Our first day in the field was an introduction in order to understand and recognise the major rock formations along the Gaillard Cut part of the canal. We travelled from North to South, moving up through the stratigraphic units along the canal. Some of our favourites were the ignimbrites and a fossiliferous ash deposit. The ignimbrite was a superheated ash flow, which cooked the trees beneath it, preserving the roots of trees as charcoal. In other layers, as well as finding some beautiful bivalve shells, we were lucky to find a complete vertebrae.
From the summit of Hodges Hill we had a brilliant view of the Centenary Bridge and the point in the canal separating the Atlantic and the Pacific. Closer to the water’s edge we saw some crocodile footprints and Rodrigo, one of the ACP geologists, said that by the end of the month we will certainly see a crocodile!
The next day, Rodrigo took us to a drill site where we saw drilling in action for the first time. We looked at cores that had never been seen before, only cut that morning. Geotechnical logging was a challenge, as it is different to the environmental process logging we are taught in Cardiff. It would be great if we could learn this style of geotechnical logging at Cardiff, since it is so useful for industry. A lot of this week has been spent logging 5 other cores in the ACP’s core repository. David said he had never seen cores like them before, and was interested in how they related to the units along the canal.