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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Evolution of the Modern Earth and Cyprus Excursion for Geology and Physical Geography (EASC10120)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course consists of two parts. Semester 1 consists of series of thematic, processes-oriented lectures related to the evolution of the earth, mostle during Mesozoic to recent time. The course will integrate information from a wide range of subjects including sedimentology, palaeoceanography, tectonics and magmatism. A 1 day field trip at the beginning of the course to Ballantrae, Ayrshire will introduce students to a range of ophiolitic rocks, melange and fore-arc basin sediments and structures, and also aid cohort building between students from different degree streams to aid later peer-learning and interaction.

***There will be an excursion to Ballantrae taking place in October. This trip will leave from the Grant Institute at 8am and return at approx. 8pm the same day. This trip is compulsory and examinable. More information regarding this trip will be posted on LEARN***

Semester 2 will consist of a short series of preparatory seminars for the Cyprus excursion at the end of the semester, and will integrate and build on the material from the first part of the course. There will also be a portfolio-type exercise in the run up to the excursion to introduce students to key rock types to be encountered and to ensure that key skills in interpreting thin sections are retained in 4th year. This will be assessed and discussed during a formative peer feedback session.

***Field course locations may change for a variety of reasons, including security risks, increased costs or inability to access field locations. Any changes to the main destination of the field course will be announced as soon as possible.***
Course description The course in semester 1 consists of a series of thematic, processes-orientated lectures related to the evolution of the earth, mostly during Mesozoic to recent time. The course will integrate information from a wide range of subjects including sedimentology, palaeoceanography, tectonics and magmatism.

The first part of the course will consider fundamental processes related to the evolution of continents and ocean basins on a global basis (e.g. results in ocean drilling). The later lectures will focus on sedimentation in mountain belts (e.g. Himalayas). Fundamental principles will be illustrated with specific geological case histories.

A one-day fieldtrip is planned for October to introduce relevant geology. The syllabus takes account of and builds on information given in previous courses.

During semester 2 there will be up to seven preparatory lectures/discussion sessions related to the geology of Cyprus in its regional setting. The students will write an extended abstract of a relevant paper (chosen individually), which they will later present and discuss in the field, followed by submission of a follow-up summary of the geology relevant to their chosen paper that they observed in the field. Prior to the fieldtrip they will also study a selection of rocks and thin sections and submit a short, examinable portfolio of their results. Field notebooks from the excursion will be submitted after the Degree exam and assessed, as in the past. Finally there will be a degree exam in May covering both semester 1 and semester 2 material. The above follows well tried procedures in the previous courses.

The pre-Cyprus course will include lecture/discussion meetings as follows:
Introduction to Cyprus in regional geological setting (5 sessions: ophiolites, U Cretaceous deep-sea sediments; Miocene shelf sediments; Plio-Quaternary regressive sediments; non-marine sediments and related geomorphology; Triassic rifting and passive margin evolution; palaeoceanographic aspects; terrace sediments; revision of igneous rock types related to the excursion.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Global Tectonics and the Rock Cycle (EASC08020) AND Palaeontology and Sedimentology (EASC10106) AND Structural Analysis of Rocks and Regions (SARR) (EASC09052) AND Field Skills for Geology and Physical Geography (EASC09051)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Costs for Cyprus field trip: approximately £350.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 28, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 4, Fieldwork Hours 80, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 79 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 75 %, Coursework 25 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 25%
Exam: 75%

Essay in semester 1 (15%) - deadline to be announced
Extended abstract (5%) - deadline to be announced
Cyprus Notebook (5%) - deadline to be announced
Feedback 1. Individual feedback on student essays (sem 1)
2. Peer and staff feedback on portfolio exercise (sem 2)
3. Peer and staff feedback following student presentations during Cyprus excursion
4. Individual feedback on Cyprus extended abstracts and notebooks
5. Group feedback and discussion during Ballantrae and Cyprus excursions
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)Evolution of the Modern Earth and Cyprus Excursion for Geology and Physical Geography3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Take students to the research frontier in selected topics
  2. Synthesise and integrate across subject boundaries
  3. Consolidate rock recognition and petrographic skill
  4. Learn to present and discuss geological information in a field context
  5. Prepare for post-graduation life in the professional world
Reading List
Students are expected to study a minimum of two selected papers for each lecture topic, as in the list below (on Learn). They are also encouraged to read more widely and a selection of papers are available in labelled box diagrams.

1) A Robertson: Sedimentation-Early rift phase
Gawthorpe, R.L., Leeder, M.R., 2000. Techno-sedimentary evolution of active extensional basins. Basin Research 12, 195-218.
Tucholke, B.E., Sawyer, D.S., Sibuet, J.-C., 2007. Break-up of the Newfoundland-Iberia rift. In Karner, G.D. et al (eds). Imaging, Mapping and Modelling Continental Lithosphere Extension and Breakup Geological Society, London Special Publication 292, 9-46.

2)A Robertson: Rift and passive margin sedimentation
Larsen, H.C., 2005. Investigations of rifted margins. JOIDES Journal 85-90.
Manatschal, G., Müntener, O., Lavier, L.L., Misshull, T.A., Peron-Pinvidic, G., 2007. Observations from thee Alpine Tethys and the Iberia-Newfoundland margins pertinent to the interpretation of continental breakup. In Karner, G.D. et al. (eds). Imaging,
Mapping and Modelling Continental Lithosphere Extension and
Breakuo Geological Society, London Special Publication 292, 291-324.

3) A. Robertson Sedimentation on mature passive margins
Reading H.G. Ed. Sedimentary Environments and Facies,
Blackwell, 3rd edit,
Ch, Deep Seas, Stow et al. p, 395-451.
Einsele, G. Sedimentary Basins, Springer-Verlag Ch 5 Oceanic sediments 177-231
Note-In library; copies in dungeon or see AHFR

4) Robertson: British Mid-ocean Ridge project and oceanic crust.
Humphries, S., 2002. Altered rock and seafloor massive sulphide deposits: the record of hydrothermal processes. JOIDES Journal, 28, No 1, 67-72
J. A. Pearce., 2002. The Oceanic Lithosphere. JOIDES Journal, 28, No 1, 61-66.

5) G. Fitton: Large igneous provinces
Coffin, M.F. & O. Eldholm (1994) Large igneous provinces: crustal structure, dimensions, and external consequences, Reviews of Geophysics, 32, 1-36.
Wignall, P.B.,(2001) Large igneous provinces and mass extinctions. Earth-Science Reviews 53, 1-33.

6) A Robertson: Arc-trench sedimentation
Plank, T., 2002. Subduction factory input and output JOIDES Journal, 28, No 1, 73-77.
Moore, C. and Silver, E., 2002. Fluid flow in accreting and eroding convergent margins. Journal, 28, No 1, 91-96. (given out in class)

7.)A. Robertson: Backarc basins
Underwood, M B and others, l995. Sedimentation in forearc basins, trenches and collision zones, of the western Pacific: a summary of results from the Ocean Drilling Program. American Geophysical Union, Geophysical Monograph 88, In B Taylor and J
Natland (eds). Active Margins and Marginal Basins of the Western Pacific, 315-354. (copies in the 4th yr. room),
Kastens, K.A., J. Mascle and Shipboard Scientific Party, l988. ODP
Leg 107 in the Tyrrhenian Sea: insights into passive margin and back arc basin evolution. Geological Society of America, Bulletin 100,1140, 1156.

8) A. Robertson: Ancient pelagic sediments
Jenkyns, H.C. Pelagic sediments, In Reading, H.G. Sedimentary Environments and Facies, 2nd. l986
Robertson, A H F Robertson and Hudson, J.D., l974 Pelagic sediments in the Cretaceous -Miocene development of Cyprus. In: Hsu, K and Jenkyns, H.C. (eds). Pelagic Sediments on Land and
Under the Sea. Special Publication of the International Association of Sedimentologists, No. 1.

9) 10) D. Kroon: pelagic sediments
Seibold, E and Berger, W.H., 1982. The Sea Floor, chapter 3.
Sources and composition of marine sediments, Springer-Verlag, pages 54-76.
Seibold, E. and Berger, W.H., 1982. The Sea Floor, chapter 8.
Patterns of Deep Sea Sedimentation, Springer-Verlag, pages 181-201.

11) A. Robertson: Ophiolite geology
Special issue of -Elements-, 2014, (vol 10, no. 2). International Magazine of Mineralogy, Geochemistry and Petrology, Ed. Y Dilek and H. Furness.
(browse several papers; e.g. by Julian Pearce)
Hawkins, J. 2003. Geology of supra-subduction zones-implications for the origin of ophiolites. In: Dilek, Y and Newcomb, S. (eds).
Ophiolite Concept and the Evolution of Geological Thought.
Geological Society of America Special Paper 373, 227-268.

12) A. Robertson: Neotectonic evolution of the Eastern
Taymaz et al. 1991, Active tectonics of the north and central Aegean Sea. geophysics Journal international, 106, 433-490.
Kahle et al., 2000. GPS-derived strain rate field within the boundary zones of the Eurasian, African and Arabian plates.
Journal of Geophysical Research, 105, 23353-23370

13) A. Robertson: Himalayas/Tibet
1. Gaetani, M and Garzanti, E., l991. Multicycle history of the northern India continental margin (North western Himalayas).
American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin 75, 127-1446.
2. Robertson, A H F and Degnan, M P l993 Sedimentology and tectonic implications of the Lamayuru Complex: deep-water facies of the Indian passive margin, Indus Suture Zone, Ladakh Himalaya.
In: Treloar, P.J. & Searle. M.P. (eds). Himalayan Tectonics. Geol.
Soc. London, Spec. Publ., 74,299-321.
3. Khan, M.A. et al. l993. Evolution of the lower arc crust in Kohistan, N Pakisatan: temporal arc magmatism through early, mature and intra-arc rift stages. In: Treloar and Searle (eds).
Himalayan Tectonics, Geol. Soc. London Special Pub., 74, 123-138.

14) A. Robertson: Oman: continental margin-oceanic crust emplacement
A.H.F. Robertson and M.P. Searle (l990). The northern Oman Tethyan continental margin: stratigraphy, structure, concepts and controversies. In: Robertson, A.H.F., Searle, M.P. and Ries,
A.C. 1990 (Eds). The Geology and Tectonics of the Oman Region.
Special Publication of the Geological Society of London, 49, 3-44

15) H. Sinclair: The growth of mountain topography
Davis, D., Supper, J. & Dahlen, F.A. (1983) Mechanics of Fold-and-
Thrust Belts and Accretionary Wedges. Journal of Geophysical Research, 88, 1153-1172
Lave, J. & Avouac, J.P. (2000) Active Folding of Fluvial Terraces across the Siwaliks Hills, Himalayas of Central Nepal. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, 105, 5735-5770

16) H Sinclair: Controls on sediment yield from mountain belts
Milliman, John D., and James PM Syvitski. "Geomorphic/tectonic control of sediment discharge to the ocean: the importance of small mountainous rivers." The Journal of Geology(1992): 525-544.
Burbank, Douglas W., et al. "Bedrock incision, rock uplift and threshold hillslopes in the northwestern Himalayas." Nature 379.6565 (1996): 505-510.

17) H Sinclair: Sediment flux by mountain rivers
Hallet, B., and Molnar, P., Distorted drainage basins as markers of crustal strain east of the Himalaya. The Journal of Geophyscial Research 106, B7,13,697-13,709, 200.
Burbank, Douglas W., and Robert S. Anderson. Tectonic
geomorphology. Wiley. com, 2011. (relevant parts; ask Hugh Sinclair).

18) H. Sinclair: Sediment trapping in foreland basins
Jordan, T. E., (1981) Thrust Loads and Foreland Basin Evolution, Cretaceous, Western United States, AAPG Bulletin. Volume 65,
Issue 12. (December), Pages 2506 -2520
Naylor, M., Sinclair, H. D., (2008) Pro-versus retro-Foreland
Basins: Basin Research Volume 20, Issue 3, pages 285-303, 2008.
CYPRUS EXCURSION-Students will be provided with a comprehensive field guide (c. 80p) in sem 2 which explains the day-by-day programme and includes much relevant background information.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Professional level writing skills; students will condense scientific findings and arguments from a topical field in modern earth science research and write a short essay.
- Participation in active group discussions, and peer-learning between the Geology and GPG cohorts
- Oral presentation skills during student presentations as part of Cyprus excursion
- Integration of information from contrasting sources (scientific reports and papers with individual field observations)
- high-level individual observation and interpretation followed by formative discussion and peer assessment (portfolio exercise)
Course organiserProf Alastair Robertson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8546
Course secretaryMs Ashley Stein
Tel: (0131 6)50 8510
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