The annual first year undergraduate field trip to the Isle of Arran, Scotland took place as usual at the end of March and beginning of April. This is always an exciting trip – first years get their first taste of what being a ‘real geologist’ is all about and the demonstrators get to revisit the truly spectacular wealth of geology the island has to offer.
On the 9th of December, the second group (party B) of 16 part-II students set off to sunny Central Greece. This area is one of the most tectonically active regions in the world and experiences regular large (4-6 on the Richter scale) earthquakes. This relatively fast movement, together with the large amount of karstic limestone in the area, allows for evidence of vertical uplift or subsidence (e.g. on the coasts) to be well preserved and provides students with an excellent opportunity to visualize active continental extension. The aim of the trip is for students to explore, observe and then interpret earthquake focal mechanisms, surface expressions of faults (fault scarps) and vertical coastal movements.
The fastest extension on Earth, fault-controlled coastal motions and even the possibility of some winter sun: what better way to consolidate the Part II geophysics course than a field trip to Greece?
On the 23 September 2014 the new 1B students, fresh from a summer of forgetting everything they knew for their exams, disembarked from the train at the, to them, remote Oxenholme station for the Sedbergh mapping trip, led by Nigel Woodcock. Waiting to meet them from the train was local coach driver, John, a true northerner and unflappable even in the face of 60 Cambridge students, some of whom seemed to have brought the kitchen sink with them. The group squashed onto the buses and made the winding journey into the Yorkshire Dales (despite still being in Cumbria).
Between the 23rd of June and the 5th of July the usually tranquil village of Ord on the Sleat peninsula of the Isle of Skye once again played host to a cohort of new Part II students as they set about honing their geological mapping skills. After a few quiet years, Cambridge returned in force to the quartzite hills of the Ord window: at any one time, up to thirty four students and ten demonstrators could be spotted roaming the bogs, streams and ridges in search of contacts, dykes and fault-planes.
Nothing brings students together like a good field trip.
2014’s third batch of 36 Cambridge 1A undergraduate geologists arrived by coach to the Scottish coastal paradise of Ayr on the 27th April. The traditional Station Hotel (part gothic mansion, part haunted house, part correctional facility) was replaced for the first time with the bright lights of the shiny Ayr Mercure Hotel where students and staff alike gratefully sank into their plush pillows after the 8 hour trip from Cambridge.
On the 6th December 2013, 20 part II students shed their woolly scarves and bobble hats and set off for sunny Greece. The aim of the trip is to get to grips with a region of active continental extension, involving the simultaneous interpretation of earthquake focal mechanisms, surface fault ruptures and coastal vertical motions.