Girls into Geoscience 2018 was held on the 2nd and 3rd July, and once again we welcomed enthusiastic young female Earth Scientists to the University of Plymouth.
Monday (2nd July) saw us taking 24 of the girls to explore the superb geology of Torbay during this long hot summer. Starting at Triangle Point, the students were split into three groups as we would for an undergraduate field course. Each group in turn explored different aspects of the sedimentology and palaeontology of the Daddyhole Limestone of Devonian age, and then the features of a major cross-cutting oblique-slip fault. In the afternoon we headed to the classic unconformity between the Devonian and Permian exposed on the foreshore at Goodrington Sands.
Many of the girls have not have the opportunity to undertake geological field work before, so as well as demonstrating what a day in the field is like for an undergraduate student (although normally not so hot!) they also learnt some skills in note taking, sketching and rock/structure identification.
I think we were all glad of the ice breaker, held on sea front in the Barbican Region of Plymouth, to cool down and re-hydrate after a glorious day in the field.
The following day saw us retreat inside for a morning of talks and an afternoon of workshops, with 65 students from across the country. The talks are chosen to span a range of Earth Science disciplines; this year we heard from Lucy Cotton (GeoScience Ltd) on her work on geothermal energy in Cornwall, Jenny Symonds (Ramboll) on engineering geology and the challenges of working in Antarctica and on big projects like the new Queensferry bridge in Scotland. Our final talk was by Rachael Arnold (BP) on the challenges of working in the petroleum industry.
After lunch and a chance to talk to the speakers the girls could take part in two workshops of their choice run by University of Plymouth academic staff and postdoctoral researchers. Again a range of topics from the Holocene to deep time were on offer. Caroline Clason reconstructed past glaciations from high resolution imagery, while Jodie Fisher used microfossils to investigate climate change. Michelle Harris ran a workshop looking at the rocks under the sea using a core replica on loan from the IODP. Lucy Campbell and Irene Manzella’s workshop meanwhile looked at geological hazards investigating earthquakes and volcanoes, respectively. Finally, Natasha Stephen took us off planet to look at the composition and structure of meteorites.
The day drew to a close with the presentation of certificates and a farewell to our visitors. We like to thank the students, staff and speakers for making the day such a success and hope to see you back in Plymouth soon!