First year geological fieldwork

Katarina Kovacevic

Together with sun and nice weather, the fourth quarter of the academic year also brings excursions and fieldwork for Applied Earth Sciences students. Already in the first year, we got a chance to apply the knowledge we gained in class in practice, by joining a geological excursion to the Ardennes and the Eifel.

Discovering outcrops

We learned a lot about the geological history of Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg by walking and driving through the landscape and verifying the outcrops we found on our path. One special feature of these areas is that, although they are close to each other, very different rock types can be found. The Ardennes consist mostly of sedimentary rocks, whereas the Eifel, only 150 km away, is an old volcanic massif.

For us it was a real eye-opener how much you can determine by just taking a little closer look than you would normally do. Sometimes we were standing in front of a huge wall, trying to find fallen rocks that we could open with our geologic hammer to create new unweathered surfaces, and sometimes we just walked through passages surrounded by enormous formations rising up left and right from us.

Combination of lectures and fieldwork

All of this gave us a complete picture of everything we encountered during the geology lectures in previous periods. Even though it was quite hard to construct a representation of the areas and their history in our heads, it all started to make sense  in the end. That is why the fieldwork is such a worthy addition to the year. You learn to think in a different way. It’s really like solving a puzzle!