Curtin Malaysia geologists explore geological sites in Pahang

Dr Dodge-Wan collecting rock specimens in an excavation.

Miri – 22 June 2017 – With the aim of enhancing teaching and learning, two senior lecturers in applied geology of Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) recently travelled to Pahang to uncover interesting geological sites near the Bentong-Raub suture zone.

Associate Professor Dr. Dominique Dodge-Wan and Associate Professor Dr. Ramasamy Nagarajan went to select a suitable area rich in geological features for the teaching of the Geological Field Mapping unit at the university. This unit exposes students to a variety of rock types, structures and depositional and tectonic settings in the field.

The week-long academic field trip, sponsored by Curtin Malaysia’s Faculty of Engineering and Science, gave the lecturers the opportunity to visit and document over 30 different sites with sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks exposed in roadside outcrops, excavations, hill slopes, stream beds and quarries. On top of that, they also collected samples for their students to examine in the laboratories.

“Previously, our students studied rocks on the foothills of Mount Kinabalu and on the coast of Labuan. We now wish to venture further and introduce them to another fascinating area, the Bentong-Raub suture zone,” said Dr. Dodge-Wan.

She added that many geologists find the area worth exploring as it is the site of a collision between continents long ago in the Earth’s past and also hosts former gold mines.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nagarajan remarked that the variety of rock types such as sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks, from conglomerates to marbles and granites, will give the students a well-rounded geological education.

“At Curtin Malaysia, we have the facilities and expertise to slice the rock samples and make thin sections so that the students can view the minerals and structures using polarizing microscopes,” he said.

According to Dr. Dodge-Wan, Curtin Malaysia prides itself in its high quality teaching and learning activities and this is one example of how academic staff of the university are continuously improving student learning experience and enhancing the laboratory sample collection which includes rocks from around the world.

She said it is also in line with Curtin’s teaching philosophy to acquire knowledge and expertise from a range of sources and in a variety of realistic situations.

A field trip to West Malaysia this September with second-year applied geology students is in the planning. It will introduce concepts such as mineral ore formation and its relationship with magmatic intrusions, a phenomenon that frequently occurs in West Malaysia.

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Dr Nagarajan recording features of a rock face at a quarry near Raub.

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