Fieldwork

Some pictures taken during fieldwork.

Fieldwork in Ireland and UK

Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of a volcanic eruption which occurred 50 to 60 million years ago. The hexagonal morphology of the basaltic columns is a result of the contraction as the mass cooled, leaving pillarlike structures.

Examining basaltic columns. Fieldwork with Year 2 Geology students at Giants Causeway, North Ireland.

Examining basalts. Fieldwork with Year 2 Geology students at Giants Causeway, North Ireland.

Fieldwork with Year 2 Geology students at Giants Causeway, North Ireland.

Fieldwork with Year 2 Geology students at Giants Causeway, North Ireland.

White Rocks Beach is located in Coleraine (Derry, North Ireland). It consist of rugged cliffs made of chalk (Ulster White Limestone) formed by coccoliths (skeletons of unicelular algae which built up on the sea floor).  Courses of flint can be seen running through the chalk.

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Chalk deposits in White Rocks Beach.

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Students examining chalk deposits in White Rocks Beach.


AMASE (Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition), 2009
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AMASE 2009, the expedition’s goals were to integrate and test two new instruments for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover and four for ESA’s ExoMars rover using the FIDO (Field Integrated Design and Operations) rover from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an advanced mobility platform, as well as test protocols for the future Mars Sample Return mission. During this expedition the conditions in which extremophiles thrive in glacial ice were studied, protocols to search for past and present habitable environments on icy planets were tested and developed. All of this is work that needs to be done before sending the next new generation of landers and rovers over the next few decades.

Trip to glaciers to get ice core samples and take them to the lab for analyses.

Trip to glaciers to get ice core samples and take them to the lab for analyses

Coring ice

Coring ice

If you want to obtain the cleanest samples in glacier ice, you have to be appropriately dressed for the occasion! No biological contamination can occur during the sample handling, so all precautions have to be taken. From left to right: Adrienne Kish, Jennifer Eigenbrode, Juan Diego Rodriguez-Blanco (coring) and Liane Benning having fun during a short break.

One of the field trips during AMASE 2009. While the group on the top is taking microbiological samples, in the bottom area we are obtaining measurements of glacier ice using the remote Raman system.

One of the field trips during AMASE 2009. While the group on the top is taking microbiological samples, in the bottom area we are obtaining measurements of glacier ice using the remote Raman system.

Sampling stromatolites

Sampling stromatolites

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Svalbard Landcape a.k.a. “Mars on Earth”.

 The official photograph from AMASE 2009. Since 2003 AMASE has introduced a tradition: every year all participants have to dress as 'Men in Black' and for the official pictures. One of the pictures this year has been taken aboard the Lance, our ship, close to Ny-Alesund during the last day of the expedition. Picture by Kjell Ove Storvik.

The official photograph from AMASE 2009. Since 2003 AMASE has introduced a tradition: every year all participants have to dress as ‘Men in Black’ and for the official pictures. In 2009 the picture was been taken aboard the Lance, our ship, close to Ny-Alesund during the last day of the expedition. Picture by Kjell Ove Storvik.


Fieldwork in Denmark

Stevns Klint is a white cliff which is located 6 km SW of Store Heddinge on the Danish island of Zealand. It is composed of chalk and an overlaying hard limestone. Between the chalk and the limestone is a layer of so-called “fish clay” containing an iridium geochemical anomaly. It is easily visible and measuring up to several centimeters in width. No iridium has been found in the chalk or limestone surrounding the fish layer. This “fish clay” layer is located at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary (known as the K/Pg boundary) and gave rise to a hypothesis that the impact of a massive extraterrestrial object caused the extinction of dinosaurs –among many other species– 65.5 million years ago.

Stevns Klint

Stevns Klint

“Fish clay” layer containing an iridium geochemical anomaly

“Fish clay” layer containing an iridium geochemical anomaly

From left to right, J.D. Rodriguez-Blanco, B. Lorenz and D. Tobler pointing at the "fish clay" layer.

From left to right, J.D. Rodriguez-Blanco, B. Lorenz and D. Tobler pointing at the “fish clay” layer.