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Trou aux Cerfs

Trou aux Cerfs is a c. 600 m high volcanic crater located in Curepipe. The crater has not been active for the last 100.000 years, and can thus provide us with an extensive record of palaeocyclonic and palaeoclimatic data. Andrea Balbo and Krish Seetah undertook a survey of Trou aux Cerfs on the 16th of December 2009. Due to the limited time available, only one day could be devoted to this site; however, this provided much useful information both in terms of actual results and within the context of planning for subsequent seasons. The area immediately around the crater edge has been substantially developed, with a road ringing the entire perimeter. An initial circuit of this was made to note vegetation and other environmental conditions. The only route to access the base of the volcano, which contains a naturally occurring lake, was via a narrow track spiralling down the side of the crater. On reaching the crater bottom, an initial reconnaissance of the visible crater slope was made with a minimum of six terrace levels evident from the perimeter to the basin. A 250 cm long bamboo stake was fashioned from readily available material. The entire length of this stake was hammered into the lake sediments from the top of the lowest terrace providing an estimate of the minimum sediment accumulation on the volcano lake margin. When trying to hammer in a PVC pipe we were stopped by angular basalt blocks (10s of cm) and could only recover the top 30 cm of the sequence. This was used to test proxy presence/preservation. No diatoms were found in the top 30 cm recovered.

Logistically, from our initial core experiments it became clear that mechanical coring equipment is needed to recover a suitable sequence. However, during our decent into the crater it became apparent that heavy equipment couldn’t easily be transported down the slope. Thus, future coring will depend on machinery being airlifted into the crater and deposited in the basin.