01 March 2021

First time this semester: in the field with the students

It had been a while! The last time I had been in the field with students it had been at the start of the first semester. We had gone to Llanddwyn; the traditional first trip of our fieldwork module. By the time we did the second trip of the series, I was already off sick. Now we were doing the third and I was back!

It wasn't going to be a big trip; it was only timetabled from noon onwards, and we were never going to get the full cohort of students. Some were undoubtedly shielding, some might not be on campus, for some both might hold; and it wasn't a big group to start with. But it would be difficult enough as it was given this restrictions. We can only transport ten students in a coach, and you can't rock up at a location with lots of coaches as the locals will get spooked.

For this trip, we had booked two coaches. Some of the students would drive themselves. I would meet the coaches on campus and accompany them to our site. But shortly before I would leave I got an email; another student had pulled out, and we would only have 10 students. So that would only require one coach! But two appeared. To be on the safe side, I asked the second coach to wait until we were ready to leave. In the end, only eight students showed up! So the second bus could indeed just go wherever it wished. And I followed the other coach to Cemaes.

We were there to look at a mélange associated with an old subduction zone, a thrust fault, a fossil stromatolite, Ordovician gravels lying on top of Precambrian quartzite, and some more things. Quite a lot of the history of that subduction zone and how it stopped being that and changed into a thrust zone. Interesting stuff! And we had great weather for it; this could not be taken for granted. We had had amazing weather that same Monday in the field, but that Tuesday the weather had been absolutely atrocious, and a fieldtrip involving other staff and students had had to be called off. The Wednesday was quite rainy and windy as well! But we were out on the Thursday, and it was amazing again. You don't often get that lucky.

We make sure to stay 2 m apart and wear masks, but then we were on the beach and we could start talking geology. It was lovely! The previous time we had done this trip we could walk all the way around, but that had been when we had the entire day. So we walked back to the bus and then walked to the last location from there. And then time was up!

I think it went well! I never felt like we were taking risks with Covid, and the students were engaged, and the weather helped. I am looking forward to the next one already!

Getting ready for geology at the White Lady

Looking from the viewpoint over Patrick's well to the Ogof Cynfor headland

Dei gesturing wildly inspired by a Palaeozoic dike

Full moon over the bay

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