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Department of Earth Sciences


Congratulations to third year student, Peter Methley, on receiving the Dave Johnston Mapping Prize by the Tectonic Studies Group (TSG) of the Geological Society of London.

The Prize is awarded annually to the best undergraduate student mapping dissertation. The Tectonic Studies Group, a Geological Society of London specialist group for structural geologists, make the presentation at their AGM.

“Thank you very much for nominating me for this award; it was certainly a nice (and rather unexpected) surprise to find out that I'd won!” said Peter.

Peter mapped an area in the Alpine Foreland near the town of Castellane, in South-East France, “we chose the Alpine Foreland area because it was relatively easy to travel to, had nice sunny weather (at least most of the time) and had interesting-looking structures on the existing geological map”

“The geology we saw certainly didn't disappoint!” said Peter, “the rock sequence tells a tale of deepening Tethys Ocean waters during the Triassic and Jurassic, followed by uplift in the Cretaceous and Palaeocene. In the Eocene and Oligocene, conglomerates, highly-fossiliferous marls, nummulitic sandstones and limestones were deposited in a foreland basin in front of the young Alps. As this was happening, north to south compression formed a series of tight folds and intricate faults in the sedimentary cover as it moved southwards over a gypsum-lubricated décollement. By the Miocene, a change in the compression direction to ENE-WSW gave the area some excellent examples of refolded folds and reactivated faults.”