Two flights after leaving Cardiff, travelling first to Paris and then across the Atlantic, we arrived in Panama. Having settled into the accommodation provided by the Panama Canal Authorities (ACP), we found our way around the immediate locality and explored the old town as well as visiting the historical museum of the Canal and discovered some of the local wildlife.
Without the Panama Isthmus, North and South America would have been isolated, without the possibility of north-south migration, flora and fauna would have developed in isolation. With the Atlantic and Pacific oceans connected, climate would have been vastly different due to circum-equatorial currents. Formation of the Isthmus began with the accretion of many volcanic islands, evident by the different types of volcanic sediments found along the canal.
The Panama Canal connects the two oceans and allows for more efficient shipping routes around the globe, avoiding navigating the seas around South America. After many failed attempts at connecting the oceans, the canal was finally opened in 1914. Since then, the ACP Geologists have worked in collaboration with other departments to maintain and expand the Canal, with particular focus on landslide mitigation along a thin section of the canal called the Gaillard Cut. We are working alongside the Geology team at the ACP under the supervision of Dr David Buchs.
If you want to know more about the project we’re involved in, a good place to start is