Fieldwork in Tenerife

Unit code EART30072

Our Tenerife field course marks the culmination of our BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science, Environmental Resource Geology and Geochemistry. Whereas the units of previous years address topics largely in isolation, the Tenerife field course provides an opportunity to study a complete environmental system and links between different aspects of the system. Here, core skills learnt over the previous three years of study are integrated through field-based examination of a complete environmental system and observations of the approaches that the Tenerife government and popultion have taken towards achieving a sustainable lifestyle
  • When is the fieldtrip?

    The field trip is for 8 days during the Easter vacation period in Year 3. Six days are spent in the field (with a final exam on day 6) and travel to and from Tenerife takes place in the remaining 2 days.

  • Where is the fieldtrip?

    You will be staying in Puerto de la Cruz in the Orotava valley on the North side of the island. 

    Accommodation is usually in self-catering units. All have a kitchen with a cooker, refrigerator, kettle, cutlery, etc. Bed linen and duvets are provided and there are plenty of supermarkets, restaurants, bars and takeaways nearby.

  • How will we travel to Tenerife?

    Travel to and from Tenerife will be by plane from Manchester to Tenerife South. A local coach company will provide transport on Tenerife. Further details will be provided closer to the time of the trip.

    Students that require a visa to visit Spain will be responsible for obtaining the visa themselves. 

  • What will I learn?

    The field course involves study of the geological, atmospheric and vegetation system of the island. You will explore:

    • the basic structure of the terrain of Tenerife originating from volcanic processes, such as the spectacular caldera in the centre of the island;
    • the remarkable atmospheric conditions of this region and how they are modulated by the shape of the volcanic edifice;
    • ocean conditions affected by the cold Canary Current from the north that affects local climate.

      You will study:

    • how soil is produced by biological, physical and chemical processes acting on the volcanic rock;
    • how water is extracted from the atmosphere in part by flora endemic to Tenerife;
    • how water penetrates the edifice or forms runoff;
    • how that runoff, and coastal erosion and landsliding, then shapes the valleys and other relief on the island.

    As groundwater has formed an important resource for the population, we will look into its contamination and implications of demand associated with agriculture and tourism on water resources.

    By the end of the course you will be able to:

    • assess the sustainability of life on the island in terms of housing, water and energy demand.


  • What equipment will I need?

    Essential field course items are:

    • appropriate footwear (i.e. walking boots);
    • walking trousers or shorts;
    • waterproofs;
    • hat with wide brim;
    • rucksack;
    • sun cream;
    • field notebook;
    • pens/pencils (multiple colours);
    • small ruler;
    • alarm clock;
    • European standard plug adapters;
    • blister packs;
    • water bottles;
    • swimsuit;
    • camping set of cutlery and/or pocket knife (recommended).

    When packing please consider the range in temperatures (-5⁰C to + 30⁰C) we may experience on Tenerife, depending on the weather.

  • How will the field course be assessed?

    Assessment is based upon the following:

    • field exercises [60%] - notebook [~40%];
    • pre-field trip assignment [20%];
    • examination given on the last day (open book) [20%].
  • Who can I contact regarding the Tenerife field course?

    For more information visit the course unit specification or email course leaders Dr Bart Van Dongen or Dr Grant Allen.

  • What our students say

    Sarah Perry student‌‌‌

    Sarah Perry

    "I especially feel that the annual field trips are an integral part of the course as they have allowed me to gain valuable scientific surveying skills and put the theory I learnt in class into practice."

    Did you know?

    The Canary islands possess the richest and most concentrated biodiversity of anywhere in Europe, with around 4,000 endemic species of flora and fauna catalogued to date, earning the Canaries the reputation as being "the Galapagos of the northern hemisphere".

    More about Tenerife

    The Izana Global Atmospheric Watch station, positioned high in the caldera (2367 m above sea level) and away from local sources of pollution, provides te world's longest background meterological and atmospheric composition record, including concentration data for greenhouse gases, air quality and aerosols.

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