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A journey through time

27 Mar 2019

Every rock tells a story – a story of origins, of the primal forces of land formation, of weathering and erosion, of being thrust from deep within the earth up and out in volcanic eruptions, of beginning a journey high in the Southern Alps, tumbling down rivers, spilling onto beaches, waiting for millions of years to be found – and it is revealing these stories that is at the heart of studying geology and geological processes.

On Friday 22 March, a group of Year 12 students went on a field trip designed to put the “earth” into Earth & Space Science – undertaking practical work to investigate geological processes in the Canterbury region. As student Archie Roberts puts it, “To get information to describe and identify different rock types and where certain rocks are found around Christchurch and Canterbury, in order to understand the geological history of the area.”

The group went up the Port Hills and down into Lyttelton, before heading over Gebbies Pass to Birdlings Flat. They stopped to collect samples and check out different rock formations along the way, covering aeons of geological activity – from the relatively recent Lyttelton and Akaroa volcanic eruptions (around 10 million years ago) to the much older (tens of millions of years) sedimentary rocks found at Birdlings Flat.

Teacher Anna Johnston says it makes complete sense to get out of the classroom to study geology. “To be able to actually see how the land is formed, see the different areas and types of rocks rather than just looking at photos, makes a huge difference to understanding the processes involved.”

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