28 March 2022

Annual Parys Mountain trip

Every year, we take a cohort of first-year students to Parys Mountain. And it was that time again! And it looked like it was going to be an excellent episode. The weather forecast was amazing. And covid restrictions weren't particularly strict anymore.

I suggested I would travel on the coach. It is a fair trek to the site, and I wasn't too scared about covid any more. I think I will get it at some point anyway, and then I might as well get it not very long after my booster shot. No need to go there with more vehicles than necessary!

We were almost complete. Good stuff! And as soon as I came out of the coach I immediately started to take items of clothing off. It was warm. And there was hardly any wind, which is unusual for Parys Mountain.

On the parking lot, Dei did his usual spiel of subdividing the students into small groups representing various continents, and making them re-enact all the tectonic movement that had resulted in the situation as we would be seeing it. I think that makes it quite evocative! But when that was done we went to the viewpoint. On this trip, it generally is the case that I do the talking about geology and Dei does the talking about industrial archaeology. I actually like industrial archaeology a lot more then he does! But I suppose it is a tradition now.

I talked about the rocks we saw, and the funny chemistry, and the brittle and ductile deformation that had affected the rocks. I showed the students the stockwork in the centre of the pit; this is rock cut through extensively by hydrothermal veins. This is how the seawater was transported through the rock, up to the surface, where it would come out as a smoker of unidentified colour. We know there was a black smoker! Because we also saw deposits of what had been black smoke. But most of the deposits we saw were more yellow in colour. Lots of sulphide! But what the miners had been after was copper.

The big pit

Evidence of extensive hydrothermal activity

By the time I had talked about all that we were all hungry, so we went to the ruins of the office buildings on the hill and had lunch there. I also changed into a tank top and shorts. It was only March, and I was in the middle of Parys Mountain, but I didn't want to be wearing any more than that.

After lunch, Dei took over and talked us through the mine, how it had been developed, what all the industrial remains were, et cetera. I could now just enjoy, and take pictures. Suited me fine!

Dei talks industrial archaeology

It was that kind of weather

We were back at the coach quite early. There still was a bit of day left! And that was it for Parys mountain for the rest of the year. One more trip to do in this module, but I wasn't sure if I was going to be involved in that. You don't need three members of staff for every single trip! 

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