Thursday, March 20, 2014

Derbyshire Field Trip 2014 ... Day 2

KEGS Geology students are now most of their way through the second day – our full day on this trip. The forecast at the beginning of the week was for heavy rain almost all day today…we were very relieved to make it till lunchtime before the rain came! The students worked brilliantly again today which means they will get a lot more out of this trip...and nice to hear a couple of the y13s saying how much they were enjoying it...especially as they understand what they are seeing!

This meant we managed another excellent bout of work at Apes Tor this morning – taking a large amount of measurements for a number of anticlines and synclines – which we are going to attempt creating a cross section for this evening. We’ve also been able to map the observations as we’ve gone along.

Measuring and sketching some of the scree deposits - formed from freeze-thawed limestones during the periglacial period after the last ice age

Lots of dips, strikes and joints measurements - this time in a syncline
As we were passing it on the way to our second locality, we conveniently had lunch back at the hostel – enabling some to partake in hot chocolates (with cream and marshmallows of course!) or cappuccinos alongside our packed lunches in the warm and dry.

Refreshed, we carried on (into the rain!) to the Litton Mill and Ravens Tor area to have a look at yet more limestones but also some basalt pillow lavas on the Monsal Trail. We were able to pick out some lovely formations as well as some of the features we’d studied in the classroom. This trail was also a good place to think about the engineering considerations of creating a railway cutting through such an area….something that could come up in a Y12 paper. Returning down to the road we were able to see some more basalts and consider the boundary between them and the limestone, as well as being able to pick up a couple of specimens (unusual on this trip as many places are protected or inaccessible).

Back at the hostel, with all the waterproofs hung up in the drying room, the students have some free time before dinner (roast chicken chosen by almost all!) and then we’ll get some work done after dinner.

Tomorrow we’re onto Park Hall which is an area the y13s have already studied sediment too in some detail and depth so it will be helpful for them to see the site. There’ll also be some more features we haven’t seen much of so far.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Derbyshire Field Trip 2014...Day 1

Day 1 on the KEGS Geology tour of Derbyshire and the surrounding area is nearly least the outdoor bit is....the students are about to get started on their evening work of writing up notes and creating beautiful (?!) maps....

Our destination, Mam Tor

The journey up went well despite being introduced to the way of life by being stuck behind a tractor for almost 20mins! We arrived at the base of Mam Tor to find some lovely weather - dry though quite breezy. Our first stop was at Odin Mine to get 'our eye in' - working out rock types, fossil types and measuring dips and strikes of faults.

Students at Odin Mine

Carrying on up the old A road we started to see the evidence of the huge Mam Tor landslide - measuring orientations of tension cracks along the lower road (which is still drivable). We split into two groups with one going with Dr Hitch to explore another area whilst Miss Fryer's group carried on collecting some more data for the tension cracks.

Measuring tension cracks on the Mam Tor road

Meeting up on the now closed old road we found the worst of the damage - with the road having slumped by about 10m in places. Lots more measurements followed along with investigation of some new rock types...the Edale Black Shales.

Measuring more cracks on the old road

Carrying on up the hillside we had lunch under (though at a safe distance!) the Mam Tor turbidites and discussed their appearance before climbing closer and gathering information to create a sedimentary log this evening.

Logging the Mam Tor turbidites

Onwards and upwards even more we reached Windy Knoll...which certainly lived up to it's name today! Very very windy but we could still hear Dr Hitch's helpful guidance as to what to look for...discovering that it was part of the fore reef with lots of fossils in it. There was even some Elaterite near the top....a very sticky rock (a bit like treacle) which is hydrocarbon material...something that is much more unusual.

Our final destination was Treak Cliff Cavern where we got to go underground and see the delights of the mines in which Blue John has been extracted for the last couple of hundred years. Not only was the Blue John and other minerals very interesting but the surrounding beds were literally full of fossils (esp. crinoids) and there were some excellent stalactites and stalacmites. We were also able to pick out where the old underground rivers (from swallow holes) used to run above our heads.

We're now at Hartington Hall YHA which has provided an excellent dinner of fish or sausage and chips and veg as well as pudding. So we're all fuelled up for some good work this evening. Just keeping our fingers crossed that the rain stays off for as long as possible tomorrow!