Manchester Geographical Society

North West Geography


Volume 10, Number 2, 2010

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The 'Meteorological Imaginations and Conjectures' of Benjamin Franklin

On the 22nd December 1784 an essay by the American polymath Benjamin Franklin was presented to a meeting of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society. This extraordinary essay entitled 'Meteorological Imaginations and Conjectures' contains a variety of remarkable ideas which have since been supported by modern geographical research. In particular Franklin's speculation that the cold year of 1783-4 might be related to a massive volcanic eruption in Iceland or the impact of extra-terrestrial bodies was the first time that volcanoes and meteors had been suggested as a cause of climate change. Franklin's essay forms a milestone in geographical thought but is little known among most geographers. Here Franklin's essay is reprinted in full and placed into its context, both historically and in the light of current scientific knowledge..

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The use of a field open-sided direct shear box for the determination of
the shear strength of shallow residual and colluvial soils on hillslopes
in the south Pennines, Derbyshire.

Engineering drawings are provided for a field open-sided direct shear box with a basal shearing area of 300mm x 300mm and two 300mm x 150mm side shearing areas, following the design of Chandler et al. (1981). Lead blocks are used to provide normal loads simulating natural geostatic pressures and a shearing force is provided by a winch/cable system. The field open-sided direct shear box was used to determine the effective angle of shearing resistance and the effective cohesion of shallow residual and colluvial soils on hillslopes in the south Pennines, Derbyshire. The field open-sided direct shear box is appropriate for determining the effective shear strength of shallow residual and colluvial soils on hillslopes as it incorporates the pedogenic and biogenic structural discontinuities and compositional inhomogeneities which are not represented adequately in standard laboratory direct shear strength and other conventional in situ field shear strength testing apparatus.

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Continuing Change: Manchester Geographical Society, 1998-2010

This article details the changes which have happened in the Manchester Geographical Society in the thirteen years up its change of charitable status in 2010. The principal topics are lectures, grants, journal and finances.

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Review: Mapping Saddleworth, Volume I: Printed Maps of the Parish, 1771-1894

Review: Mapping Saddleworth, Volume II: Manuscript Maps of the Parish, 1625-1822

Review: A History of Manchester, (2nd edition, 2010)

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