Barcelona Field Studies Centre

Tectonic Activity and Hazards Field Studies in the Garrotxa Volcanic Park

The volcanic region of La Garrotxa, with some forty volcanic cones and twenty lava flows, is one of the best conserved volcanic landscape in the Iberian Peninsula. It is also the youngest volcanic area with the last eruption (Croscat volcano) occurring about 11,000 years ago.  The region is still seismically active, although earthquake activity is currently minor. Large earthquakes with a return period of 500 years have been estimated by SISMICAT to result in between 0 and 10 dead in 95% of the Garrotxa towns and villages, and between 1000 and 2000 dead in Barcelona.

The field study course outlined below focuses on the nature and impact of the tectonic activity upon the Garrotxa landscape and the ways in which it has significantly affected the lives of the people who live there. Students use field observations to help understand and reconstruct the eruptive processes and visit a number of contrasting sites to investigate the benefits and costs of living in a volcanic environment.

Day Location Time Objectives Activities Main content
Day 1 Introduction
1 Airport arrival and transfer to Santa Maria del Roure
1 Castellfollit de la Roca 2-3 hr ● To observe and interpret the way in which volcanoes have transformed the landscape.

● To reconstruct the lava flow emissions through the information provided by basalt outcrops.

● To examine the benefits and costs of living in a volcanic environment.
● Annotated sketches of basalt outcrops.

● Visit town. Annotate map to show use of volcanic materials in its construction.

● Local quarry visit.
● Interpretation of the geological history
from the basalt outcrops.

● Use of volcanic materials. The quarry uses basalt in various industrial, domestic and decorative forms.
1 Classroom 2 hr ● Introduction to Plate Tectonics in the Garrotxa Volcanic Park.

● Synthesis of information obtained during the fieldwork.
● Images to show the Castellfollit de la Roca lava flow sequences.
Day 2 Interpretation
2 Montsacopa Volcano 2 hrs ● To understand the most common type of volcanic activity the area.

● To formulate hypotheses about the Montsacopa eruptive activity.

● To reconstruct the Montsacopa eruptive processes.

● To examine how volcanoes are capable of transforming the landscape.

● To examine the benefits and costs of living in a volcanic environment.
Interpretation of the landscape. Type of eruptive activity: explosive and effusive.
Study of volcanic activity. ● Interpretation of the volcanic deposits.

● Interpretation of the Garrotxa landscape.

● Volcanoes as transformers of the landscape.
2 St. Joan les Fonts and El Boscarró 2 hr

● To reconstruct the lava flow emissions through the information provided by basalt outcrops.

● To examine the benefits and costs of living in a volcanic environment.

● Interpretation of the geological history.
from the basalt outcrops .

● Boscarró quarry visit.

● Geological processes and landforms resulting from lava flow emissions.
2 Volcano Museum , Olot 1 hr ● To understand the Garrotxa volcanic processes and identify elements of the landscape.

● Video: Garrotxa earthquakes and volcanoes.

● Geology: seismology and volcanism.

● The impact of tectonics upon the environment.

● Consolidation of the fieldwork content.

2 Classroom 2 hr

● Synthesis of information obtained during the fieldwork.

● Evaluation of student reports.

● Images to show the eruptive sequences of
Montsacopa and St. Joan les Fonts.
Day 3 Investigation
3 Classroom ½ hr Description of a volcanic outcrop.
3 La Pomareda and Croscat volcanoes 4 hrs

● To understand the geological history of the Garrotxa Volcanic Park.

● To reconstruct the eruptive activity of the Pomareda and Croscat volcanoes through information provided by the type and sequence of pyroclastic deposits and lava flows.

● To examine the benefits and costs of living in a volcanic environment.

Interpretation of volcanic outcrops.

● Interpretation of geological maps.

● Annotated sketches of the volcanic outcrops.

● Classification of volcanic rocks.

● Reconstruction of the eruptive activity and the type of volcanism.

3 Fageda d’en Jordà 2 hr ● To reconstruct the eruptive activity of the Croscat volcano through information provided by the lava flow emissions.

● To examine the benefits and costs of living in a volcanic environment.
Interpretation of blisters (tossols). ● Reconstruction of the Croscat eruptive activity and the type of volcanism.
3 Classroom 2 hr ● Evaluation of student reports. ● Images to show the eruptive sequences of
Pomareda and Croscat.
Day 4 Costs and Benefits
4 Pedra Tosca Park 2 hr ● To examine the benefits and costs of living in a volcanic environment. Interpretation of a volcanic landscape modified by humans. ● EIA
4 Depart for airport