Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Leeching around

I've just come back from a week long field trip with JMSS. It was a lovely week with 10 exceptional year 10's. They hadn't done any geology before but they were quite interested and asked some great questions. We went to Buchan, toured the limestone caves and examined the fossils at potholes reserve. Buchan is a lovely little town. I've been there a number of times with the 2nd years and I can never get sick of going on the caves tour.

Stalactites and stalagmites in the Royal Cave, Buchan Reserve.

On the second day we drove to Inverloch and looked at the fossilized forest and the dinosaur dreaming fossil evacuation site. The dinosaur dreaming site is a world class fossil site where they've uncovered birds, mammals and even a Tyrant dinosaur. Jim found some beautiful examples of rip-up clasts and got all excited about them. Sedimentologists - go figure.

On day three we went to Yanakee then to Wilsons Prom and climbed Mt Oberon. The prom is a beautiful granitic batholith which has some lovely pink outcrops. We collected sand from Squeeky beach but more importantly, we got some mudstone samples the park rangers had used as road base. They feature a lovely green mineral (still to be identified, I'm holding out for variscite). Apparently they're from the Fish Creek Quarry, but this requires further investigation.

We finally went to Bendigo and took a tour of the Central Debora mine. The old workings are quite interesting and the honeycomb of tunnels under Bendigo are immense. Determining the best pumping methods to remove the arsenic tainted water would be a unique problem.
On the way home from Bendigo we stopped by Chewton to pan for gold. Unfortunately the creek was so low the water was stagnet and manky. Unfortunately for the students that is. Fortunately for me this left a beautiful refolded recumbent fold on view. I got very excited much to the amusement of the children. I took some photos and I plan on going back to do a proper survey.
As we were leaving one of the students called me over. She'd spotted a leech and knew I was interested in collecting them. She helped me hand catch it and in the process disturbed a larger one. We caught it, bottled them and now they sit on my kitchen table while I try and work out a more permanent home for them.  They're massive tiger leeches. I've caught them for my housemate to use in his presentations on Medieval Medicine at schools. They'll make great props and only have to be fed every 50-70 days.

Alpha is about 5" and Beta is about 2" - MASSIVE leeches.

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