University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Global Tectonics and the Rock Cycle (EASC08020)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryPlate tectonic processes play an important role in the distribution of rock types on the surface of the Earth. This course analyses the physical processes responsible for the formation and destruction of tectonic plates. It considers the principle tectonic components of the Earth such as mid-ocean ridges, subduction zones and mountain ranges, and develops an understanding of the specific rock types formed in these environments. In the second half of the course, the mechanisms by which sediment is generated as a result of the tectonic processes is analysed, as well as processes on in-situ sediment production. Sediment formation and transport processes are studied as well as the sediment and rock types that are generated. We then demonstrate how sedimentary roocks are used to reconstruct ancient tectonic and other environments. Practicals and a weekend field trip will develop concepts from the lectures.
Course description Lectures in the first section of the course will cover details of tectonic processes and focus on the different types of rocks formed in different tectonic settings, backed up by practicals which will address plate motion, understanding how plates interact at their margins and resolving relative motion, as well as hand sample and microscope to identify and study the different rocks formed in different tectonic settings. There will also be lectures and practicals covering metamorphic processes and metamorphism related to tectonic processes. The final section of the course includes lectures and practicals which cover sedimentology and surface, biological and chemical process related to the tansportation and deposition and the generation of sliciclastic and carbonate rocks.
There will be a total of 20 lectures and 20 practicals which includes two assessed practicals and compulsory field trip to East Lothian and the Borders on 1st and 2nd April 2017.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Earth Dynamics (EASC08001)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements To enter this course in 2014, you will have to have a pass in Earth
Dynamics or an approved exemption based on equivalent previous studies.
such as a good grade in Geology A-level.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students will be expected to have introductory knowledge of geology including plate tectonics and the main rock types.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2016/17, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  90
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 152 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 60%, Course Work: 40 %,
Course work will include two assessed practicals (20% of overall mark), and a field trip to the East Lothian coastline (20% of overall mark).
The final written exam will cover all aspects of the course and account for 60% of the overall mark.
In order to pass this course, students must attain at least 40% in their overall marks.

Feedback Practicals (non-assessed): Students will be able to get help and feedback on their practical during scheduled practical sessions, or at other times upon request to the course organisers.
Course work: Students will receive written feedback on work (both assessed and non-assessed) which is handed in during the course.
Individual Meetings: Students can arrange individual meetings with the CO/lecturer at any time for advice, support, feedback etc.
Online (Adaptive Learning): the course will have online materials developed to help students with the course material, to consolidate learning and identify areas in which further help is required.
End of semester exams: Students will be able to view their corrected manuscripts upon request, and discuss their results with the course teaching team.
Examples of feedback can be found here:
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)3:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. An understanding of modern tectonic theory and plate tectonic processes
  2. Knowledge required to explain major features of current and past tectonic activity, and the rocks associated with specific plate tectonic settings
  3. The ability to understand geological phenomena in a plate tectonic context, the distribution and origins of different rock types, and the processes that define them
  4. An ability to critically appraise the assciation between tectonic processes and a range of rock types; A knowledge of the techniques required to analyse sedimentary successions in the laboratory and the field and the criteria used to reconstruct ancient sedimentary environments.
  5. An understanding of the surface, biological and chemical processes involved in the generation and transport of siliciclastic sediments (eg. Sands) and carbonates (eg. limestones and dolomites) over the globe, and their plate tectonic association.
Reading List
1. Kearey, P., Klepeis, K.A. and Vine, F.J. 2009. Global Tectonics. Wiley-Blackwell 3rd edition
2. Rogers, N., Blake, S., Burton, K., Widdowson, M., Parkinson, I. and Harris, N. 2008. An Introduction to Our Dynamic Planet. Cambridge University Press.
3. Leeder, M., 1999, Sedimentology and Sedimentary Basins: from turbulence to tectonics. John Wiley and Sons.
4. Bridge, J., and Demicco, 2008, Earth Surface Processes, Landforms and Sediment Deposits: Cambridge University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Rock identification skills in both hand specimen and thin section; Field skills; Numerical skills.
Additional Class Delivery Information Lectures: Mon 2-3 and Thurs 12-1
Practicals: EITHER Mon 2-3 OR Tues 11-12 AND EITHER Thurs 2-5 OR Fri 2-5.

A compulsory two-day field trip will run on 1st and 2nd April 2017 to East Lothian and the Borders. The trip will leave and return to Edinburgh on each of the days.
Course organiserDr Jennifer Tait
Course secretaryMrs Nicola Muir
Tel: (0131 6)50 4842
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2016 The University of Edinburgh - 3 February 2017 3:47 am