EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A hybrid online/on-site field trip: Reconstructing Earth’s Past Climate from the sedimentary record. 

Friedrich Hawemann, Martina Kirilova, Virginia Toy, Selina Fenske, and Philip Seelos
Friedrich Hawemann et al.
  • University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany (

The last two years of global pandemic forced many traditional classes to be cancelled and alternative teaching solutions to be sought, which triggered development of substantial virtual resources for training in geological field work. Virtual geology has proven to have significant advantages over traditional field work in aspects such as: 1) ability to include people with physical limitations, 2) reduction of costs for students, 3) flexible working hours, 4) independence of weather conditions. Nevertheless, most geoscience lecturers would agree that virtual classes are unable to entirely replace on-site classes, because they do not allow development of certain observational skills and 3D perception, field hardiness, or in-person team communications. We therefore propose a hybrid course design within the European Universities “FORTHEM” framework, which integrates virtual and on-site teaching techniques. This course not only demonstrates novel teaching methodology but also trains students to integrate variable sources of information; such capabilities are critical to allow graduate geoscientists to thrive in our current information age.

The field area is located in Molinos, Teruel province of eastern Spain, where a fossil-rich Jurassic-Cretaceous sedimentary sequence is exposed. The record mainly comprises marine units, which reveal changes in depositional environment that reflect paleoclimate changes. However, the area is extensively folded and faulted, and thus the tectonic deformation needs to be unraveled in order to determine the original depositional sequences. Students participating on-site will therefore study the fossil record of the rocks, measure faults and folds and create a geological map of the area. A second group of students will work from their home, examining the microfossils in thin section images and use 3D models of outcrops to describe the geometry of folds and faults, and perform digital geological mapping with the aid of satellite images. The two groups of students will be working on the same challenges but on different scales and thus an exchange of field and digital observations between students will be encouraged and required to obtain a holistic understanding of the local geology. As an outcome of this course students will reconstruct a timeline of environmental changes through the Jurassic-Cretaceous period. All data will be collected in database driven applications, allowing swift exchange of data, and its longer term preservation in a uniform format.

How to cite: Hawemann, F., Kirilova, M., Toy, V., Fenske, S., and Seelos, P.: A hybrid online/on-site field trip: Reconstructing Earth’s Past Climate from the sedimentary record. , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5209,, 2022.


Display file

Comments on the display

to access the discussion