Origins of Brac explained

| 30/03/2009

(CNS): Environmental science students at UCCI’s Cayman Brac campus learned more about the origins of this island from Dr. Murray Roed, author of Islands from the Sea – Geologic Stories of Cayman, who paid a recent visit to the Brac. Roed first discussed the content of his book, which is a synthesis of the 1000 or more scientific articles that have been written about Cayman with a special focus on geology, and then took the students on a field exploration – putting into practice what students had learned in the classroom.

The book explains the geological origins of Cayman, “their origin at the whims of nature, the scientific endeavour to unlock their secrets, and how their resources, onshore and offshore, are presently being utilized or abused.”

Environmental science teacher Martin Keeley said that the class visited two sites to examine the Brac’s ecological formations. “The first was at Stake Bay where we examined the edge of the Bluff, and the second at Long Beach where a similar examination took place of the rocky beach and ironshore,” he explained.

For student Lolita Bodden, the fieldwork was especially interesting: “I think every kid on the Brac has grown up with a fascination regarding the bluff, Caymanite and the general geography of these islands,” she said. “It was excellent to have a world recognized expert geologist like Dr. Roed to explain and share his insight on a range of topics and questions about the island and its pre-historic origins.

“Knowing how these islands evolved definitely helps me gave a greater appreciation for what we have today. Our environment and the related ecosystems are our mostprecious resource and understanding them is a critical step in preserving them for the future,” she added.

For Tashara Lewis, Dr. Roed’s interpretation in the classroom and the field greatly improved her understanding of the Brac’s geology. She especially liked the acid test: “When he conducted the test with an acid solution we were able to clearly see the difference between limestone and dolomite,” she said. “The other thing which really sticks in my mind is when he showed us how different organisms slowly consume the limestone rock.”

The two active volcanoes in the Cayman Trench about 100 miles south of George Town also impressed Tashara. “When he explained how the volcanoes were formed, and then showed us photos of them, it helped to scientifically verify stories that we had been hearing for many years about volcanoes,” she said.

At the end of the day Dr. Roed presented each of the students with a signed copy of his book which was published by Cayman Free Press.

Dr. Roed will be giving a presentation on his work together with a book launch and signing at Books and Books, Camana Bay, on Monday 30 March at 7.00 pm.
 

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