I am in Stanley: ORCHESTRA part 2... by Melanie Leng

Melanie Leng is currently part taking in an expedition to the Southern Ocean as part of ORCHESTRA (Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports), a NERC funded programme with partners at the British Antarctic Survey (lead), the National Oceanography Centre, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and many more including BGS. Here she updates us on her journey so far...

Image (clockwise from top left): Stanley main street, a working UK phone box,
the jetty from the Falklands museum, daffodils flowering in the cemetery,
sulphur loving lichens on the sea wall.
After a long flight to the Falkland Islands, via Cape Verde, we (about 30 scientists and logistical staff) are waiting to board the RRS James Clarke Ross currently docked in the Falkland main port, Stanley. Stanley is a vibrant little town of around 2000 people laid out in a grid pattern along the sea shore, facing into the midday sun the town slopes up a hill. The mainly wood and tin homes and businesses have brightly coloured roofs and sit amongst historic cottages and administrative buildings from the time of the main settlers in the 1800’s. Today the weather is very spring like, around 5oC but bight and sunny. It doesn’t feel much different to the UK but the daffodils flowering in the cemetery prove that its spring here and not autumn! Tomorrow we board the ship to begin the mobilisation of the equipment, ready to set sail by the end of the week.

Since this is geoblogy, a bit about the rocks! So far I have only seen quartzite and basalt. The quartzite is a hard, grey, layered rock (Silurian and Devonian sandstones?) which outcrops within Stanley. Many of the older houses are built from it. The basalts sit on top of the quartzites in the surrounding hills - and are therefore younger. Between 1996 and 1998 the BGS re-surveyed the islands and produced the first modern geological map.

I am tweeting @MelJLeng and @ORCHESTRAPROJ and Facebooking (Orchestra project) during this trip, as well as updating the BGS Geoblogy and drakepassageblog.wordpress.com when I have time.

Melanie Leng is the Science Director for Geochemistry at the BGS and the BGS lead scientist for ORCHESTRA.