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Summer Programmes

Faulty science

27 June 2017

Following the historical trail ‘Camino de Cruces’ we hiked through the rainforest, a first for many of us; we ventured there in order to investigate quaternary faulting, which may have significant implications for the Panama Canal as the fault cuts the ACP’s new locks. Much to David’s frustration the original map had no coordinates and instead referenced a large tree as a landmark, very helpful when in a tropical rainforest. Having hammered the outcrop to pieces, we found no convincing evidence of recent offset, we can confidently say the ACP is safe (fingers crossed, don’t quote us on this).

Dyfan caught in a bush

It was the journey to the locality that we personally found most interesting. Amongst the many colonies of ants we saw a number of lizards, scarab beetles, bright spotted frogs, blue butterflies and possibly a new member of the Las Cascadas formation. After dodging some low flying bats we had an uncomfortably close encounter with a 2m long black snake, having remained hidden as 3 of us walked by, it shot across the path to the sound of profanities. Having visited all the outcrops we intended on studying, we were treated to an acrobatic display by a troop of howler monkeys. There were at least seven, and we watched as they leapt through the canopy. The monkeys then began their famous call, bellowing at the circling gallotes (large Panamanian vultures).

Along with modern animals, we saw evidence of the historical use of the Camino de Cruces. High banks alongside the cobbled path marked its original height, worn down by centuries of use. There were also pits left where the march of mules had gouged out the rock below. Whilst interesting, the water filled pits proved rather tricky to navigate. We returned back through the forest with wet boots, exhausted but enthused by the events of the day.

Super slippery mule footprints


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