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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Structural Analysis of Rocks and Regions (SARR) (EASC09052)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryStructural geology and rock deformation affect a large number of economic, environmental and societal interfaces with planet Earth, and the response of rocks to plate motions shapes our planet¿s appearance. This course will teach not only a fundamental knowledge of the parameters that govern the relationship between stress and strain but put the rock response into a perspective that seamlessly ties in with material taught in related courses.

This course reverses the theory-first/application-second approach of all common structural geology textbooks by introducing students to the structural geology of regions they are either familiar with, or have heard of.

The regions are chosen so that a) in sum, they represent all important deformation processes and styles, b) the students will/may visit them, c) excellent (teaching) material is available to allow for a true multi-scale and integrated assessment using a wide range of data and d) the lecturers know them well. In that way students will experience key quantities, concepts and descriptors of rock deformation through a large variety of structural and geospatial datasets acquired from deforming rocks and regions.

The course textbook will be Fossen (2016) Structural Geology, the site-specific data portfolios will furthermore contain a significant number of scientific papers on relevant topics.
Course description Week 1
Structural geology of glaciers; deformation of ice as a geological material, drivers for rock deformation, rheology, deformation mechanisms 1

Week 2
Carboneras fault (Spain); elasticity, Coulomb failure, frictional sliding, rate- and state-dependent friction; earthquake cycle, strike slip faults

Week 3
Cap de Creus shear belt (Spain); crustal rheology, brittle-viscous transition, base of seismogenic zone, deformation mechanisms 2; shear zones, kinematic indicators

Week 4
Basin & Range (USA); normal fault geometry, extensional deformation, rifting, fault scaling, displacement distance relationships, faults and folds, balancing cross sections, crustal thinning, orogenic collapse

Week 5
Chaînes subalpines/Jura mountains (Switzerland/France); contractional deformation, reverse fault geometry, thin skin tectonics, fold and thrust belts, folds 1

Week 6
Helvetic Nappe Stack (Switzerland); folds 2, strain concepts and descriptors, kinematic vorticity, strain analysis

Week 7
Nankai trough (Japan); megathrusts, subduction earthquakes, geometry of the accretionary wedge, pseudotachylites, 3D seismics

Week 8
Himalayas (India/Tibet); continental collision, channel flow, kinematic vorticity, tectonic/climate interaction

Week 9
Salt / serpentine tectonics

Week 10
Assessed oral presentations
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Global Tectonics and the Rock Cycle (EASC08020)
It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Introduction to the Geological Record (EASC08017) OR Physics of the Earth (EASC08016)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 17, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 144 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 50 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course will be assessed through an oral presentation and discussion (10 + 5 minutes) on a topic related to the course; a list of topics will be made available at the beginning of the semester. We anticipate the students to work about 75 hours on this. This will contribute 50% to the final mark.

50% will be contributed through an exam.

Assessment Deadlines
Assessed oral presentations will take place in week 10
Feedback Feedback will be provided in weekly tutorials. Both, F. Fusseis and M. Attal are furthermore available for individual meetings during their office hours.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop an in-depth understanding of the link between plate motions and rock response along plate boundaries both in terms of mineralogy, rock fabrics and fluid transport properties
  2. Develop skills in synthesising the geology of an area through the integrated use of maps, cross-sections, diagrams and accompanying reports
  3. Learn to link plate tectonic processes with the associated development of topography
  4. Develop skills in visualising map and related field data in three dimensions using appropriate graphical techniques
  5. Develop an appreciation of the degree of uncertainty of the data collection methods and the relationship between surface and subsurface data.
Reading List
A comprehensive selection of papers that relate regions with deformation processes and present the datasets discussed in the lectures will be available on learn. The following textbook is recommended:

Fossen, H., 2016. Structural Geology. Cambridge University Press, 2nd Edition, ISBN 9781107057647.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsStructural Geology. Landscape Analysis,GIS,rock mechanics
Course organiserDr Florian Fusseis
Tel: (0131 6)50 6755
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Thomas
Tel: (0131 6)50 8510
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