The Calvert Armstrong Memorial Fund for 2011 has been awarded to Francesca McDonald, a second year B.Sc. Geology student. Second year students undertake three field courses:
sedimentary and structural mapping in the south of France, structural mapping in metamorphic and igneous rocks in N.W. Scotland, and sedimentary logging and environmental interpretation in Pembrokeshire. Francesca achieved first class marks on all these courses, with an excellent overall mark. The fund is awarded to help support independent geology field projects.
Francesca travelled to Southern Spain in mid-June to start her independent mapping project. She will spend 5 weeks in the field, investigating the geological history of the area and producing a geological map and cross-sections supported by field notes.
The study involves mapping the transition between uplifted basement blocks of the Betic cordillera, showing Alpine deformation and metamorphism, and a post-orogenic Miocene through to recent intermontane basin, filled with carbonates, siliciclastic rocks and economically important gypsum deposits, together with calc-alkaline volcanic rocks. Most of the basement-cover contacts are fault zones.
Exposure is excellent in a region of spectacular desert scenery. Francesca in the field in Southern Spain View across the mapping area, which is based around the small village of El Saltador. On return to Manchester she will submit her field notebooks and field maps, which will be marked and returned with feedback. She will then work on writing up her work as a report, including additional thin section petrography as appropriate, and producing a fair copy map and crosssection of the area using a computer package. This project represents a substantial fraction of the third year workload and the final deadline for this submission is mid-February.