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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.

The course concept was developed to break away from a relatively linear delivery, where key concepts in structural geology were introduced sequentially, and move more towards challenge-based learning. Rather than guiding students through well-written textbooks, we will show you how their content is put to use. The fundamental aim is that you always learn about a particular topic to answer a specific question or understand a particular data set. The course does challenge students by being deliberately vague on "what exactly is necessary to pass the exam", and leaving it up to you to - in self-study - collate the necessary knowledge to understand some parts of the lectures in detail. At all times, you are invited to engage with staff and TAs where you need extra explanations/answers/guidance.
Course description The course exposes you to multi-scale data sets from a wide range of structural settings. The course runs over nine weeks, with 5-7 contact hours per week (2-4 lectures, 1 practical, 1-2 tutorials). Each week is dedicated to a particular tectonic setting, which is introduced through one or more case studies. The case studies are chosen so that a) in sum, they represent all important deformation processes and styles, b) you 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 preparation for the thematic lectures and practicals, students are referred to selected chapters in textbooks to pick up the fundamental ideas of structural geology and tectonics, which are then applied in the classroom. You will have access to a selected collection of research papers, from which also the lecture material is drawn. Where possible, we provide maps, cross sections and other relevant data to explore. You will combine all of these materials in the preparation for your talks, which you will give in week 10. The learning materials are coordinated through LEARN, which also hosts a discussion forum that is moderated by demonstrators and monitored by academic staff.

The course is delivered by two academic staff and 2-3 demonstrators, who assist in practicals. From 2020/21 onward, the demonstrators will also run weekly small-group tutorials on the lectures.

Week 1: Deformation and strain (kinematics): How do we describe deformation?
Week 2: Stress & Failure: A drama in several acts.
Week 3: Rheology & Crustal Strength: How to best deal with stress under varying circumstances.
Week 4: San Andreas Fault: How to get past each other in crowded places (elasticity, Coulomb failure, frictional sliding, rate- and state-dependent friction; earthquake cycle, strike slip faults)
Week 5: Cap de Creus: At the brittle-viscous transition it's all about networking (crustal rheology, brittle-viscous transition, base of seismogenic zone, deformation mechanisms; shear zones, kinematic indicators)
Week 6: Apennines, Gulf of Corinth, Aegean: The extending lithosphere (normal fault geometry, extensional deformation, rifting, fault scaling, displacement distance relationships, faults and folds, balancing cross sections, crustal thinning, orogenic collapse)
Week 7: Jura Mountains: Crumpled thin-skin(ned) tectonics (ormal fault geometry, extensional deformation, rifting, fault scaling, displacement distance relationships, faults and folds, balancing cross sections, crustal thinning, orogenic collapse)
Week 8: Helvetic Nappes: Folds and thrusts and the elegance of it all (folds 2, strain concepts and descriptors, kinematic vorticity, strain analysis)
Week 9: Himalaya: Life in a collision zone (continental collision, channel flow, kinematic vorticity, tectonic/climate interaction)
Week 10: Tectonics specials: Salt and Serpentine (salt tectonics, driving forces and mechanics, megastructures: salt diapirs, salt glaciers, deformation mechanisms in salt, role of hydration and dehydration reactions in tectonics, subduction zone processes)

Further Course Information
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)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, 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) Assessment Details
Coursework: 50% Exam: 50%
The course is assessed through an independently produced, professional 15-minute oral presentation (50% of the final mark), where you explore pre-formulated research questions on one of the field areas. You will receive the questions and assessment criteria in week 3 and then have until week 10 to prepare a talk. To do so, you have access to a wide range of research papers and are encouraged to source further material online. Between week 3 and 10, instructors are available to give you feedback on your progress and the quality of your work. From 2020 onward, you will have to present your progress to your peers and get formative feedback in week 6.

The exam is 50% of the final mark and its format will depend on the circumstances with respect to the covid-19 situation. You will be informed when the course begins.

Assessment Deadlines
Progress Presentation (Formative) Semester 2, Monday Week 6
15 Minutes Oral Presentation (Summative, 50%): Semester 2 Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday Week 10 (submit presentation by Monday 9am via Turnitin)
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. Recognize, describe and conduct simple analyses on deformed rocks
  3. Develop skills in synthesizing the geology of an area through the integrated use of maps, cross-sections, diagrams and accompanying reports
  4. Develop skills in visualizing map and related field data in three dimensions using appropriate graphical techniques
  5. Get to know tectonically active regions of our planet and get a feel for the frontiers of research in tectonics and structural geology
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 secretaryMs Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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