In the opening session of this meeting John Hudson suggested that the measurement of 13C/12C and 18O/16O isotopic ratios in a Jurassic belemnite from the Isle of Skye had been ‘the most elegant geological experiment ever performed’. Nowadays isotope geology is a major branch of earth science studies and this pioneering work of Urey’s Chicago group in the early 1950s has blossomed, with stable isotope analysis particularly useful to the sedimentary geologist. The above-titled meeting was convened to provide a forum for discussion at a time when stable isotope techniques are becoming increasingly common in contributing to the solution of palaeoclimatic, sedimentological and palaeontological problems. One day was devoted to the presentation of papers and one day to a local field excursion. The meeting was attended by 55 British delegates, of whom 12 presented papers. Presentations included three reviews dealing with carbon and oxygen isotopes in rocks and fossils; carbon and sulphur isotopes associated with the burial of organic matter and stable isotopes as tracers in phosphogenesis.
In the first review talk John Hudson (Leicester) discussed the history of carbon and oxygen isotopes in rocks and fossils. Hudson reminded delegates that the Quaternary ‘foraminiferal record’ of oceanic oxygen isotope fluctuations, caused by the storage effects of northern hemisphere ice sheets, had probably been the most successful employment of the oxygen isotope technique in sedimentary geology. No other fossil group equalled the resolving power of the foraminifers as a palaeoclimatic tool. The major problem in studies of older rocks had been