Undergraduate Course: Evolution of the Modern Earth and Cyprus Excursion for Geologists (EASC10121)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Evolution of the modern earth from Recent back to Palaeozoic time, with emphasis on continental margins and ocean basins, supported by study of the classic geology of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean region.
The course consists of two closely related parts, which build on information given in previous courses.
Semester 1 will mainly consist of study of the geology of Cyprus in its regional eastern Mediterranean context. There will be up to eight preparatory lectures/discussion sessions on the geology of Cyprus in its regional setting (pre-recorded and as powerpoints), and other related information; this will also reference some material to be given in semester 2. The tuition will be mainly on line. Provision has been made by ¿timetabling¿ for face-to-face teaching/discussion only at the very end of the semester, at present (week 11, if circumstances allow).
You will research, prepare and submit an essay concerning the geology of Cyprus that counts towards the assessment of this course. Details should be sent out at the start of week 3, with submission date (also see below).
You will also prepare a two-page extended abstract of a paper related to Cyprus geology, chosen by yourself from a list of suitable papers. Again details should be sent out at the start of week 3, with submission date (also see below).
You will also study c. up to 30 rock micrographs (images of thin sections) of key rock types in Cyprus and you will make summary descriptions of these, for reference (see below for assessment). The photomicrographs are to be available on line (assuming that direct microscope study in the Grant Institute is not permitted in semester 1). This will help ensure that key skills in interpreting thin sections are retained and developed in 4th year. This study will be in the second paper of the semester (details to be sent out mid-semester).
Semester 2 should consist of a series of c. 16 thematic, process-orientated lectures and case histories related to the evolution of the earth, mostly during Mesozoic to recent time. The course aims to integrate information from a wide range of subjects including sedimentology, palaeoceanography, tectonics and magmatism. The lectures aim to consider fundamental processes related to the evolution of continents and ocean basins on a global basis (e.g. results of ocean drilling and palaeoceanography). The later lectures should focus on sedimentation in mountain belts (e.g. Himalayas). Fundamental principles should be illustrated with specific geological case histories. The lectures should be give face-to-face if this is allowed by the university; otherwise they will have to be on line, with discussion sessions.
There will be a field programme in spring, either in Cyprus (if circumstances allow) or an alternative (with similar learning outcomes), based in Edinburgh and/or away from Edinburgh for 1-2 weekends.
The fieldtrip will be assessed based on the notebook made during the excursion and on a two-page summary of an individually chosen aspect (see below).
You will also prepare a two-page synopsis of an aspect of the geology studied in the field. This will be assessed together with the extended abstract submitted in sem 1) (see below).
The rock micrographs study in semester 1 (latter part) will be assessed together with the field notebook after the field excursion (see below).
There will be a Degree exam in May covering both semester 1 and semester 2 material, including the excursion (see below).
***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.***
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Must have taken similar courses as pre-requisites. Acceptance into the course will be on CO discretion.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 24,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10,
Fieldwork Hours 80,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2,
Summative Assessment Hours 3,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Additional Information (Learning and Teaching)
Note: combination may vary
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Exam: 75%; Coursework: 25%
1. Assessed Essay - 15%
2. Extended Abstract - 5%
3. Field note and summary of fieldwork topic - 5%
- Assessed essay: submitted in Semester 1, Wednesday Week 7 by 12noon via Turnitin
- Extended abstract: submitted in Semester 1, Wednesday Week 9 by 12noon via Turnitin
- Field note and summary of fieldwork topic, c. late April (depending on fieldtrip dates) submission date TBD (1 week after trip ends)
- Exam: May Exam Diet 2021
||1. Group discussion of Cyprus geology in semester 1;
2. Course discussion seminars, as advertised in semester 1;
3. Peer and staff feedback following student presentations during Cyprus excursion;
4. Individual feedback on Cyprus extended abstracts and notebooks.
5. Individual and group feedback and discussion during the field excursions.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||Evolution of the Modern Earth and Cyprus Excursion for Geologists||3:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Taking students to the research frontier in selected topics;
- Synthesis and integration across subject boundaries;
- Consolidation of rock recognition and petrographic skills;
- Learning to present and discuss geological information in a field context;
- Preparation for post-graduation life in the professional world.
|Sem 1 You will be supplied with appropriate reference material for the study of Cyprus geology.|
Sem 2 You are expected to study a minimum of two recommended papers for each lecture topic, as in the list below (most are on LEARN).
Suggested references for sem 2 lecture course
1 & 2 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
3. A Robertson: Sedimentation-Early rift phase
Gawthorpe, R.L., Leeder, M.R., 2000. Tectono-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 Breakuo Geological Society, London Special Publication 292, 9-46.
4. 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.
5. 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
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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)
9. A. Robertson: Backarc and fore-arc 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).
Reagan, M. K. et al. Proceedings of the International Ocean Discovery Program, 352: College Station, TX (International Ocean Discovery Program). ,
10.14379/iodp.proc.14352.12015. Also Reagan et al., 2017, Subduction Initiation and Ophiolite Crust: New Insights From IODP Drilling. International Geology Review, doi: 10.1080/00206814.2016.1276482
10. 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.
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).
12. A. Robertson: Neotectonic evolution of the Eastern Mediterranean
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. A. Robertson: 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 A. Robertson: Tectonics and sedimentation of 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
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.
|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 organiser||Prof Alastair Robertson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8546
|Course secretary||Ms Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430