hass (Westfalische Wilhelms Universität, Munster) and N. H. Trewin (University of Aberdeen)

 

Rhynie chert plants and adaptations to their substrates. H. Hass and H. Kerp (Westfalische Wilhelms Universität, Munster)

 

Assimilation and transpiration capabilities of rhyniophtic plants and implications for palaeoatmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. W. Konrad and A. Roth-Nebelsick (Institut für Geowissenschaften der Universität Tübingen)

 

Dispersed spore assemblages from the Lower Devonian sequence of the Rhynie outlier, Scotland. C. H. Wellman (University of Sheffield)

 

Fungi in the Rhynie chert: a view from the dark side. T. N. Taylor (University of Kansas), H. Hass (Westfalische Wilhelms Universität, Munster), M. Krings (University of Kansas), S. D. Klavins (University of Kansas) and H. Kerp (Westfalische Wilhelms Universität, Munster)

 

Charophyte algae from the Rhynie Chert. R. Kelman (University of Aberdeen), M. Feist (Université de Montpellier), N. H. Trewin (University of Aberdeen) and H. Hass (Westfalische Wilhelms Universität, Munster)

 

A review of the palaeoenvironments and biota of the Windyfield chert. S. R. Fayers and N. H. Trewin (University of Aberdeen)

 

A harvestman (Arachnida: Opiliones) from the Early Devonian Rhynie Cherts, Aberdeenshire Scotland. J. Dunlop (Humboldt Universitat, Berlin), L. I. Anderson (National Museum of Scotland), H. Kerp and H. Hass (Westfalische Wilhelms Universität, Munster)

   

A crustacean with cladoceran affinities from the Early Devonian (Pragian) Rhynie chert. L. I. Anderson, W. R. B. Crighton (National Museum of Scotland) and H. Hass (Westfalische Wilhelms Universität, Munster)

 

The feeding habits of Lower Devonian terrestrial fauna; evidence from an assemblage of coprolites preserved in the Rhynie chert. K. Habgood (Praxis Critical Systems, Bath)

 

Rhynie analogues - Modern hot springs

 

Experimental taphonomy: silicification of plants in Yellowstone hot spring environments. A. Channing (National Museum and Galleries of Wales)

 

Windows on silica sinter maturation, preservation and depositional environments, North Island, New Zealand. K. A. Campbell, B. Y. Smith, P. R. L. Browne and T. F. Buddle (University of Auckland)

   

Modern silicification of microbes in hot spring settings: implications for interpretation of ancient silicified microbes. B. Jones (University of Alberta), R. W. Renaut (University of Saskatchewan) and M. R. Rosen (USGS, Carson City)

 

Morphology, facies and development of sinter terraces. R. W. Renaut (University of Saskatchewan), B. Jones (University of Alberta) and R. B. Owen (Hong Kong Baptist University)

 

Exploration of possible metal precipitation pathways resulting from microbial communities present in metalliferous hot springs in New Zealand. Jennifer A. Haddow, Andy Meharg, James Prosser and Clive M. Rice (University of Aberdeen)

Bacterial silicification: Experimental field and laboratory studies. Liane G. Benning (University of Leeds) and Bruce W. Mountain (Wairakei Research Centre, Taupo, New Zealand)

Posters

 

Meet Medusa: silicification of arthropods in a modern-day, terrestrial, hot-spring system. L. I. Anderson (National Museum of Scotland), A. Channing (National Museum of Wales), N. H. Trewin (University of Aberdeen) and S. Sturtevant (Billings, Montana).

A geothermal wetland dominated by unconsolidated chemically precipitated silica sediment: A window on silica deposition in Palaeozoic geothermal environments? A. Channing (National Museum and Galleries of Wales) and S. Sturtevant (Billings, Montana)

 

Rhynie chert: Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, London, Collection. P. G. Davis (Natural History Museum)

 

A new crustacean from the Pragian Rhynie chert, Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. S. R. Fayers and N. H. Trewin (University of Aberdeen)

 

The Rhynie chert - a web-based teaching and learning resource. N. H. Trewin, S. R. Fayers (University of Aberdeen) and L. I. Anderson (National Museum of Scotland)

 

IGCP 491: Devonian Disaster ~ lahars and lagoons in northern New Brunswick. S. Turner and R. Miller (New Brunswick Museum, Canada)

 

Geothermal and magmatic-hydrothermal systems in Cenozoic arc basalts, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. Robert C.R. Willan (BAS, Cambridge), Adrian J. Boyce and Tony E. Fallick (SUERC, Glasgow)

 

Correlation between 3 boreholes, drilled within the Rhynie SSSI, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. E. Wilson and N. H. Trewin (University of Aberdeen)  

 

Old Red Sandstone Life Beyond the Litter: Devonian Terrestrial Arthropods Outside of Rhynie and Gilboa. Heather M. Wilson (University of Maryland)