BSRG PG Fieldtrip: Hathersage, Derbyshire (2009)

The annual BSRG postgraduate fieldtrip 2009 was held over the 27-29th of November in and around the Hope Valley area in Derbyshire. The fieldtrip was attended by 32 people, attracting participants from around the UK and mainland Europe from over 14 institutions. Most people arrived by train on the Friday evening and were shuttled to the accommodation with two minibuses. Others held up by traffic arrived by car late into the night.

After everyone had eventually arrived, the ice breaking could commence! Short presentations were made by each participant giving a potted history of who they were what they did and how they liked to do it. It was great to see such a diverse range of sedimentologists on the trip. The breaking of the ice was lubricated with many a beverage and was a great success.

Saturday morning saw the organizing team swing into action, mobilizing the fieldtrip participants into the field bright and early. The startingly cold crisp November morning was well received and spirits were high. Pete Gutteridge, our carbonates expert, led us into the intricate world of carbonate sedimentology, guiding the group to the various carbonate facies found within the Central Pennine Basin, outcropping around the Edale Valley. The fascinating tour of carbonate outcrops covered reef top, slope and beach style deposition. Complexities surrounding accommodation space and carbonate production were also discussed. The day ended with a fabulous excursion down Treak Cliff Cavern, enabling the group to see some secondary mineralization within the limestone and spectacular flow stone features such as “the witches face”.

Saturday evening saw the group saturated with geology. Arriving back from the field, before they had a chance to beautify themselves, groups had to be formed to tackle a geophysical interpretation exercise. After an hour of scratching heads and colouring in, detailed geological stories were concocted. Groups presented their work in a bid to win the first prize. University of Leeds came out on top, winning a number of bottles of wine, Horay!

Saturday night came swiftly to those needing a shower. Everyone went out for a slap up Christmas meal at a local pub. With a great day in the field and food and drink aplenty people really enjoyed the evening and continued to do so on return to the bunkhouse, partying well into the early hours of the morning.

Sunday morning. With tales of drunken debauchery trickling through the grapevine the minibuses headed out in the pouring rain. This day focused on the clastic turbidite basin fill. Ian Kane led the group to the impressive stacked channel sequences outcropping at Alport Castles. An interesting discussion was had exploring the hydrocarbon potential for such successions with James Maynard, an Exxon Mobil representitive.

Sunday afternoon. The last outcrops to see were at the infamous Mam Tor hill side. Ian Kane and Chris Jackson leant their expertise to a discussion on the complexities surrounding hybrid beds within distal lobe turbidites. With the field excursion all but over there was only time for a shuttle to the train station and many fond farewells.

This BSRG postgraduate fieldtrip was an excellent chance for students to get out in the field with the experts. It gave everyone a chance to learn from established academics, private consultants and oil industry representatives. This made for excellent discussions, gave people a great field experience but also highlighted the different approaches taken by various organizations (and potential employers). Everyone went away having had a great time and with a much better idea of what was going on in Bristish Sedimentology.

Thanks to Peter Gutteridge, Ian Kane and Chris Jackson - who led the field component, to James Maynard for providing the hydrocarbon perspective, and Exxon Mobil who generously subsidised the weekend. Hope to see you next year.


Chris Stevenson (fieldtrip organizer)