The Calvert Armstrong Memorial Fund for 2012 has been awarded to Thomas Ashton, a second year MEarthSci. (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. Thomas achieved very good marks on all these courses, with the highest overall mark.
The fund is awarded to help support independent geology field projects. Thomas travelled to the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain for his independent mapping project. He spent 6 weeks in the field, investigating the geological history of the area and producing a geological map and cross-sections supported by field notes.
Thomas' field area on the southern side of the Cantabrian Mountains, near Cistierna in the province of Léon, is dominated by the Carboniferous Hercynian orogen. Palaeozoic siliciclastic and carbonate sediments from the Cambrian to Carboniferous are repeated in a series of thrust sheets, with additional faulting and folding. Thomas' area also includes some of the sediments that were deposited unconformably on the margins of this orogen, and a major fault active during the Alpine orogen, which is responsible for the Cantabrians being a prominent mountain range today, long after their initial construction.
On return to Manchester he will submit his field notebooks and field maps, which will be marked and returned with feedback. He will then work on writing up his work as a report, including additional thin section petrography as appropriate, and producing a fair copy map and cross-section 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.