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Geology at its peak!

GCSE Geologists ventured to the diverse landscapes of the Peak District to complete their fieldwork investigating mineralisation.

The Peak District is known for its split between the northern Dark Peak, with rolling moorlands, and the southern White Peak, with caves and and rivers being more common. The contrast between the two is a result of its fascinating geology: the underlying limestone of the White Peak is not capped by millstone grit, unlike the Dark Peak, leading to the variety in habitats and wildlife. This made it the perfect location for our GCSE pupils to take their learning outside the classroom.

The day involved studying the carboniferous (300 million years old) rocks of Derbyshire, looking at old lead mines and finishing at Magpie Mine, where the girls conquered their fear of heights to look down a 222 metre mine shaft. Alexandra said, “We set a piece of paper on fire and dropped it into the shaft - it burnt out before it hit the bottom!”

For the fieldwork, pupils were also involved in collecting specimens of Galena and Calcite. Galena in particular was exciting to find, as it is formed by deposition and is evidence of when Derbyshire was once a tropical lagoon. Another piece of history found was crinoid fossils that lived roughly 490 million years ago.

All the budding geologists had a fantastic time. Poppy said about the trip, “Although I learned a lot, the most interesting thing was finding out that the Peak District used to be a tropical environment at sea level, where volcanic activity occurred.”

Nikhita summarised the experience, “It was really interesting to visualise what Derbyshire looked like approximately 300 million years ago; it brought our curriculum alive. It really enhanced our coursework and was an amazing opportunity.”

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