Joseph Lomas, geologist of Birkenhead (near Liverpool), England, studied geology and zoology at the Royal College of Science. In 1885 he was appointed to organize and conduct the teaching of science in the elementary public schools of Liverpool, a position he held for his entire career. Later, in addition, he was appointed as special lecturer in geology at the University of Liverpool. He was a Fellow of the Geological Society of London. Between 1886 and 1900 he published about 40 papers. Some of the earliest dealt with the Polyzoa (now Bryozoa, a phylum of aquatic invertebrates). Many subsequent papers described glacial deposits in the British Isles; others dealt with the geology of the Isle of Man and the Faroe Islands, and with various more specific topics such as the structure of faults, the shapes of sand grains, and potholes along the shore. He was president of the Liverpool Geological Society in 1897 and 1898.
Lomas became a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1896. By 1905 he was a member of the association's general committee, and secretary of a committee investigating the Triassic fauna and flora of the British Isles. He came to South Africa that year to attend the joint meeting of the British and South African Associations for the Advancement of Science. On 30 August in Johannesburg he addressed Section E (Geography) on "Excursions and the teaching of geography", explaining how he used observations made during excursions along a small stream to teach the principles of physical geography to both pupils and adults. The paper was included in the Addresses and papers... published after the meeting (Vol. 1, pp. 387-391).
Upon his return to England Lomas presented a paper on "The Dwyka of South Africa" to the Liverpool Geological Society. It was published in the Proceedings for 1906 (Vol. 10, pp. 118-127), and reprinted as a pamphlet. Under the auspices of the British Association he studied the British Trias and compared it to modern deserts. This led, among others, to a paper read before the Liverpool Geological Society on "Desert conditions and the origin of the British Trias" in 1907. His later papers also dealt with topics such as "The windings of rivers" (1907) and "The geology of the Berwyn Hills" (1908).
Lomas was a well-known leader of field excursions. His personal charm and good nature endeared him to a large circle of friends. He died in a railway accident while on a visit to Algeria to study desert conditions for a committee of the British Association.