For those of you following this blog, you might remember that last year, on my annual field trip for the Geology 483 class (University of Canterbury), I lost my hammer. As is usual, this year as last, we visited the Denniston Plateau, which has an excellent geological section extending from the basement (Greenland Group meta-sediments; Ordovician to Cretaceous) with the unconformable overlying Brunner Coal Measures (Eocene) up through an overall fining-upward sequence culminating in the fine-grained lacustrine mudstones of the Kaiata Formation (Late Eocene).
After the students and I had spent the best part of the morning looking at the sediments – in lovely sunshine I might add – we ambled back the couple of kilometers to the vans savouring the views from the plateau. As we walked back, I ducked in and out of various places that I thought I might have sat down or taken a photograph the year before. But nothing.
Just as we were approaching the vans I ran quickly up to Burnetts Face (where we visited last year but not this year). I had no hope of finding my lost hammer, as it seemed unlikely that I had left it there or if I did, surely some other geology group would have picked it up and gave it a home.
But as I scrambled over the scrubby gorse bushes, placing my feet carefully from boulder to boulder, there it was – the wooden handle obviously weather worn and in need of some loving oil and the head dark brown and flakey with rust. I was overjoyed and gave a loud whoop as I ran back to the vans and the laughter of the students.