2015 Spring Field Course in Cyprus

Posted on 08.24.2015

The 2015 Spring Field Course returned to Cyprus and the Troodos Ophiolite for Spring Break 2015. Twenty-seven students were selected to participate in the course that spent 10 days on the island of Cyprus. Shell Oil Co. generously helped support the course and travel to Cyprus. 

The main attraction was the Troodos Ophiolite, the classic exposure of rocks that make up oceanic crust. Students worked from the top down, first looking at pelagic chalks and marls that overlie the extrusive section. Then they worked down into a thick sheeted dike section and into gabbros and intrusive rocks of the lower crust. Finally they saw the (paleo) mantle and an exposure of the Moho represented by the transition from layered gabbroic rocks to tectonized harzburgite (olivine and orthopyroxene). Students also looked at a thrust complex in the sediments, recent faulting and uplifted terrances that provide3 evidence for continued uplift of the island.

Students stayed in a small mountain village in the center of the ophiolite named Kakopetria (Bad Rock). This allowed for a field mapping project as well as near access to all parts of the crustal section. Helenic Mining Co. also gave them a tour of the world famous Skouriotissa copper mine which has been mined for thousands of years, and recently has had fossils of organisms found at deep-sea hydrothermal vents discovered within its boundaries.

Students examining mantle rocks (mainly harzburgite) on top of Mt. Olympus, Troodos Ophiolite.
Students examining mantle rocks (mainly harzburgite) on top of Mt. Olympus, Troodos Ophiolite.


At the Skouriotissa Copper Mine with group from Cardiff University. Umber deposit evident in the far mine wall.
At the Skouriotissa Copper Mine with group from Cardiff University. Umber deposit evident in the far mine wall.


Overlooking the classic Akaki Canyon exposure of pillow lavas intruded by dikes.
Overlooking the classic Akaki Canyon exposure of pillow lavas intruded by dikes.


Listric fault contact between sheeted dikes and gabbro.
Listric fault contact between sheeted dikes and gabbro.