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School of Environment, Education and Development

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BSc Geography and Geology
Benefit from a wide range of optional topics and practical trips on this combined degree.

BSc Geography and Geology / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Carbonate and Evaporite Depositional Systems

Unit code EART20222
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

A module building on fundamental sedimentology and palaeontology, giving students ample practical experience of looking at the diversity of carbonate, evaporite and other chemical sedimentary rocks, as well as understanding their formation, diagenesis and applied aspects. Students will discover these rocks as systems integrating aspects of biology, chemistry and physics, as archives of past climates, and of great economic importance.

Students will learn techniques of rock description and interpretation of processes and environments from their observations. The course covers methods such as facies analysis, logging, correlation tools and sea level analysis to encourage an integrated view of depositional systems. A particular emphasis is placed on applied aspects of carbonate / evaporite depositional systems to highlight possible employment directions

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Sediment transport processes and depositional environments EART20121 Pre-Requisite Compulsory

Aims

This module aims to give students a sound overview of the nature and origin of carbonate, evaporite and other chemical sedimentary rocks, depositional processes and environments of deposition as well as the evolution of depositional systems with time. This will prepare students for fieldwork and for basin analysis in year 3, and for more specialist studies. A particular emphasis is placed on applied aspects of carbonate-evaporite depositional systems.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students will:

1. be able to recognise the principal grain types and textures in carbonates both in hand specimen and thin section

2. be able to recognise the common evaporite minerals and textures

3. understand the factors and processes that control the deposition and distribution of carbonates, evaporites and other chemical sedimentary rocks

4. understand the different depositional environments of carbonates and evaporites, and how these successions evolve with time

5. have a basic understanding of carbonate geochemistry and diagenesis, and their impact on porosity and permeability of carbonate rocks

6. have a basic understanding of the use of subsurface datasets (logs, seismic, core) in interpreting carbonate-evaporite successions in the subsurface

7. appreciate the economic importance of carbonates, evaporites and other chemical sedimentary rocks

 

 

Syllabus

Week 1:

Lecture: Introduction to carbonate systems: controls on deposition; similarities and differences with terrigenous clastic rocks.

Practical: Introduction to carbonate grain types.

 

Week 2:

Lecture: Carbonate factory, facies models, platform types. A modern rimmed shelf environment - the Great Bahama Bank.

Practical: Introduction to the study of carbonate rocks in hand sample and thin section - classification schemes.

 

Week 3:

Lecture: Peritidal environments.

Practical: Introduction to the study of carbonate rocks in hand sample and thin section.

 

Week 4:

Lecture: Shallow subtidal carbonates - open marine, lagoons and carbonate sand shoals.

Practical: Thickness maps and facies descriptions.

 

Week 5:

Lecture: Platform margin environments, modern and ancient reefs.

Practical: Reefal carbonate facies analysis.

 

Week 6:

Lecture: Slope and basin environments, carbonates through time, continental carbonates.

Practical: Facies maps.

 

Week 7:

Lecture: Dynamics of carbonate depositional systems: interplay of sea level change, tectonics and sedimentation.

Practical: Facies analysis of a foreland basin.

 

Week 8:

Lecture: Introduction to carbonate diagenesis: carbonate geochemistry, diagenetic environments and products.

Practical: Platform facies correlation, stacking patterns.

 

Week 9:

Lecture: Evaporites 1 - Conditions for evaporite precipitation, evaporite facies and geochemistry.

Practical: Evaporite facies.

 

Week 10:

Lecture: Evaporites 2 - facies and stratigraphy; other chemical sediments.

Practical: Subsurface reservoir correlation.

Knowledge and understanding

recognise the principal grain types and textures in carbonates both in hand specimen and thin section

•       recognise the common evaporite minerals and textures

•       understand the factors and processes that control the deposition and distribution of carbonates and evaporites

•       understand the different depositional environments of carbonates and evaporites, and how these successions evolve with time

•       have a basic understanding of carbonate geochemistry and diagenesis, and their impact on porosity and permeability of carbonate rocks

•       have a basic understanding of the use of outcrop and subsurface datasets (logs, seismic, core) in interpreting carbonate-evaporite successions

•       appreciate the economic importance of carbonates and evaporites

Intellectual skills

  • use different geological datasets to build integrated interpretations
  • appreciate past environmental changes on Earth and how this is preserved in the rock record

Practical skills

  • collection and interpretation of sedimentological data

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • develop an ability for precise observations
  • develop an integrated view of geological processes
  • work independently on small assignments

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 50%
Practical skills assessment 50%

Feedback methods

You will be able to receive informal feedback on your practical work during demonstrated practicals. Elements of coursework will be collected throughout the semester and returned with feedback to monitor progress.

Final feedback on coursework will be available via Blackboard. Marked exam scripts will be available for viewing at the beginning of year 3.

 

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

•                   Tucker, M.E. & Wright, V.P. (1990) Carbonate Sedimentology. Blackwell. (2nd edition 2009)

•                   Scholle, P.A., Bebout, D.G., & Moore, C.H. (1983). Carbonate Depositional Environments. AAPG Memoir 33.

•                   Scholle, P.A. & Ulmer-Scholle, D.S. (2003). A color guide to the petrography of carbonate rocks. AAPG Memoir 77.

•                                   Tucker, M.E. (2001). Sedimentary petrology: an introduction to the origin of sedimentary rocks. 3rd edition, Blackwell

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10
Practical classes & workshops 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stefan Schroeder Unit coordinator

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