The first Field Skills course for this year's first-year students means being thrown into the deep end of studying rocks and beach sediments along the coast of Bloubergstrand.
So much to absorb and learn about (1) how the beach sediments get deposited and sorted by constant wave action, tides and currents, (2) how older sediments have been lithified into the ~550 million-year-old Malmesbury Group sand- and mudstones that are exposed as the rocky coastline. Not only lithified into sub-horizontal sedimentary beds but also tectonically deformed into beautiful folds, faulted, fractured and cut by pale mineralized veins. It may be the first time that the student learns how to measure the orientation of planar surfaces with a simple compass, distinguishing between strike and dip, and locating it all correctly onto a Google Earth map. Finally, the students made a first attempt at constructing a lithological log across the steeply dipping Malmesbury Group stratigraphical pile, where the sand- and mudstones are overlain by andesitic lavas (with diagnostic amygdales) and other volcanic rock types. A lot to take in on your first field trip but bound to motivate you towards learning more about our fascinating Earth.