The Geology module started on Monday with a quick introductory lesson on safety to prepare students for the field excursions. Our instructor, Dr. Greg Henkes, introduced the students to the geology of Ileret, a locality in the East of the Lake Turkana Basin, characterized by Plio-Pleistocene deposits. A mini-expedition in the afternoon to the Koobi Fora strata in Area 3 provided an opportunity for the students to explore the outcrops there.
Following were practical days where students learned more about mapping and later created slope profiles in Area 6A using the GPS, Brunton compass, and the Jacobs staff. These are key tools used by geologists in navigation and slope profiling. They also spent time in the laboratory with Dr. Greg Henkes identifying the different types of rocks and minerals in our collection. The collection included sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks.
A geological walk through the Tulu Bor Delta to the shoreline of Lake Turkana was the perfect setting for Friday’s lesson. Students had the chance to examine the stratified sediments that serve as a timeline for processes that shaped the earth from the past. The lithology of the modern Tulu Bor deltaic environment served as a window to understanding this ancient environment that would have influenced much of the basins sediments. Later, we visited the Main Fish Beds in Area 6A, 6B and Area 3 to identify geological sections for mapping projects.
On Saturday we visited Area 41, full of Plio-Pleistocene deposits. Students were lucky to visit a site studied and excavated by David Braun some years back that yielded not only archaeological data but also provided a context to understanding the geology of the area. Last week, Dr. Greg Henkes led the students to the outcrops of the Gombe group basalts that sit underneath the Plio-Pleistocene deposits in Area 41. Basalts are extrusive igneous rocks that characterize much of the lithics in the area.