Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-110
https://doi.org/10.5194/se-2021-110

  16 Sep 2021

16 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal SE.

Virtual fieldtrip to the Esla Nappe (Cantabrian Zone, NW Spain): delivering traditional geological mapping skills remotely using real data

Manuel Ignacio de Paz-Álvarez1, Thomas G. Blenkinsop2, David M. Buchs2, George E. Gibbons2, and Lesley Cherns2 Manuel Ignacio de Paz-Álvarez et al.
  • 1Departamento de Geología, Universidad de Oviedo, C/ Jesús Arias de Velasco s/n, 33005 Oviedo, Spain
  • 2School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University, Main Building – Park Place, CF10 3AT, Cardiff, UK

Abstract. The restrictions implemented to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 and 2021 have forced university-level educators from around the world to seek alternatives to residential physical field trips which constitute a fundamental pillar of geoscience programmes. The field-mapping course for 2nd year Geology BSc students from the Cardiff University was replaced with a virtual mapping course set in the same area as previous years, the Esla Nappe (Cantabrian Zone, NW Spain). The course was designed with the aim of providing the students with the same methodology employed in physical mapping, gathering discrete data in stops located along five daily itineraries. Data included bedding attitude, outcrop descriptions with a certain degree of ambiguity, photographs and/or sketches, panoramic photos and fossil images. Data was provided to the students through georeferenced KMZ files in Google Earth. Students were asked to keep a field notebook, define lithological units of mappable scale, identify large structures such as thrust faults and folds with the aid of age estimations from fossils, construct a geological map on a hard-copy topographic map, draw a stratigraphic column and cross sections, and plot the data in a stereonet to perform structural analysis. The exercise allowed a successful training of diverse geological field skills. In the light of the assessment of reports and student surveys, a series of improvements for the future is considered. Though incapable of replacing a physical field course, the virtual exercise could be used in preparation for the residential fieldtrip.

Manuel Ignacio de Paz-Álvarez et al.

Status: open (until 03 Nov 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on se-2021-110', Lidia Lonergan, 28 Sep 2021 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Manuel Ignacio de Paz Álvarez, 30 Sep 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on se-2021-110', Jaime Toro, 05 Oct 2021 reply

Manuel Ignacio de Paz-Álvarez et al.

Manuel Ignacio de Paz-Álvarez et al.

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Short summary
We describe a virtual geological mapping course implemented in response to traveling and social restrictions derived from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The course was designed to replicate as closely as possible a physical mapping exercise with the aid of real field data and photographs collected by the authors during previous years in the Cantabrian Zone (NW Spain). The course is delivered through Google Earth via a KMZ file with outcrop descriptions and links to GitHub-hosted photographs.