Laggan Geology

Loch Buie

Way back, when this jon was actually a geologist, I carried out a mapping exercise around Loch Buie, Isle of Mull. If that sentence made no sense, allow me to expand a little.

Before the late 90s or there abouts, if you were studying Earth Sciences at university anywhere in the UK, you had to complete a mapping exercise in the summer between your second and third years. The process was to identify a 5km by 5km block of the world somewhere, complete field research on the area and produce a geological map. The map was, in my case, also accompanied by a 10 thousand word mini-thesis on the geological history.

There were many problems with this type of project work. Your heart said “go somewhere warm”, countered by your head with concerns of cost. We were students, it needed to be cheap. Secondly, it was incredibly dangerous as one would be out for 8 hours a day, alone and in quite nasty terrain. All said, we survived, but the practise died due to health and safety concerns.

The trick too was to find an area that already had a map – yes, exactly. Nearly all the world is geologically mapped, so getting a copy of the one in already in existance certainly made life somewhat easier. You couldn’t copy it of course (that would be plagarism), but it was an incredibly useful guide.

And so, 8 weeks later, my map of the Laggan Peninsula, Loch Buie, Isle of Mull was produced and a reasonably competant piece of work it was too. I knew that area of the island intimately. No stone was left unturned (pun fully intended). Even now, some 14 years after I completed my work, I don’t suppose anyone, even the landowners, know it as well as I.

Today though, an interesting email came my way, asking questions about what I had found there and proposing a field trip. I’m delighted and scared : It was 14 years ago and even though the rocks were formed 65 million years prior, what if they’d changed? Never-the-less, it might well happen. jonthegeologist rises again!