First field trip for new students in our geology subject area

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. Read More

First field trip for our Geographers, Cuckmere Haven

Welcome to all our new students!

Dr Mary Geary, senior lecturer in Human Geography, introduces our new Geography students to working in the field with a trip to Cuckmere Haven.

“There’s nothing like a charabanc full of slightly soggy staff and new students heading off to the coast to kickstart the new academic year. As part of our introductory welcome week here in the School of Environment and Technology the Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Sciences teams always take our fresh intake of first year undergraduates off to visit one of Sussex’s most iconic landscapes – the Seven Sisters, viewed from the estuary of the River Cuckmere in Cuckmere Haven. Read More

Exploring Morocco with our 2nd year geographers

Every year, 2nd year undergraduates on our BA Geography course spend 8 days exploring Morocco as part of their dedicated field work module. This year they were joined by gender and sexuality specialist Dr Nick McGlynn, sustainable energy expert Dr Kirsten Jenkins, and senior geoarchaeology lecturer Dr Chris Carey.

The field trip was split across two locations. For 6 days the students worked and studied in the tourist hotspot and cultural heartland of Marrakech. Through transect walks across the French-planned New Town and the older Medina (the walled centre), students observed the lingering impacts of colonialism in the built environment and culture of the city.

They also investigated ways in which national and transnational policymaking – particularly the ‘Plan Maroc Vert‘ agenda – influence the very rapid development of Morocco, with consequent tension around use of land and water evident in peri-urban Marrakech.

Water usage in particular was studied further as students traveled into the Atlas Mountains for two days, in the village of Imlil. Here the focus was on changing rural livelihoods, traditional forms of agriculture and immigration, and the impacts brought by the growth in tourism. Despite rainy and stormy weather, students managed to spend a lot of time observing these issues first-hand. Local guides pointed out mechanisms and strategies for managing flooding, soil erosion and landslides, and explained the ‘targa’ irrigation system and the social practices used to manage it.

Help was also at hand (or more accurately at hoof) in the form of local mules, which carried staff and students to the lower slopes near Mount Toubkal. Here we could see the still-existing damage caused by a devastating flood and rockslide in 1995, and the differences between tourist-oriented villages like Imlil and more isolated settlements higher in the mountains.

Returning to Marrakech for the final days of the field trip, our budding geographers concluded by developing their own group projects. Data for these was gathered over two days, and subsequent findings were presented to staff and fellow students. This year our groups’ research topics were:

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The Morocco field trip serves as a critical introduction to fieldwork and the research process for students. But we also find that it really brings our students together as a group, and helps them work together and support one another in their vital final year. We can’t wait to see how they progress as we move into 2020!

First year geographers and environmental sciences students head to Greece

Dr Mary Gearey, Senior Research Fellow in SET, reflects on her first Greek field trip – 6th-10th November 2018 with our first year Geography and Environmental Sciences students.

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A field trip to the seaside

Final year students from across our Geography, Geology, Environmental Sciences, Civil Engineering, and Chemistry courses took a trip to the beach this week to collect grab samples of bathing water from seven sites between Brighton Palace Pier and Brighton Marina.

The trip was part of a water and health module and was to look at how water quality varies.

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Jen Wyatt graduating with a 1st

The time of my life

I chose to study at Brighton as I felt as though the lecturers here were really passionate about what they were teaching, and I liked the fact that they included their own research in their lectures. I also felt that the environment was a welcoming one – my very first visit left me feeling confident that I would be able to thrive at Brighton.

Brighton has fully lived up to everything that I could have imagined – I have visited two new countries, one outside of Europe and seen and done some incredible things in those places. I have also been provided with a plethora of opportunities, and believe that this has helped me to grow. The lecturers have fully supported me on my journey, much as I thought that they would upon meeting them for the first time four years ago.

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Undergraduate Ellie’s research opportunity

Undergraduate Geography BSc (Hons) student Ellie Crabbe (currently on placement at GE Aviation) had the fantastic opportunity of joining lecturer Dr Annie Ockelford on a research trip to the Cascades National Park in America over the summer.

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Practising environmental geophysics techniques out in the field

As part of a module on exploration geology, third year geology students went to the Sheepcote valley landfill site to practice field techniques in environmental geophysics. The exercise involved using ground electrical conductivity, changes in the Earth’s magnetic field and natural radiation to map out the boundaries of the buried site.

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