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.

As the lead University of Brighton researcher on the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded WetlandLIFE project (www.wetlandlife.org), I am normally found traversing soggy moors and bogs all over England to interview my research participants about their sense of place within these wonderful landscapes.

“How about a fieldtrip to sunny, dry Greece?” my colleague Dr Paul Gilchrist suggested, after one particularly windy and rainswept visit to North Lincolnshire’s Alkborough Flats. Sunshine? Heat? Lots of Greek salad, honey and yoghurt? How could I say no? So, following Dr Jon Caplin’s explicit instructions, I swapped my welly boots for stout walking shoes and helped shepherd almost forty eager geographers and environmental scientists onto our flight to Athens in early November.

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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.

The samples were taken back to our Category 2 microbiology lab for analyses which involved the students filtering the samples for different groups of faecal indicator bacteria originating from different source such as wild birds, dogs and humans.

The concentration of these microorganisms gives us an indication of the likely level of risk to water users. The students will collect additional samples and to analyse over the next two weeks so they can see how water quality changes from week to week as well as from site to site.

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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Environmental Geophysics in Exploration Geology

On the 30th November a group of students and staff went to the disused Sheepcote Valley landfill site to practise the use of field geophysics instruments as part of the third year Exploration Geology module. The exercise demonstrated how geophysical techniques can be used in environmental investigations. Students got experience in working with EM31 (electro-magnetic measurement of ground conductivity), Proton Precession Magnetometry (magnetic field strength), magnetic gradiometry (magnetic field gradient) and gamma ray spectroscopy (natural radiation production). Experience with instrumental field techniques is part of the Geological Society of London accredited program for BSc Geology and BSc Physical Geography and Geology. envgeophys.

Using a field gamma ray spectrometer to map trace levels of radio-isotopes.

Using a field gamma ray spectrometer to map trace levelsof radio-isotopes.

Measuring ground electrical conductivity with EM31.

Measuring ground electrical conductivity with EM31.

Students measuring the magnetic field gradient at Sheepcote valley near Brighton.

Students measuring the magnetic field gradient at Sheepcote valley near Brighton.

 

Measuring the total magnetic field strength

Measuring the total magnetic field strength

 

 

Our trip to explore the unique geology of Cyprus

Final year students from BSc (Hons) Geology and BSc (Hons) Earth and Ocean Science have just returned from a week long field course in Cyprus. Here’s a taster of what we got to do while we were there.

Based out of Limassol we spent six days examining the unique geology of Cyprus, consisting of accreted terranes and an ophiolite complex.

We started the week off by looking at the Mamonia Complex – a succession of deep marine sediments and reef limestones which grew originally atop seamounts.

This was followed on the second day with a trip to the summit of Mt. Olympus, Cyprus’s tallest mountain to look at rocks from the Earth’s mantle which are exposed at the surface. Throughout the day we looked at various rocks from the lower successions of the oceanic crust which are exposed on Cyprus, and finished up by visiting the now closed Agrokipia mine site, once the largest Asbestos mine on Cyprus.

The third day took us around the mid-upper rocks of the oceanic crust where we visited a series of localities at which sheeted dykes and pillow lavas were well exposed. In the small village of Zoopigi we were able to see a series of dykes cutting into plagiogranites and later on at Apliki we were able to see the relationship between pillow lavas and the sheeted dyke complex in great detail.

On the Thursday we visited the Arakapas oceanic transform fault, which is the World’s greatest example of exhumed seafloor topography. We then spent the rest of the day looking at a series of sedimentary sequences which gave evidence to the transform fault theory.

Friday and Saturday consisted of examining the sedimentary cover sequences of the ophiolite comprising a series of chalks, cherts, and deep marine siliceous rocks.

On Saturday afternoon we had the option to visit a spectacular archaeological site just outside of Limassol which had been inhabited most prominently by the Romans – but also by Neolithic settlers, the Greeks and Christian settlers.

We arrived back in Brighton in the early hours of Sunday morning and were greeted by somewhat contrasting weather to that we had become accustomed to!