Arid / Desert Landscape Systems fieldwork based in Almeria Province, Spain
The fieldwork for this unit visits both the Tabernas Desert and the Cabo de Gata Natural Park.
This topic is the only one that we offer with a set itinerary in order to operate as cost effectively as possible. Despite this you can be certain that this 3 day / 4 night field trip will provide students with a unique opportunity to explore and understand two of Europes most spectacular and stunning natural areas.
This programme will inspire and stretch the students in their fieldwork skills and knowledge of Arid / Desert Landscape Systems and also provides superb opportunities to complete the fieldwork for NEA projects or practise enquiry skills with a range of mini-projects.
We are currently the only provider in the UK running academically rigorous field courses for the Arid / Desert Landscape Systems options.
The fieldwork starts with an introductory walk in the Tabernas Desert to identify and explain a variety of landforms formed primarily by episodic fluvial processes and mass movements. The approach is strongly systems-based looking at three interconnected zones where sediment production, movement and deposition occur.
The main destination of this walk is the famous feature known as the Colas de Dragon (dragon tail) - seen here:
We back track a short distance to meet up with our 4WD drive vehicle for lunch, water and shade.
After lunch we undertake a round robin of small-scale fieldwork enquiries: some examples of these are
Correlating the area of alluvial fans to the length of the gullies that feed them.
Relating the density of rills to varying infiltration rates on differing soil / rock types.
Microclimate and soil moisture variations related to aspect and vegetation.
On return to the hotel in Almeria we use the evening to follow-up the mini enquiries and to explore Almeria.
The fieldwork for day two involves a trip to Monsul beach in the Cabo de Gata Natural Park. The focus for the mornings fieldwork is to study aeolian transportation and deposition on an area of hillside rising above the beach. This area contains a number of sand dunes that closely resemble barchan dunes and provide excellent opportunity to measure wind speed variations and sand fluxes across the dune cross-sections.
After lunch we will spend some free time on Monsul beach and exploring the lovely seaside village of San Jose before heading back to our hotel in Almeria. The evening will again be spent on follow up from the days fieldwork and also finalising plans for the next days independent project work.
We return to our field sites in the Tabernas Desert and using our 4WD drive vehicle as a central point students disperse to various sites to undertake their independent fieldwork research.
We return to our hotel mid-afternoon and spend the rest of that afternoon and evening checking, collating and starting to analyse the data.