Cyprus – Sun, snow, dykes and serpentine by SHONA

After getting to bed after midnight last night, there were a few sleepy faces as we made our way to the coach at 8am this morning. But with glorious sunshine we had our sunglasses and shorts and were ready for an exciting day of geology! The coach took us up to the Troodos Mountains, a journey of around an hour and we looked at outcrops of the lower Troodos Ophiolite. We started with an outcrop of serpentinised harzburgite – pieces of rock which were once located in the upper mantle COOL! We then worked up the succession, which happened to be at lower elevations (confusing I know!) to gabbroic rocks, a fossilised magma chamber! After some confusing cumulate rocks at the 4th stop, we sat outside the coach to enjoy our lunch in the sunshine. It had been tshirt and sunglasses weather so far but as soon as we sat down and began to enjoy our sandwiches, the heavens opened! We rushed back onto the coach as the rain got heavier and heavier finally turning to hail! We drove half an hour through the impressive weather which by the time we got to our next stop had calmed down. Nevertheless when we left the coach this time, everyone had their jackets with them. We arrived at the contact between the sheeted dykes and the gabbros which was a low angle detachment fault. Making our way back to the coach, through a small village, the weather once again was not kind with torrential rain and loud claps of thunder. As we neared the bus (and safety!) our friendly bus driver and Geoff (our lecturer) decided it would be funny to drive away! Luckily we managed to get on the bus before it started to hail. As we drove to our next stop, it even started to snow!

Snow in Cyprus (!)
Snow in Cyprus (!)

The road was completely white – this is Cyprus, not Scotland!! A drastic change from this morning. At the final outcrop, we trudged through the snow and saw some really interesting layering and sheared rocks. Back to the hotel now, time to buy some food for dinner, explore Limmasol and get ready to start again tomorrow!

Dick Kroon’s tip of the day: keep your body above your knees when speed skating (he even gave us a demonstration)

This morning we left in glorious sunshine and headed to look at the upper part of the Troodos Ophiolite. With a day off tomorrow and a night out planned, excitement was in the air! We saw lots and lots of dykes first thing and observed lots of their features. We then headed to a fantastic viewpoint of an outcrop and were told by our lecturer that its ok to die now as we’ve now seen the best of the best! A world class outcrop of pillow lavas!

We had lunch in the sun and then at the bottom of the hill an ice cream van arrived and was playing his song.

We all rushed down after lunch and everyone had an ice cream in the glorious sunshine. We then headed down into a spectacular canyon where it was roasting. Then we headed to the final location to look at more dykes and more lava. Another very interesting and exciting day and we’re starting to paint the picture of the regional geology here in Cyprus and what has occurred over the past 90 million years! Tomorrow is our day off, a day by the pool in the sun – brilliant!

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