17 Graduate students met in Christchurch on Wednesday to participate in the RSES Student Fieldtrip 2012. We all come from very different science backgrounds, but are all very excited to learn more about the geology of New Zealand. After escaping the airport we made our way in 2 minivans towards the extinct Akaroa Volcano. The drive to this surprisingly remote region was for many of us our first impression of New Zealand and a unique experience. Our goal for the day was to reach an outcrop that contained xenoliths, minerals and rock fragments, from in this case upper mantle rocks included in the Akaroa basaltic melts. They are particularly interesting because they contain vital information of the early evolution of New Zealand.
The road became steeper, narrower and much windier. Following the first van a little to close the second van had to slow down on an unfortunate steep patch of the track. That was a huge mistake resulting some pushing of the van out of the New Zealand bush.
After barely making it to the outcrop the weather turned miserable and visibility dropped to zero.
Sadly this meant that after an hour we had to abandon our search for xenoliths and head back to Christchurch for the night. While we did not find any xenoliths, I still feel that the day was a great success since seeing extraordinary beautiful landscape and beginning to get a feeling for this rugged country. All in all this promises to be a wild fieldtrip.