17. Education, preservation and outreach

17.1. Education, communication, preservation and Geoheritage


                       ORAL PRESENTATIONS                    

Geology Day in Sweden, lessons from 17 years.

Nelly Aroka1
1Geological Survey of Sweden
Geology Day is a Swedish non-profit organization. Our aim is to spark curiosity among the public and to highlight the benefits of basic knowledge of geology and earth sciences to society. Every year since 2001 our organizers invite the public to take part in a nationwide celebration of geology in September. At the 17 year mark we ask ourselves; what have we learned, what are our challenges and how do we continue working to promote earth sciences throughout the year?

Challanges in conveying geology to society. -Examples from Danish landscapes traced by a Norwegian geologist, in order to create curiosity for geology and explain geological processes.

Thorbjørn Kaland1
1University of Bergen
Though schools at all levels are teaching geology and science, we are facing frequent lacks of knowledge leading to misunderstanding of basic geology.

Teachers, journalists, bureaucrats and politicians may need to upgrade knowledge in geology.

Geologists need to meet the challenge and share their interests for earth science.

But how?

The best way of making people search for the answers of everything’s genesis, is to take them out of their rooms, and rediscover nature.

Scandinavian and German tourists drive through Denmark to see everything, – but geology. They disregard the most beautiful jewels of Denmark.

Most sites have got a geological story to tell.

How may we make the local society understand their local landscape? New visual tools may bring back the ice cap with its drain and movement.

How may social media tell more than any geologist?

Trolltunga is a cliff in Western Norway, lying lonely for 10.000 years.

After a few foreign hikers dropped into the site and posted their picture on Facebook, Trolltunga = Norway. Yearly more than 100.000 hikers walk the 9 hour mountain walk to take their selfie at Trolltunga.

This story reveals some interesting challenges:

–         Where do we find “Trolltungs”?

–         Do we really want to share them with the rest of the world?

–         How can local community benefit the site?

–         How may we plan for massive traffic in a sustainable way?


The presentation will show examples from Danish landscapes, with the objectives to create curiosity for geology and geological processes.


What do we actually teach students in the field?

Rie Hjørnegaard Malm1
1University of Oslo
Fieldwork has a central position in the geosciences and is typically an integrated part of the study programme, where it is considered by many as a crucial part of the learning process and linked to the process of becoming a professional geoscientist (King, 2008; Raab & Frodeman, 2002). Fieldwork is suggested to be an effective learning arena to teach the scientific method and reasoning (Mogk & Goodwin, 2012). Educational research shows great opportunities for learning, but how do we know what the students learn? And how does our teaching in the field affect the students’ opportunities to learn?

In this piece of research I follow students closely in the field and explore how and what they learn. By seeing teaching from the students’ perspective I am able to show in detail how the organization of teaching has an influence on the learning potentials for the students.

When the students are given the freedom to explore and collect data on their own they experience a learning situation that simulates an authentic research situation. In this process it proves to be crucial that the students are allowed to make mistakes and are given enough time to discuss their data collection. If we only show students how to work in the field great learning opportunities are lost. I present results from my research on students working in the field in mainland Norway, Svalbard, the Orkney Islands, and the Spanish Pyrenees and discuss how we can construct teaching in the field that promotes learning.

King, C. (2008). Geoscience education: an overview. Studies in Science Education, 44(2), 187-222.

Mogk, D. W., & Goodwin, C. (2012). Learning in the field: Synthesis of research on thinking and learning in the geosciences. Geological Society of America Special Papers, 486, 131-163.

Raab, T., & Frodeman, R. (2002). What is it like to be a geologist? A phenomenology of geology and its epistemological implications. Philosophy & Geography, 5(1), 69-81.


Generalized bedrock map of Finland and related material

Perttu Mikkola1
1Geological Survey of Finland
In most countries the laymen’s typically have limited understanding of geological concepts and processes. Reasons behind this are multiple, but one recognised factor, at least in Finland, is the lack of suitable teaching material that could be used in elementary and high schools. To answer this need Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) produced in 2016 a generalised 1:1 000 000 scale bedrock map (Mikkola et al. 2016), which is based on the same database as the ”professional” version compiled by Nironen et al. (2016). The generalisation was done in association with geography teachers to ensure that for example terminology used is understood by the target group. Although the map is available as a print ready pdf-file, the most important distribution channel is an online map service. In this service user can open short information boxes by clicking on the map objects. These include for example the age of the formation, its distribution in Finland, in what kind of environment it was generated and one or two photos of representative outcrops or samples. Readymade slide packages on the larger geological entities, e.g. the Archean in Finland, were also distributed to the geography teachers. The idea in these was that individual teacher could use the one, or ones, containing information about the bedrock in his/her area. The produced material is naturally highly usable in popularising geology to any non-professional target group.

Mikkola, P., Nironen, M., Kousa, J. & Luukas, J. (eds.) 2016. Yleistetty Suomen kallioperäkartta – Generaliserad berggrund karta över Finland – Generalized bedrock map of Finland 1:1 000 000. Geological Survey of Finland, Espoo, Finland. Available at: http://tupa.gtk.fi/kartta/erikoiskartta/ek_099_300dpi.pdf

Nironen, M., Kousa, J., Luukas, J. & Lahtinen, R. (eds.) 2016. Geological Map of Finland – Bedrock 1:1 000 000. Geological Survey of Finland, Espoo, Finland. Available at: http://tupa.gtk.fi/kartta/erikoiskartta/ek_098_300dpi.pdf


Rock Fossils on Tour – Zoological nomenclature at its coolest!

Jesper Milàn1, Mats E. Eriksson2, Achim G. Reisdorf3, Esben Horn4 and Rune Fjord5
1Geomuseum Faxe, Denmark, 2Department of Geology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, 3University of Basel, Switzerland, 410Tons APS, Denmark, 5Rune Fjord Studio, Denmark
Zoological nomenclature, the science of naming extant and extinct organisms can seem like a dull field with little public appeal. However, a new travelling exhibition “Rock Fossils on Tour”, dealing with just that theme, has managed to attract a wide international audience and reach far beyond the normal palaeontological circles, and straight into the heart of rock fans!

The exhibition portrays fossils that are named after rock, punk, pop, jazz and heavy metal stars, and features exclusive lifelike sculptural reconstructions of the animals. In addition, the musicians who lent their names to science are presented alongside amusing anecdotes from the scientists responsible for this unusual etymology. Many of the items have been signed by the rock stars. The exhibition has gained extensive attention in the media and news groups worldwide, and has been very well received by both music and fossil fans in the six European museums it has visited so far.

This is the story of how the exhibition came to be, from a spontaneous capricious idea, its rise to success, and the plans for its future expansion.


Knowledge Exchange for Resource Management and International Trust – Aleppo case study

Rodney Stevens1, Mohamed Alkridi1 and Michael Kouro1
1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg
The KERMIT project deals with research and capacity-building targeted at two, related groups with academic backgrounds: 1) refugees in Europe and 2) local populations in the stressed regions from which people are fleeing. Although the long-term focus is aimed at raising the competence and capacity for sustainable resource management in stressed regions, the refugees with academic backgrounds involve both new challenges and opportunities with related objectives. These refugees need complementary study to adapt their educational background to European conditions, and at the same time they can provide valuable expertise and knowledge of specific regions and general conditions where resource conflicts and management have increased migration. Utilizing the connections to the local academic community and the existing infrastructure, project activities explore the dual and complementary goals to increase human capacity, thereby strengthening the hope for positive, short-term and long-term developments for both groups.

Cooperative projects and educational activities with partner institutes in stressed regions are the distinctive profile of the KERMIT project. These activities build upon our international networks and the multidisciplinary research from the cooperative projects, utilizing earlier results and emphasizing the exchange activities for knowledge transfer in all directions. One on-going case study deals with water-management strategies for Aleppo, Syria, and considers the increased pollution loading on agricultural areas along the river due to continued irrigation during the war while the water-treatment plant has not functioned. In addition, urban pollution sources, transport pathways, and recipients are modeled using system structural analysis and relative risk ranking methods.


                       POSTER PRESENTATIONS                    

GIS – an appropriate tool for undergraduate field mapping?

Morten Aanvik1, Sigmund Slang1, Amund Bråten Rian1 and Monika Oftedal Voll1
1University of Oslo
Geographic information systems, GIS, are key tools in the industry and geological surveys, increasing the efficiency of mapping and data collection in the field. Though GIS usage is widespread, there is little focus on GIS in the field parts of the geology program at the University of Oslo. The focus lies on learning basic field skills and traditional mapping methods. We are often met with the argument that we need to hold a basic knowledge of traditional methods before advancing to more complex digital systems. Here we report use of Arcmap Desktop to digitally map an area in the inner Oslofjord as part of our bachelor capstone course. To implement ArcMap data files were created to record mapping observations, together with DEM/DSM files constructed from laser data. Computer files were interpreted and analysed during fieldwork to find areas where more observations were needed. This resulted in a high learning outcome in use of ArcMap. Comparing traditional mapping to GIS mapping highlights advantages of using digital tools. Data collection increases greatly in speed, quantity and quality. Potential downsides include battery life of devices and vulnerability to weather. Both objections are easily mitigated by using water proof cases and power banks. Digital mapping greatly improved the quality and precision of our map and geological understanding of the field area. We conclude that GIS is a teaching aid that should be utilized in field work, having the potential to improve the geological understanding of students and prepare them for the work life.


We would like to thank Anders Mattias Lundmark (Associate Professor, The Department of Geology, University of Oslo) and Lars Eivind Augland (Postdoctoral, The Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics, University of Oslo) for thorough guidance and continous support.


Soapstone from Nuuk: Communicating scientific and commercial value of a local resource

Rebekka Knudsen1, Nynke Keulen2, Majken D. Poulsen3, Kisser Thorsøe4 and Morten Meldgaard Ilisimatusarfik, Nuuk, Greenland & Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen University, Denmark
1Greenland Perspective, Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen University, Denmark, 2Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Nuuk Greenland & Copenhagen Denmark, 3Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Nuuk Greenland & Copenhagen University, Denmark, 4Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Nuuk Greenland
The Soapstone from Nuuk project bridges the gap between scientists and people by anchoring research into society and showing its relevance to daily life. Our goal is to inform the citizens of towns and villages in Greenland about the potential for small-scale mining of soapstone and to engage local community in using the opportunities soapstone holds; for small-scale mining, geo-tourism and local rock collectors and for archaeological investigations. In order to engage a broad spectrum of the population in the project we decided to work on 3 communicative levels: i) A practical level – we hosted an in situ citizen science workshop to teach the participants how to see the landscape and the rock formations in the Nuuk area through the geologists’ and archaeologists’ eyes; ii) An engaging level – we hosted exhibitions and a public event with the purpose of showing different possibilities of making a living out of soapstone as well as communicating this message through the press; iii) A teaching level – we have communicated the results of the project through talks, a film and a website about the project. By mixing traditional scientific outreach with elements of involving communication and a focus on direct relevance, we reached new types of audience. By focusing on direct relevance and by involving several stakeholders representing authorities (municipality level), business (business council and business support), art (museums and artists) and tourism (tourism organisation and operators), we have created a better understanding of how to use our research among locals.


Stevns Klint, Denmark – UNESCO World Heritage Site and how to conduct geological research at the site in the future.

Jesper Milàn1 and Tove Damholt2
1Geomuseum Faxe/Østsjællands Museum, Denmark, 2Verdensarv Stevns, Store Heddinge, Denmark
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stevns Klint, in the eastern Denmark represents the best exposed Cretaceous−Tertiary boundary section in the world. The boundary clay layer is easily recognizable beneath a pronounced topographic overhang, which separates the soft Cretaceous chalk from the overlying, harder Paleogene limestone. This makes the boundary layer visible even to the inexperienced eye. Furthermore the exceptional complete marine fossil record present at Stevns Klint makes the site among the best localities worldwide for studying marine biotic turnover across the K-Pg boundary, and the discovery of the iridium anomaly in the boundary clay layer in 1978 made the site a key locality in the scientific debate about an impact vs. volcanism related cause for the End Cretaceous extinction. The management of Stevns Klint as UNESCO World Heritage Site is developed in order to secure protection of the site in a manner that encompasses the opportunity for sampling for scientific purposes and encourages continued research activity. According to the agreed guidelines sampling in the cliff face for scientific purposes may be permitted by the local geological museum, Østsjællands Museum. Who will help, ensure that the sampling are constructed in a manner that both ensures the scientific purpose of the sampling, and minimizes the impact on the protected cliff site.

Østsjællands Museum invites all interested researchers to contact the museum to obtain permits for sampling, and also to participate in the effort to communicate the scientific importance of the site to the general public.


GEARS: Geological heritage in inner Scandinavia

Terje Motrøen1, Rolv Dahl2 and Gunnel Ransed3
1Høgskolen i Innlandet, 2Norges Geologisk Undersøkelse – NGU, 3Sveiges Geologiske Undersøkelse – SGU
The goal of the project is to record, manage and create values based on the region’s common geological heritage. Achieved results will be a common framework for geological surveying, registration and descriptions of geo resources in selected areas in Indere Scandinavia. Other results are the testing of new methods for information on geological heritage through the use of new dissemination technology (VR / AR technology), obtaining material about the geology of the region aimed at the public and residents and organizing an international seminar on geological heritage.


Expected effects are increased local and regional awareness of the importance of geological heritage as a resource for tourism and business development. Increased cooperation between tourism and nature management, increased awareness and pride of local landscapes, as well as shared cultural and historical identity. Better environmental management, better and new products for the tourism industry, better tourist experiences, development of new tourist sites and better education in the region.

In the interreg project GEARS (2017-2019) ,are SGU project owners and NGU have project management. In addition, several other regional institutions and companies from Norway and Sweden participate in the project.

Interreg project Sweden and Norway (2017-2019): SGU is project owner, NGU is project manager In addition, several other regional institutions and companies from Norway and Sweden participate in the project.


Terje Motrøen, Høgskolen i Innlandet


Detailed mapping of the polydeformed Gressholmen and Rambergøya islands, Oslo Rift – a capstone course project at Oslo University

Monika Oftedal Voll1, Amund Rian Bråten1, Sigmund Slang1 and Morten Aanvik1
1University of Oslo

The small islands of Gressholmen and Rambergøya, situated in the Inner Oslo Fjord within the Oslo Rift, were mapped in 1:5000 scale as part of the bachelor capstone course at Oslo University. The islands comprise mid-Ordovician to earliest Silurian sediments, recording the local expression of the global upper Ordovician regression and early Silurian transgression. The rocks are dominated by shales, nodular shales and limestone, locally fossil rich. In the Silurian, the sequence formed part of the Caledonian fold and thrust belt. Repetition of layers and calcite filled thrusts (locally with slickensides) are common, indicating top-to-southeast displacement. The islands themselves form a large scale overturned southeast verging anticline with numerous parasitic folds of different orders. The compressional structures are overprinted by north-south trending sub-vertical extensional faults, commonly with sub-vertical slickenlines. Dikes of different compositions, mainly striking north, are present on the islands. Both the faults and the dykes are parallel to the nearby eastern Oslo rift margin, and are consistent with east-west Permian extension associated with its formation. The limited extent of the study area and the complex tectonic evolution of the islands make them highly suited for undergraduate mapping projects. In particular, successful mapping of the island requires integration of the various sub-disciplines that make up the bachelor program, including sedimentology, paleontology, mineralogy-petrology and structural geology, within a tectonic framework. The mapping project provides a natural laboratory for revising, testing and developing field skills in an authentic context that prepares students for independent geological work in their later careers.


We would like to thank Lars Eivind Augland (Postdoctoral, The Centre for Earth Evolution and Dynamics, University of Oslo) and Anders Mattias Lundmark (Associate Professor, The Department of Geology, University of Oslo) for thorough guidance and continous support.


Field-based education in the high Arctic – how digital tools can support active learning in Geology

Kim Senger1, Wesley R. Farnsworth1, Hanne H. Christiansen1, Graham Gilbert1, Holt Hancock1, Andy Hodson1, Lena Håkansson1, Maria Jensen1, Malte Jochmann1, Mark Mulrooney1, Riko Noormets1, Snorre Olaussen1, Alexander Prokop1, Aleksandra Smyrak-Sikora1 and UNIS geology adjunct staff1
1University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Dept. of Arctic Geology, N-9171 Longyearbyen, Norway
The University Centre in Svalbard, UNIS, is Norway’s national high Arctic research and education hub located in Longyearbyen, Svalbard at 78°N. In Arctic Geology UNIS offers BSc, MSc and Phd- level courses and semester packages (30 ECTS) in geology and physical geography. All courses at UNIS include a significant field-based component, and the natural environment provides the “lab” facilities for the courses. Even in this location Arctic field work can be logistically demanding. Similar to any program in geology, it is beneficial to increase the students’ exposure to hands-on and realistic exercises, in order to prepare them for field work. Increased exposure also allows students to continue practicing field skills after returning to the classroom.

We are active pioneers of emerging technologies such as virtual outcrops and virtual reality as relevant tools to be used in the classroom. Use of tablets in the field provides access to data, models and previous work (including classroom-based preparation exercises) during the field work, and allows for a more coherent learning experience between field- and classroom time. The aim of the digitally supported learning environment is to increase student learning and increase the use of formative feedback. In addition it allows us to do hands-on, field relevant teaching year-round, including during the 4 month long dark season.

In this contribution we share our experiences of using these emerging technologies in a harsh Arctic environment in the framework of the recently revised BSc package offering at UNIS using active learning.