Imaging of North-Sulawesi subduction in the Celebes Sea

How does subduction start? The answer to this question remains enigmatic and controversial. The process of subduction, which drives global plate tectonics and helps to shape the Earth as we know it, began as early as 4.1 Ga, but how the first subduction zone initiated remains unknown. Some have argued that the plate tectonic cycle was kick-started by spontaneous subduction at passive continental margins, yet such a phenomenon has thus far not been observed in a modern plate tectonic setting. Consequently, scientists have a very limited understanding of what mechanisms may initiate spontaneous subduction.

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Deep Earth Explorers

In this blog post, Jess Bartlet answers questions about her experiences as a Public Engagement Coordinator within Dr Sanne Cottaar’s deep Earth research group. Together, they seek to unravel and expose the mysteries of the Earth, thousands of kilometres beneath our feet. Working with the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Jess is developing a series of interactive exhibits and hands-on activities to plunge the general public deep into the Earth’s interior from March 2020.

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A ‘wet’ Summer: Cambridge and Tenerife

This summer I was lucky enough to complete an internship in Environmental Consultancy with Mott MacDonald followed by a Hydrology Field Training Programme run by GeoTenerife. As a geologist, it can be hard to see how an Earth Sciences degree can be directly used outside of academia or the traditional field of Oil and Gas: the internship and training programme seemed a good way to explore alternative options.

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More Impressions from ‘not a geologist’ – the Part III Spain field trip 2018

The last field trip that our undergraduates take is the fourth year, Part III trip to Spain. Run in the break between Lent & Easter term the trip aims to gather all the aspects of the course and put them together as a cohesive whole. Other trips focus on specific research areas: e.g. Sedimentology and Petrology – the 1B Southwest trip to Dorset & Cornwall, or Geophysics in Greece, or developing mapping skills in Sedburgh & on Skye. The Spain trip can be seen as the closing bookend to our students’ discovery (and love) of geology that begins on the first year trip to the Isle of Arran.

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Tales from Bear Island: a month of Arctic fieldwork (or, four weeks without a phone)

Sean in front of the coastline.

In August 2018 I was lucky enough to join a CASP expedition to Bear Island, in the Norwegian High Arctic, as a field assistant and as part of my Part III project.

My journey to the arctic began as so many do, in Heathrow airport. We unloaded the minivan-sized taxi required to get all our gear to the airport, and I walked in to the entrance of Terminal 2 wearing a big coat, carrying two heavy gear bags and a rifle case. We drew some looks. I couldn’t help but feel excited and important.

Then I realised I had left my phone in the taxi. Panic descended.

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