Jan 2, 2016

New Routines: First Day at Gerace Research Centre by Sam L.

January 2, 2016

The first day anywhere new is always the strangest...new routine, new places, and new people. When I first woke up it even took a moment to remember that I was actually in the Bahamas. After a quick breakfast and morning lecture on the basics of the island's geology was on the menu. It was interesting seeing how far into the Atlantic the island of San Salvador is compared to the rest of the Bahamas.

San Salvador from space! Satellite image from Earth Observatory, NASA

Queen's Highway, a ring road that circles the entire island. View from the entrance of the Gerace Research Centre.  

Sunglasses on. Top down. Music blaring. Catch us riding in style!

Pristine conditions at the former naval docks (Graham's Harbour).


With the lecture down and our stomachs full it was time to pile onto the truck and roll out. The first stop brought us down the road to the old naval docks, which have seen better days to say the least. Here we talked about a variety of topics including the composition of the sediments, trace fossils, and aeolian processes that helped shaped some of the rocks in the foreshore and backshore. These sections was part of the geologic unit known as the North Point Member. 

Geoscience student, Logan Mort-Jones, sits a top the North Point Member which belongs to the Rice Bay Formation. This formation is the youngest on San Salvador and was deposited during the start of sea level transgression in the Holocene.

Geoscience majors taking a closer look at the eolianite cross beds of the North Point Member.
This was the general gist for the day. We would pile onto the truck with music blaring, some laughs being had and arriving at another beautiful beach scene which always hidden gems for us to observe and learn about. An interesting stop was at the sea wall that currently being constructed. We were able to observe the damage San Salvador had endured from Hurricane Joaquin and the resilience of the island. The sea wall in particular was being built to help protect the road from being eroded. Gaps were made in the sea wall every few feet to help relieve water pressure in case there ever was to much for the wall to handle.

The newly built sea well is located by Cockburn Town.


Fossilized brain coral on the sea wall.

Below the sea wall, large chunks of coral visible as well as paleosols. The paleosols were formed when sediment was blown from the Sahara and mixed with the sediments already present on the island, which were oxidized through time. This is also an important feature because the paleosols also help to mark the boundary between two of the geologic formations. 

A quick final note on the best part of the day, in my opinion, involves the coral reefs around the island. The corals and life within are beautiful. The reef we visited had some visible bleaching and damage, but also some regrowth as well. This was a good warm up snorkel and definitely just the beginning of what I can expect to be an amazing experience.

Some more shots from today's trip to the southern end of San Salvador:

A great display of cross bedding on lithified dunes on the south end of San Sal.

Boulder field on the southern side of the island caused by Hurrican Joaquin.


An outcrop on the south end of the island (next to the boulder field).