A field course is incomplete without a field guide. We had an exceptional field guide (guess who prepared it- Dr. Vitor Abreu!!) who knew the location of all the outcrops, the parking locations for multiple cars, and safety information about the outcrop (what are the hazards at the outcrops and the necessary safety precautions). He also added relevant documentation for each outcrop in the guidebook. To me, the ‘Photopans’ were the best part of the guidebook. A Photopan is the large-scale photograph that captures relevant context to a complete outcrop. We had four to five field stops each day, almost all of which included Photopans. The Photopans were used as a major tool during the field trip to train students to identify the deepwater depositional bodies which develop certain geometries, along with a certain aspect ratio, which could only be observed if we are standing away from the outcrop. Photopans are a good visual method to aid understanding of the geometries, continuity of the beds, and the facies relationships. Additionally, after the Photopan exercises, we visited and touched all the outcrops, measuring a few stratigraphic sections in teams of two to three students each. Combining the observations from both imagery and outcrop perspectives is extremely important to understand the environment of deposition.
After each exciting day, we had lectures about the different elements of deepwater basins. Lectures are important to put everything in to perspective. Every single day, every single outcrop, we had very lively discussions with the experts regarding what to observe, followed by their interpretations.
The First four days learning the architecture of the Ainsa Basin was actually indirect training to measure a real core! Finally, the most exciting part arrived! Core!! We split up into teams of two and described a core (at Hotel Apolo- in their amazing core room). This was a fun exercise for all the students, especially for those who had no previous exposure to describing a core.
I am glad to share my experience with you all and I hope you enjoyed the short blog on our trip.
By – Pankaj Khanna
Photo Credits – Gary Linkevich