Sample of a vesicular melanocratic dyke of probable Palaeogene age, Coed y Brenin

Strain-free basalt with spherical vesicles, Coed y Brenin


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Welcome to the website of John S. Mason
of Machynlleth, Mid-Wales

Scientific Interpretation

As a writer as well as a scientist, one thing that I see as critically important is the effective understandable and accurate communication of the Natural Sciences to the public. My scientific interpretation work will typically involve detailed subject research and image-sourcing, to assess the scope of the topic.Once such a feel for the project has been developed, text and graphics will follow. Most such work has been with interpretation signs, books, booklets and websites, although I have also worked in radio and TV at times. Please email me if you have a project you wish to discuss.

In the interpretation of geology, for example, I aim to bring lost, ancient landscapes back to life through the power of words. This text sample part of an exhibition I put together in 1999 takes us back through time to Mid Wales in the Triassic Period, about 220 million years ago:

"It is a fine summer day and we stand on the summit of Plynlimon looking at the strange landscape through the heat-haze. To the north and the south low undulating hills stretch into the far distance. To the west the hills tail off into a great depression where Cardigan Bay ought to be. There is not a sign of life in this silent red land.

The open sea lies a long distance off to the north and east, beyond the salt-lagoons of the Cheshire Plain. The seemingly endless cycle of sunrise and sunset over the red landscape will continue for another ten million years. It will take that long for the sea to return."

Graphics sometimes get big concepts across more effectively than words alone. Please click here for an example - the concept of Geological Time! I used the diagram in the recent book, "The Making of Ynyslas", which is a chronicle of deglaciation and the drowning of Cardigan Bay over the past 25,000 years - it is available at Coch-y-Bonddu Books in Machynlleth and via their website on mail order:

Illustrated talks and guided geological field-trips are both available. North and Central Wales feature some absolute classic features of UK geology and mineralogy, with new things being discovered most years.

Groups I have guided over recent years have included the Open University, Lifelong Learning students, the infectiously-enthusiastic Mid Wales Geology Club and final year undergraduates collaborating in my research. I can always put together an itinerary based on the specific interests of the party - email me for details and prices. The trips involve the shared use of private cars with some short walks, the aim being to minimise travel time and maximise geological time, so to speak!

Click here for an example of an itinerary in the forest of Coed y Brenin (porphyry-copper mineralisation) in central Gwynedd. There is a lot more to this afforested area than I realised on first acquaintance: recent finds have included extraordinarily well-preserved intrusive rocks (typically, they are too altered to give the geologist much information in the field) and the southernmost Palaeogene dyke so far known from Wales.