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.
The restored Asbestos mine at Agrokipia
Pillow basalts and sheeted dykes at Apliki
Amathous archaeological site
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!
Students and guide in Imlil
This year our BA Geography students jetted out to Morocco to explore human geography in the field. With teaching support from staffmembers Dr Becky Elmhirst, Dr Jason Lim, Dr Mandy Curtis and Dr Nick McGlynn, and deep local knowledge from expert guide Ibrahim, these 20 students spent five days in the famous tourist hub of Marrakech, and two days high in the Atlas Mountains in the valley of Imlil. Each day our students undertook different exercises in data collection and analysis, from detailed autoethnographic reflections to the Rapid Rural Appraisal techniques used in international development. Unlike last year the weather was hot and sunny – which just goes to show how unpredictable mountain climates can be. In this blog post I’ll be taking you through what our students got up to (in their working hours at least!).
Day 1 (Marrakech): Urban Social Geographies
Dr Becky Elmhirst and Dr Jason Lim help students to understand the Place du 16 Novembre
We left the university at 4.30am to arrive in Marrakech at around 10.30am – so by noon we were ready to survey the field. No rest for geographers! Beginning with observations at the modern-looking Place du 16 Novembre, we then moved on through the city to the quiet Cyber Parc, to the souks of the Medina before we finally ended at the famous Jemaa El Fnaa. Students began to question what kinds of spaces we associate with modernity, and how Orientalist geographies and the concept of ‘The West’ could be critiqued. The word ‘authentic’ was temporarily banned as we considered how geographic imaginaries influence what we take to be ‘authentic’ or ‘fake’.
Day 2 (Marrakech): Social and Economic Landscapes and Nightscapes
Nightscapes of the Jemaa El Fnaa
On the second day we returned to the Medina, where students undertook structured observations of key areas around the Jemaa El Fnaa. This time they were looking for signs of economic activity, globalisation and the nature of the built environment. We then returned to the area at night to see how ‘temporality’ can be vital in understanding social and cultural geographies. The square becomes even more active at night, with storytellers, performers and food vendors all clamouring for your attention. Consumption and the night-time economy were our focus here. And unlike Brighton, this was a nightscape without alcohol! Our students reflected on their own sensory experiences – how smell, taste, touch and sound can be as important in our conceptions of space as sight is.
Today was student project day on our fieldtrip to Sicily. I accompanied some students interested in archaeology to this Greek and then Roman amphitheater that I had found yesterday in the middle of Catania.
From the outside you would not know this amazing site was there as it is surrounded by modern houses. However, once inside the true majesty of the ruins are spectacular to see. Looking forward to seeing what our students made of the site in their presentations tomorrow.
Day two of our Geography Sicily fieldtrip, some 2nd year students testing water quality at Aci Castello. In the background are the ‘Isles of the Cyclops’ from the Odysseus mythology.
Our first day in Sicily with a great group of 2nd year students at Giardini Naxos, the first Ancient Greek colony on the island. A fantastic day exploring ancient ruins was had by all.
In search of contamination along the Sicilian coast. Scorchio!
Landed in Catania for our 2016 field trip!
Etna greeting us on the morning of 17th March 2016 (from Boris Behncke @etnaboris)
Temperatures are warming up for the Morocco field trip in four weeks’ time. Deciding what to pack for the Atlas Mountains is an issue: recent years have seen 30 degree temperatures, extreme rainfall and a metre of snow. Looking forward to it!
Students from 2015 in Morocco – snow in the Atlas Mountains