Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Once Upon A Time In Keyworth

Twelve years ago, when I was a mere slip of a 17-year-old girl, I won a Nuffield bursary to spend the summer working at the British Geological Survey in Keyworth. I worked in what was at the time called the Regional Geophysics Group, digitising radiometric data from the 1957 airborne survey of Cornwall.


Reproduced with the permission of the British Geological Survey ©NERC. All rights Reserved.

I started at the most westerly section and made it as far east as St Ives in the four weeks I spent in the Group.


Reproduced with the permission of the British Geological Survey ©NERC. All rights Reserved.

I came up with a 10-page report, "Digitisation Of Analogue Airborne Radiometric Data From South-West Cornwall And Its Interpretation", submitted it in triplicate, got a gorgeous colour printout of my map and never saw any of it again. A year later, my data made it into the BGS technical report "Digitisation of the 1957 Airborne Radiometric Survey of Cornwall" (ISBN: B0018TNG3A).


Reproduced with the permission of the British Geological Survey ©NERC. All rights Reserved.

The colours are different on my plot and the plot for the whole of Cornwall - the latter was an equal area plot, which shows up nicely the increased radioactivity associated with uranium-bearing granite.

Last month I finally got a chance to visit the area, on my holiday. Despite participating in a field trip to southwest England as an undergraduate, we never went further west than The Lizard, so a week in St Ives was a great opportunity to see the rocks. Here is the granite that makes up the vast majority of the Lands End peninsula (with my pudgy little hand for scale):


You'll see that it's quite a pale granite, chock full of feldspars (about the size of each of my pudgy little fingers). It erodes to form some of the most beautiful quartz and feldspar beaches:


And of course, where you find granite, you find metamorphic rocks. These were on the private beach at Trebah Gardens:


I do wonder sometimes if anyone has ever set eyes on my report since 1997. I suspect not, which is good because there are few things more embarrassing than a 17-year-old trying to write in academic style.

It's very likely that, over the next year or so, I will have to go back up to the BGS at Keyworth to look at some of their boreholes from my new field area. It'll be great to look around again!

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