Hidden Worlds

Hidden Worlds

Dr James Rowson

Field trips are the ‘light bulb’ or ‘eureka’ moments for students, when the things they have learnt in lectures click into place and their understanding of the topic leaps forward.

Lecturer in Earth Sciences, Dr James Rowson

On field trips students are living and breathing the subject and they often feel they’ve learnt more on a week-long field trip than in a whole semester of lectures.

Lecturer in Earth Sciences Dr James Rowson takes us underground to discover the hidden secrets of volcanic lava tubes below the Atlantic island of Tenerife:

“Tenerife is one of the best and closest examples to the UK of an active volcanic system, with features that really showcase the processes and functions of a volcano. The island has a long history of volcanic activity, and the combination of relatively modern eruptions with erosion that reveals the inner works of a volcanic system gives a world class overview of virtually all igneous processes associated with volcanology.”

Lava tube

“The lava tube shows a smooth floor and lava levees at the side as the lava drained away. Being underground is a rare opportunity to experience total darkness and sit for a minute in quiet contemplation.”

Dr James Rowson with students at the lava tube entrance

“The entrance to the lava tube. We’re all wearing hard hats and lamps as there are no lights inside the cave. Some of us were a little apprehensive about going underground! We’re stood on a patch of naturally clear ground surrounded by trees, which tells us we’re in an area of lava tubes.”

An information board depicting the intricate network of lava caves

“The third longest lava tube system in the world with more tubes potentially still to discover, the caves are run by a group of dedicated volunteers committed to preserving the caves as much as possible while promoting knowledge and understanding of these systems.”

“Students are fascinated to learn that the lava tubes branch and intersect underground and can become jammed by falling blocks that force the lava to divert down another route. We can see this here where the two black holes, in the centre and the right, are where the lava tube branched.”

Find out more about the courses we have to offer in Geography and Geology at Edge Hill. You can also book to attend one of our open days, or request a prospectus.

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