Independent fieldwork in the NW highlands

This time in just over 2 weeks I will be in Inverness, which is so far away from me I have to travel by aeroplane. Not that I’m complaining I mean; first class, movies, free buffet… oh no wait I’m a student, therefore squished between two large Scottish women on a tiny and slightly malodorous easy jet plane will have to do. If you thought traveling all the way up to Inverness was quite enough thank you very much (like me) you’ll be disappointed to hear that my final destination is another 2 hour car journey north, a little place called Inchnadamph in Assynt in the NW highlands of Scotland.

The reason behind this epic journey is the geologists’ first love; fieldwork. For the summer after second year, all students (bar those off in a distant country on a year abroad: like my friend Sadie) must undertake 4 weeks geological mapping. This must be independent, yes without the guiding hand of a lecturer completely self-organised and motivated, but not all self-funded as the department will repay up 75% of your travel and give you an allowance each day. Sound scary? Well for us at Leicester it is less daunting then perhaps it should be given our prior independent fieldwork experience undertook last summer.

Warning: rocks, a memento from our fieldwork last summer

Warning: rocks, a memento from our fieldwork last summer

Kat and Me last year mapping in Assynt

Kat and Me last year mapping in Assynt

After talking with our project supervisor (the legend that is Dr Mike Norry) my hard-nut Lancashirian partner Kathryn Clarkson and I decided to spend our 4 weeks (which we extended to 5 knowing all too well the fickle Scottish weather) mapping a thrust system. A thrust system is a series of rock chunks squeezed and ‘thrust’ on top of each other in a complex and enigmatic manner. It is our job to discern what the thrust system in this small part of the NW highlands is doing, note that it is likely that there are two thrust systems interacting with each other which makes the matter all the more confusing.

Project details aside I hope you can see that I am actually very excited about this fieldwork and after reading the 30 page scientific paper on thrust systems I will be prepared for what the NW highlands will throw at me. Of course I will relay all details of my trip to you when I return including lots of photos and my guide to the essential fieldwork inventory.

So pardon me for my upcoming silence and I will speak to you all soon!

TTFN

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Eleri

About Eleri

Eleri has now graduated from the University of Leicester. Hello! My name is Eleri Simpson and I'm a 4th (and final!) year geology student at the University of Leicester. The parts of my course that I love the most are: mapping, igneous and metamorphic processes, geochemistry and volcanology. Outside of learning I'm part of the First Aid society and the University concert band, where I play the clarinet. I enjoy evenings at the pub, cooking, walking in the countryside and a good cup of tea.

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