Earth Science Week is an October celebration by The Geological Society of London, with various events held in the United Kingdom and Ireland. One of the highlights is the group's annual photo competition, which took a more personal approach this year.

Organizers asked photographers to submit images of geological sites throughout the U.K. and Ireland that "mean something in their lives — whether a field trip site, a location close to their home, or a place they love to visit."

This year's first-place winner was Andy Leonard for his black-and-white photograph of Bow Fiddle Rock in northeast Scotland.

"Bow Fiddle rock is eroded from Cullen Quartzite and is an extremely well-known landmark. I, and many others, moved to NE Scotland in the oil boom of the 1980s, and this is one of the many beautiful landscapes within the area," Leonard wrote in his submission.

The 12 winning images feature locations in Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, England and even the Falkland Islands, a U.K. territory. You can learn more about each locale and why they're important to the photographer in the captions below each image.

Second Place

Earth Science Week 2018 Second Place
Stepping Stones (Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland) (Photo: Nigel Bell/Geological Society of London)

"A place myself (and millions of others) visit to admire the beauty of the north coast of Northern Ireland." — Nigel Bell

Third Place

Earth Science Week 2018 thrid Place
The Colours of Iron (Lochaber, Scotland) (Photo: Ursula Lawrence/Geological Society of London)

"A micro landscape photographed on an exposed quarry face of Ballachulish Slate Formation. The dark coloured mudstones contain Iron Pyrites (Iron Sulphide). This reacts with oxygen and water to form iron oxide (rust) and sulphuric acid. The acid reacts with any calcareous cement in the mudstone to form gypsum (hydrous calcium sulphate). This reaction is very important to engineering geologists (like me) as the acid attacks concrete and the gypsum causes heave." — Ursula Lawrence


Earth Science Week 2018 finalist Wester Ross Scottish Highlands
Slioch — the missing one billion years (Wester Ross, Scottish Highlands) (Photo: Emma Smith/Geological Society of London)

"Slioch, famed in the geological community for its unconformity, is just as treasured in the communities who live in Wester Ross. It dominates the skyline as we travel long distances to school, to work, to play and to visit our closest supermarket 60 miles away! When you understand the geology — and the missing one billion years — even the longest of journeys seems to pass in a flash." — Emma Smith


Earth Science Week 2018 finalist South Wales
Nash Point (South Wales) (Photo: Kevin Privett/Geological Society of London)

"The Porthkerry Member of the Blue Lias Formation (Rhaetian-Sinemurian age) is exposed in extensive wave-cut platforms along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast, South Wales. It is close to where I live and illustrates the erosive power of the sea." — Kevin Privett


Earth Science Week 2018 finalist New Island, Falklands
Going down to the ocean (New Island, Falklands) (Photo: Wuquan Cui/Geological Society of London)

"The Falklands, a British overseas territory at the other side of earth. New Island is located in West Falklands. There are only two permanent residents living in this island. I cannot imagine what they experience in their everyday lives after a short-time visit to them. Maybe the surface vegetation growing along the very special geology feature there can give us some clue." — Wuquan Cui


Earth Science Week 2018 finalist Northern Arran, Scotland
Cloud inversion on the Arran granite (Northern Arran, Scotland) (Photo: Alex Copley/Geological Society of London)

"A cloud inversion seen on a morning run on the Cambridge 1st year undergraduate field trip to Arran. This photo highlights for me what an inspiring place Arran is for introducing Geology to students who are still making up their minds about what subject to study." — Alex Copley


Earth Science Week 2018 finalist Cheddar Gorge, England
Periglacial forces (Cheddar Gorge, England) (Photo: Tim Gregory/Geological Society of London)

"While studying for my PhD in nearby Bristol, the Carboniferous limestone cliffs of Cheddar Gorge have been a reliable escape from the busy world of PhD life." — Tim Gregory


Earth Science Week 2018 finalist Isle of Skye
The Road North (Isle of Skye) (Photo: Fraser Wotherspoon/Geological Society of London)

"This is a place I have only visited a few times, although I live only a few nautical miles across the Minch. Its peaks of flood basalts form a horizon I see almost daily as long as the weather prevails (which is not often!) The strata of ancient basalt is extremely young in comparison to the Archan Lewisian Gniess that forms the hills around my home. It is therefore, when I do get a chance to visit, a very exciting place!" — Fraser Wotherspoon


Earth Science Week 2018 finalist Iona
Autumn Equinox (Iona) (Photo: Sandra Angers-Blondin/Geological Society of London)

"A quiet evening on the Isle of Iona. It turns out it was the autumn equinox, and I watched a beautiful sunset from the highest point of the island." — Sandra Angers-Blondin


Earth Science Week 2018 finalist Malin Head, Ireland
Sunset at Ireland's most northerly point (Malin Head, Ireland) (Photo: Yvonne Doherty/Geological Society of London)

"This image was taken at Ireland’s most Northerly Point at Malin Head, on the Inishowen peninsula in Co Donegal. This wild and rugged landscape is mainly composed of metamorphic and igneous rock formed over 400 million years ago. You might recognise this landscape from the recent Star Wars movie which was partly filmed here in 2016." — Yvonne Doherty


Earth Science Week 2018 finalist Assynt Scotland
Ardvreck (Assynt, Scotland) (Photo: Gijs de Reijke/Geological Society of London)

"'Ardvreck' is about the use of rocks by people and age being relative. Of all the rocks found in Britain, those that can be found in Assynt are the oldest. Crofts, sheds and castles were made long ago of rocks that are far older, by people who were completely oblivious to what information the materials they were working with holds. Cambrian quartzite, Torridonian sandstone, Durness limestone and of course Lewisian gneiss; they all tell stories that make those of humans make completely insignificant. Not to mention what weathering, erosion and sedimentation have done to the place." — Gijs de Reijke

The Geological Society of London was founded in 1807 and is a nonprofit organization comprised of more than 12,000 scientists. Their mission is to "investigate, interpret, discuss, inform and advise on the nature and processes of the Earth, their practical importance to humanity, and, in the interests of the public, to promote professional excellence."

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