Welcome to all our new students!
Professor Martin Smith introduces our new geology subject area students to working in the field with a trip to Telscombe Cliffs.
“After two days of welcome to university information for new Geology, Physical Geography and Geology and Earth and Ocean Science students, we headed out to Telscombe Cliffs to actually experience some earth science and coastal oceanography. Braving the wind and (luckily) less rain, 30 students and staff investigated how the cliffs record slices of earth history.
We started with periglacial weathering and soil processes at the cliff top. Then we climbed down the steps to the beach to look at the sedimentation of the ancient (Cretaceous) ocean floor recorded in the chalk and flint, including a wide range of fossils – brachiopods, sea urchins and sponges all had a starring role.We then looked at the record of post-depositional tectonic events in faults, fractures and flint-filled mineral veins. Finally, we walked along the water line and found evidence of modern change in the coastal environment, from plastic pollution to the reduction in the water table and the shift of freshwater spring discharge to below sea level.
Eighty million years of earth history in one afternoon! Our fieldtrip was a wonderful opportunity for our new intake to get to know each other and a chance to see how simple observations allow us to understand the complex processes involved in Earth and environmental change. The prize for the best find goes to Laura Evenstar for a sea urchin (echinoderm) entirely preserved in flint!”