Mojave Desert Expedition 2013

Please donate to help us undertake important geological research!!

  • £195

    pledged of £200

    • 4


    • 0


Completion Date: Thu 16 May 2013

Firstly, thank you so much for viewing our page and taking the time to find out more about the expedition.


A Small Introduction to Me & My Project

My name is Corinne, and I am currently studying for my undergraduate degree in Geology & Petroleum Geology at the University of Aberdeen. I am also the team leader of the expedition.

The proposed project that will take place over Summer 2013 is not part of my degree, but something that myself and Deputy Leader, Caitrin Farrell, decided to do after becoming members of the Expedition Society at our university. The other two members of our team are Zoe Dickinson and Lucas Jacobs as research assistants. It is an incredibly worthwhile piece of fieldwork that will show my committment and interest in Geology as well as provide us with great experience, and hopefully result in some beneficial findings.

Our research will benefit communities living adjacent to cinder cones and the path of their potential lava flow, and therefore this will be beneficial because it will make it easier for people to realise if they are living in a potential danger zone. This piece of research is especially important for developing countries where there are many cinder cones, but there is a lack of research in regards to them, as they cannot afford the research needed, and the cinder cones are located in dense areas where research would be hard to carry out. By studying cinder cones in an well exposed environment we are more likely to get accurate results.

Enjoying looking at rock structure

Me looking at rock structures on the Isle of Skye

The Sciency Bit

A University of Aberdeen Expedition to the Mojave Desert, California, USA. To survey and log the relationship between volcanic cinder cones, its consequential lava flow and xenolith lithology.

Cinder cones are volcanic features created from layers of volcanic scoria. Scoria forms when gas-charged lava blobs are ejected into the air during an eruption. When in mid air, they cool and form as a dark volcanic rock within which are trapped, bubbles of gas. A cinder cone itself is a small structure usually found as a secondary cone on the main volcano and is unstable and friable. Lava can be produced from the cinder cone but as the cone is so unstable the lava can’t erupt through the cone so instead flows under it. This means that instead of travelling up and then over the flanks of the volcano, it can reach extensive areas faster. This means that although the cinder cone may not be located next to or near the main larger volcano, it can still have a very damaging effect on the surroundings. Cinder cones are generally less than 1000 feet high and are well preserved along with any lava they have produced.

The Mojave region in general is associated with numerous periods of active volcanism. The Cima Dome lava field region we will visit includes around 40 cinder cones with 30 having associated lava flows from the Pleistocene age in the south and the rest from the Quaternary age. The Pisgah crater is dated back to the Holocene and also has an associated lava flow. Both of these regions are accessible with the majority of the cones still in tact, and this makes them optimum study sites for our research project.



As part of our degree, Caitrin and I have had a lot of experience working in the field through field trips organised through our course. We have visited the Isle of Arran, the Highlands & the Isle of Skye and later this year we will be exploring other areas of Scotland when we embark on our 6 week mapping project which is what Geology students do instead of a dissertation. This is by far our biggest adventure and geological project yet, so I really hope we get enough funding for it to go ahead.  


Myself and Zoe on Mount Vesuvius, Italy



The project is obviously going to cost a lot of money in order for it to go ahead. We are already recieving a small amount of funding from our University, and we have applied to various geological funding bodies who may also choose to give us a small grant. As we need such a large amount of money we are hoping to raise some money on this site to simply put towards are initial costs.

Money will go towards equiptment we will need to use in the field, as well as the cost of permits to conduct the research, and health and safety measures. We are also going to be putting together a large personal contribution to go towards our flights and accommodation.

Our budget is £9000 (rounded up) and obviously we could not use Sponsorcraft to raise all of this, so we are hoping to raise at least £200 on our page, with the help of you lovely lot. :) *fingers crossed* Anymore would obviously be a great bonus, and much needed.



The expedition is fully supported by our university (who we have a total of four references from qualified Geology professionals), and two California universities, where we have references from two professors of Geology. 

We are also supported by Gardena Nissan who are loaning us a car for the duration of our expedition.



Please feel free to share this page with anyone, family and friends, co-workers. Anyone at all that may be interested in the project or would like to donate to us.



If you would like anymore information on any of the above, whether it is to do with the science of the project, or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact me using the button at the bottom of the page.

Expedition website



And finally, thank you ever so much for reading this and especially to anyone who decides to contribute!

Lucas at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA