Helen Kinvig

Helen Kinvig graduated in July 2007 and spent that summer working in Peru for Anglo-American, a major mining company. She joined their Student Technical Experience Program and was in Peru for two months working as an exploration geologist at various locations across the country. “It was pretty cool” she says, “I learned about their mining activities, got some hands-on experience, and managed to survive in a Spanish-speaking country without any prior knowledge of the language.”

In her free time, Helen travelled to historically important Inca sites, including Macchu Picchu, Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. She experienced local festivals, spent some time in the Amazon rainforest and watched giant condors flying high above Colca Canyon, the deepest canyon on the surface of the Earth. While she was in South America, seeing impressive volcanoes first-hand, there was a huge earthquake. “I felt the tremors, despite being many miles south of the epicentre and witnessed the aftermath and the aid effort. It was a surreal experience.” When Helen returned from Peru she started her PhD in volcanology at Bristol University.

I’ve been helping one of my supervisors with fieldwork in Tenerife recently but I’ll be going out to my own field area in June 2008. Helen’s NERC-funded project will study pyroclastic deposits at Nisyros, an island just off the Turkish coast, near Kos, and she will use her findings to reconstruct the processes and sequence of events that led to the collapse of the island's caldera.