To find worthwhile locations that offer great learning opportunities in geology, you have to spend time exploring outcrops, trying to make sense of the geological features that are exposed and then think of ways that students can explore and make sense of them out of their own activity. This inquiry learning process can work well via guided questions that encourage careful exploration and observation and then the unfolding of ideas and understanding. however it doesn’t usually just happen by magic – it takes some working out to frame interesting learning activities at a given unique location.

With a small group of teachers from CiXin School, we explored several locations along the coast north and south of Yilan. Heading South we went to a coastal fishing settlement called Feniaolin.

Here there were some amphibolites (metamorphic rocks) that are part of a long outcrop extending further south. These are amongst the oldest rocks in Taiwan and have been exhumed from many kilometres deep in the earth’s crust.

Just past the fishing wharf there is an area of sea stacks – classic coastal erosion features:

We continued further south to the Nanao Valley where there is a mixture of rocks on the river bed including many huge boulders.

Some of the boulders were granites (that were once molten magma deep in the earth). They had lumps of schist included in them – fragments of the crustal rocks (xenoliths) that must have been incorporated into the molten magma before it crystallised. – given them a very striking apprearence.

All in all there is plenty here to discover – rocks and minerals that have been metamorphosed by intense pressure and heat a long way down in the earth’s crust.

Here is a video I made about our trip:

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