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School of Environment, Education and Development

BSc Geography and Geology with a year abroad

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
British Stratigraphy / Geological Maps

Unit code EART10122
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This course unit has dual aims. The lectures seek to provide an overview of the geological evolution of England, Scotland and Wales that can serve as a background reference frame for 2nd and 3rd year geology course units. The practicals seek to develop a working understanding of methods used to present and interpret data on geological maps - familiarity with such methods is fundamental for all geologists but it is particularly important as a core prerequisite for 2nd year units in field mapping and structural geology

 

 

 

 

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Planet Earth: Its Climate, History and Processes EART10111 Pre-Requisite Compulsory

None

Aims

This course unit has dual aims:

(1) to provide an introduction to the geological evolution of England, Scotland and Wales;

(2) to develop a working understanding of a range of methods used to present and interpret data on geological maps

 

 

 

 

 

Learning outcomes

 

Category of outcome

Students will:

Knowledge and understanding

  • know the principal divisions of the geological timescale
  • have an outline familiarity with the geological evolution of Great Britain, that is, a knowledge of key events and where in Great Britain rocks providing evidence of those events occur

Intellectual skills

  • have an appreciation of how diverse geological information may be integrated to produce a regional geological history (outcome not directly assessed)
  • have an appreciation of the basic range of geological structures that need to be accommodated within attempts to understand the deformation behaviour of rocks (outcome not directly assessed but it is indirectly assessed through demonstrating competence in the practical skills below)

Practical skills

  • be able to use stratum contours to determine the orientation of a geological surface;
  • be able to describe the geometry of faults, folds, unconformities, and igneous intrusions systematically;
  • be able to construct vertical cross-sections using stratum contour and/or dip information in order to illustrate the geometry of the geological structures in other than map view;
  • be able to plot lines and planes using stereographic projection techniques, and have an appreciation of the potential of such projections for representing the 3D geometry of geological structures;
  • be able to utilize cross-cutting relationships to establish a sequence of geological events in an area

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • have experience in extracting key points from a large body of information, while developing an appreciation of the broad scope and depth of the Earth Sciences and hence of the need to find a path of interest through it – expertise at 1st year undergraduate level is just the start of a stimulating journey of discovery and not an intellectually significant end-point
  • develop competence in thinking geometrically in 3d and in representing that thinking in a form that is intelligible (follows specific conventions) to other scientists

 

 

Syllabus

Week 1:

Lecture: The geological timescale

Practical: Specifying the orientation of lines and planes 1: drawing stratum contours using borehole, outcrop, topographic, and dip information; using stratum contours to determine the orientation of surfaces and to construct vertical cross-sections

 

Week 2:

Lecture: Archaean to Middle Neoproterozoic

Practical: Specifying the orientation of lines and planes 2: using stratum contours together with topographic and outcrop information to infer the map position of geological contacts

 

Week 3:

Lecture: Late Neoproterozoic to Silurian evolution of the northern margin of the Iapetus Ocean

Practical: Constructing stratum contours on real maps and using them to draw an accurate vertical cross-section (Marlborough exercise)

 

Week 4:

Lecture: Late Neoproterozoic to Silurian evolution of the southern margin of the Iapetus Ocean

Practical: Graphical representation of the orientation of lines and planes: an introduction to stereographic projection techniques

 

Week 5:

Lecture: Devonian / Carboniferous with the Acadian orogeny

Practical: Describing faults on geological maps: determining the orientation of the fault surface; inferring slip sense from apparent offsets; quantifying the slip from an accurately drawn cross-section

 

Week 6:

Lecture: In-course assessment

Practical: Describing folds on geological maps: using stratum contours to determine fold shape

 

Week 7:

Lecture: Permian / Triassic and the Variscan orogeny

Practical: Drawing cross-sections through folded sequences: locating fold axial traces from the asymmetry of minor structures; constructing cross sections through folded rocks using dip information (Pembroke exercise)

 

Week 8:

Lecture: Jurassic / Cretaceous

Practical: Using stereographic projection techniques to describe the geometry of folds

 

 

Week 9:

Lecture: Palaeogene / Neogene and Alpine orogenic effects

Practical: Describing the geometry of unconformities on geological maps; describing the geometry of igneous bodies on geological maps; compiling sequences of geological events from cross-cutting relationships

 

Week 10:

No class

 

Week 11:

No class (Easter field courses)

 

Week 12:

Lecture: Quaternary

Practical: Revision exercise

Teaching and learning methods

The lectures are posted as PowerPoint presentations on Blackboard. These are augmented with extra notes (comments/further reading) in the notes pane to each slide, and also with some supplementary documents. The students are expected to learn the lecture material primarily by reading this material on Blackboard and to use the lectures themselves as a once through that outlines the content of the material in the PowerPoint presentations

 

The practical material is delivered through a number of carefully selected exercises mostly after a short practical demonstration to show how the exercise should be attempted. Staff and several postgraduate demonstrators (with different levels of expertise) are on hand in the classes to guide students through the exercises as they solve them. It is expected that the students will help each other. During the practicals interim solutions are posted on the board in timely fashion. At the end of the class, all exercises and solutions are posted on Blackboard together with some further practice exercises.

 

Knowledge and understanding

 

Knowledge and understanding

  • know the principal divisions of the geological timescale
  • have an outline familiarity with the geological evolution of Great Britain, that is, a knowledge of key events and where in Great Britain rocks providing evidence of those events occur

 

 

Intellectual skills

 

Intellectual skills

  • have an appreciation of how diverse geological information may be integrated to produce a regional geological history (outcome not directly assessed)
  • have an appreciation of the basic range of geological structures that need to be accommodated within attempts to understand the deformation behaviour of rocks (outcome not directly assessed but it is indirectly assessed through demonstrating competence in the practical skills below)

 

Practical skills

 

Practical skills

  • be able to use stratum contours to determine the orientation of a geological surface;
  • be able to describe the geometry of faults, folds, unconformities, and igneous intrusions systematically;
  • be able to construct vertical cross-sections using stratum contour and/or dip information in order to illustrate the geometry of the geological structures in other than map view;
  • be able to plot lines and planes using stereographic projection techniques, and have an appreciation of the potential of such projections for representing the 3D geometry of geological structures;
  • be able to utilize cross-cutting relationships to establish a sequence of geological events in an area

 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • have experience in extracting key points from a large body of information, while developing an appreciation of the broad scope and depth of the Earth Sciences and hence of the need to find a path of interest through it – expertise at 1st year undergraduate level is just the start of a stimulating journey of discovery and not an intellectually significant end-point
  • develop competence in thinking geometrically in 3d and in representing that thinking in a form that is intelligible (follows specific conventions) to other scientists

 

 

Assessment methods

 

Assessment task

Length

How and when feedback is provided

Weighting within unit (if relevant)

 

The assessments are summative; feedback on performance is given by the one-on-one discussions held throughout the practicals

 

(1) Take-home assessment on the content of the first six practical classes (a suite of map exercises like those attempted in the practical classes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2) Written test in final practical class on the first six British Stratigraphy lectures only (one word answers, labelling, locating features on maps – pure factual recall)

 

 

 

 

 

(3) Examination in May on British Stratigraphy (one word answers, labelling, locating features on maps – pure factual recall)

 

 

(4) Practical examination in May on Geological Map (analysis of a map using the techniques delivered in the practical classes); students permitted to bring one page of A4 of notes into exam – the exam assesses practical skills not memory

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 min

 

 

 

 

 

 1.5 hours

 

 

 

 

2.5 hours

This assessment allows students to self-assess their progress. Feedback is not given beyond a break-down of marks in the final two weeks of the unit, although students may talk through their paper one-on-one with the lecturer by arrangement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This assessment is primarily to give students experience of the format of the 3rd assessment, and is essentially to allow them to self-assess their lecture material learning strategy. Feedback is not explicitly given but students may talk through their paper one-to-one with the lecturer by arrangement

 

 

 

 

Script may be viewed after the exam period by arrangement

 

 

 

 

Script may be viewed after the exam period by arrangement

 

 

 

 

 

25% (0% if the mark in the 4th  assessment is greater than in this one)

 

 

 

 

 

5% (0% if the mark in the 3rd assessment is greater than in this one)

 

 

 

 

 

 

20% (25% if the mark is better than for the 2nd assessment)

 

 

50% (75% if the mark is better than for the 1st assessment)

 

Feedback methods

Feedback:The in-course assessments are not designed as a mechanism for providing feedback but rather as a means for student self-assessment of progress. Marks for the in-course assessment of the lecture material (which will take the same form as the final lecture assessment) will be posted shortly after it has been completed so that students can see how good their factual recall of the subject matter is. Feedback for the practical element will come from one-to-one interactions between teaching staff and students throughout each 3 hr class as students are guided through the various exercises and offered comments on their technique. In addition, if students wish to test themselves further by doing the extra exercises posted on Blackboard at home, then the teaching staff will comment on the results of this work on request in the following class

Recommended reading

Lectures

  • Woodcock N, Strachan R, 2012, Geological History of Britain and Ireland (2nd edition). Wiley-Blackwell
  • Ogg JG, Ogg GM, Gradstein FM, 2016, A Concise Geologic Time Scale 2016. Elsevier
  • Lowe J, Walker M, 2015, Reconstructing Quaternary Environments (3rd edition). Routledge

Practicals

  • Bennison GM, Olver PA, Moseley KA, 2011, An Introduction to Geological Structures and Maps (8th edition). Hodder Education
  • Lisle RJ, Leyshon PR, 2004, Stereographic Projection Techniques for Geologists and Civil Engineers (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10
Practical classes & workshops 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 60

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stephen Covey-Crump Unit coordinator

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