Having a Gneiss* Time at MUSA

Written by Rosie Carroll, a final year student in Geology and Geology  Intern at MUSA.

Fossilised trail of the giant Hibbertopterus scorpion, who lived 300 million years ago. You can see a cast of the trail in MUSA!










This summer I have been lucky enough to become one of 2 Geology MUSA Interns. Every summer many university departments offer industry level internships in a variety of areas such as Marketing, Energy Awareness and Museums. The internships last from 4 to 11 weeks and ours for 6 weeks. In this role I get to expand some skills I already have such as working with children and identifying rocks, as well as gaining valuable cataloguing and museum experience.


rock and spindle
The Rock and Spindle

Day to day our week is very varied as we are often doing different things every day of the week! I love working with children so have enjoyed having a day a week to plan for MUSA’s ‘Geology Week’ 2016. We are planning four different workshops focusing on a variety of topics such as fossils, earthquakes and local geology! So far we have had our first event in the Bell Pettigrew Museum called Fantastic Fossils. We had 20 young people take part. They really enjoyed making their own fossils and a fossil treasure hunt amongst all the animals and fossils. Our most popular section was handling fossils and the young people got to hold coral, a tooth from Mosasaur (an extinct giant crocodile like creature) and fossilised dinosaur poo!! I really enjoyed introducing young people to geology and getting them excited about the past! This has really got me excited about our up and coming events such as Junior Geologists on Wednesday 20 of July– where we will get to handle rocks; make rocks out of crayons; use a seismograph and learn about earthquakes. We also have a Rock Detectives walk on Thursday 21 of July to learn about local geology through a guided walk to the Rock and Spindle. This is an extinct volcano which exploded millions of years ago. I am really excited about taking the young people here as this as it is an iconic and very exciting site. Also it really gives young people an idea about being a real geologist and helps them learn about the area they live in. They might end up knowing more than their parents! A challenge about teaching (and studying!) this subject is explaining just how old something is. As 200 million years or 2.6 billion years is just so long it is difficult for even a geologist to grasp. St Andrews University has brilliant resources for geology – having 1000’s of outstanding specimens as well as being home to some fantastic natural sites. I really enjoy helping young people become excited and enthused about geology – a subject often not taught at schools and in the past often mostly studied by men.


MUSA has been a great space for us to have our activities as it is so welcoming to all ages especially young families. I really enjoyed helping out at other youth activities and working Front of House at the museum. I had never worked in a museum before but I chat away so it’s lovely to act as a friendly face to the university as visitors often enjoy getting an insight into student life. I like to meet people from all different countries and walks of life!

I am really glad I have been given the opportunity to work at MUSA as a Geology Intern as it has gave me the opportunity to try new things such as cataloguing minerals, meeting new people and working front of house.


*Note for non-geologists: Gneiss is a banded metamorphic rock, pronounced ‘nice’- so this is a very funny geology pun!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s