Undergraduate Course: Global Tectonics and the Rock Cycle (EASC08020)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Plate 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. The course also considers 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 rocks are used to reconstruct ancient tectonic and other environments.
Practicals and a weekend field trip will develop concepts from the lectures.
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 a compulsory field trip for two days in late March.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
|| Students MUST have passed:
Earth Dynamics (EASC08001)
||Other requirements|| To enter this course, 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-requisites||Visiting students will be expected to have introductory knowledge of geology including plate tectonics and the main rock types.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
||Practicals (non-assessed): Students will be able to get help and feedback on their practical work during scheduled practical sessions, or at other times upon request to the course organiser/lecturers.
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.
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:
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||3:00|
|Resit Exam Diet (August)||3:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Explain modern tectonic theory and plate tectonic processes.
- Interpret and explain major features of current and past tectonic activity, and the geological processes involved.
- Understand the mode of formation of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks in the context of global tectonics and the ability to identify and interpret them under a petrological microscope.
- Analyse sedimentary successions in the laboratory and the field and the criteria used to reconstruct ancient sedimentary environments.
- Understand 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.
|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, JS. and Domecco, R. 2008. Earth Surface Processes, Landforms and Sedimentary Deposits. Cambridge University Press.
5. R. Gill, Igneous Rocks and Processes: A Practical Handbook, 2010. Wiley-Blackwell.
6. Best, M.G., Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, 2nd Edition, 2002 (Blackwell Publishing)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Rock identification skills in both hand specimen and thin section; Field skills; Numerical skills.
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||Semester: Semester 2
Lectures: Mondays 2-3 pm & Thursdays 12-1pm
Practical class: Mondays 3-6pm or Tuesdays 10am-1pm
AND Thursdays 2-5pm or Fridays 2-5 pm
1. Oceanic plates, Transform faults, and plate flexure
2. Plate Motion: boundary motion vectors, direct and indirect plate motion determination, triple junction stability
3. Lithospheric properties: Heat flow and plate cooling models
4. The Subducted Slab: tomography, seismics, thermal structure, phase changes and buoyancy
5. Igneous rocks and the rock cycle; classification of Igneous rocks; silica saturation; subalkaline, transitional and alkaline magmas; Bowens reaction series; relationship between magma types and global tectonics
6. The Earths mantle, mantle melting and the genesis of basic magmas; relationship between composition and degree and depth of mantle melting under dry conditions; contrasted mineralogy of subalkaline and alkaline basic igneous rocks; formation of oceanic crust
7. Subduction zone processes; effect of water on mantle melting and subsequent evolution of magmas; formation of the continental crust; origin of granite.
8. Granites and granitic rocks; classification into I-, S- and A-type granites; recycling of crustal rocks into S-type granite; subsolvus and hypersolvus granites
9. Reading Metamorphic Rocks from Mineral Zones to the Facies Concept and Metamorphic Facies
10.The Impotance of Potoliths
11. Mapping Metamorphism
12. Facies Series, P-T paths and Tectonics
13. Global sediment production and preservation in a plate tectonic context
14. Fluid dynamics and transport of grains
15. Bedforms and sedimentary structures
16. Continental Settings
17. Deltaic Settings
18. Deep Water settings
19. Sediment petrology and provenance
20. Carbonate Systems
|Course organiser||Dr Jennifer Tait
|Course secretary||Mrs Nicola Clark
Tel: (0131 6)50 4842