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Hands on opportunity for students

9 months ago by Kate Boersen


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Senior students from Tolaga Bay Area School and Lytton High School were scientists for a day during a recent earth science field trip that saw them learn about the earth’s structure, tectonic plates, geologic processes, earthquakes and tsunami.

The day started out with a lesson in the classroom, before the students visited a number of field sites to learn about the geological processes that had shaped their local physical environment.

The students examined the different layers of rock at the cliffs at Tolaga Bay and Sponge Bay and learnt about processes such as faulting and folding. Many were amazed that the cliffs they could see were formed millions of years ago offshore.

Showing them first-hand their local environment really brought alive the learning. “The scientists from GNS Science, Aliki Weststrate, Joshu Mountjoy and Katie Jacobs taught us a great deal about rocks and the formation of our coastlines,” says Tolaga Bay teacher Richard Tuhaka.

“It was a great learning experience.”

Students tested sedimentry rocks for fossil samples at Tolaga Bay, before moving on to Pouawa Bay where they found  2,000 year old tsunami deposits that had been uplifted in previous earthquake events. A tsunami in 1947 reached as high as the telephone pole at Tatapouri, and knocked out the bridge at Pouawa.

The field trip taught the students in a hands-on way about the earthquake and tsunami hazard in these low lying coastal areas, and what to do about it if they feel a long or strong earthquake.

Some footage of the field trip can be viewed on the Tolaga Bay Area School Facebook page