Undergraduate Course: Earth Science Fundamentals for Geophysicists (EASC08022)
|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||THIS COURSE IS AVAILABLE FOR SECOND YEAR DIRECT ENTRY GEOPHYSICS STUDENTS ONLY
This course takes the most essential material from the Earth Dynamics and Introduction to Geophysics courses,
compulsory courses for those on the 4 year undergraduate geophysics degrees, sufficient to allow students to
take Global Tectonics and the Rock Cycle, Physics of the Earth, and Structural Geology, in later years, and
hence courses for which they are pre-requisites.
Earth formation, composition and age: 1 lecture
Seismology (including earthquakes) and internal structure: 3 lectures
Plate tectonics: 3 lectures
Gravity: 2 lectures
Geomagnetism: 1 lecture
Igneous and metamorphic rocks and processes: 2 lectures
Deformation (faulting and folding, stress and strain): 2 lectures
Saturday OR Sunday (2nd or 3rd Oct). FIELD TRIP 1: PEASE BAY & SICCAR POINT. (Online alternative available)
Meet at Appleton Tower, ready to depart at 09:30, return ca. 17:00. ATTENDANCE IS
Saturday OR Sunday (23rd or 24th Oct). FIELD TRIP 2: Holyrood Park / Salisbury Crags / Arthur¿s Seat
Meet at 09:30 sharp at the grassy parkland area near the roundabout just inside from the St Leonards /
Pollock Halls entrance to Holyrood Park. Field trip ends at approximately 1pm. ATTENDANCE IS COMPULSORY
The Nature of the Earth (week 3) (Earth Dynamics Practical 2)
Motion of lithospheric plates (week 4) (Earth Dynamics Practical 3)
¿Be a seismologist¿ (week 5) (Earth Dynamics Practical 4)
Pentland Fault gravity interpretation (week 6)
Salisbury Crags exercise (week 7) (Earth Dynamics Practical 6)
Further course information can be found at the following links:
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Mathematics and Physics at a level suitable for University entrance to study Physics.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 10,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
Written Exam: 50%, Course Work: 50 %, Practical Exam: 0%.
Course work: practical work 80%, field notebook 20%
The written exam will consist of short answer questions.
The course work component includes a report on the gravity practical and your Earth Dynamics practical
workbooks as well as field trip attendance and notebook write up. Incomplete practicals or practical
workbooks, or absence from a practical where workbooks are marked, will be penalised unless you have
special circumstances supported by doctor¿s note or letter from your Student Support Co-ordinator. In
addition to the practical workbook you are required to submit your field notebook for marking after each field
trip. The second mark will contribute towards your overall ¿course work¿ mark.
Students must achieve a pass mark (40% or above) in both components of this course.
If you fail to pass both components at first attempt the following will happen:
Fail coursework, pass exam: Alternative coursework will be assigned and all practical exercises must be
completed. Deadline to submit work to the Teaching Office (TO) will be in late March 2022, exact deadline to
be advised. Exam mark stands and is carried forward, no resit allowed.
Fail exam, pass course work: Resit exam in August exam diet; Coursework mark carried forward.
Fail exam, fail coursework: Resit exam in August exam diet: Alternative coursework will be assigned and all
practical exercises must be completed. Deadline to submit work to the TO will be in late March 2022, exact
deadline to be advised.
Practical workbooks for weeks 3-5 to be handed in depending on practical session: Monday/Tuesday practical
classes to hand in by 12 noon on Friday, 29 October 2021 (week 6); Thursday/ Friday practical classes to hand
in by 12 noon on Tuesday, 02 November 2021 (week 7). Fieldtrip notebooks to be handed in on Tuesday of
Week 3 (fieldtrip 1) by 12 noon and on Tuesday of Week 6 (fieldtrip 2 by 12 noon. Write-up for practical in
week 6 to be handed in by 12 noon on Monday of week 8. Practical in week 7 to be handed in week 10/11:
Monday/Tuesday practical classes to hand in by 12 noon on Friday, 26 November 2021 (week 10); Thursday/
Friday practical classes to hand in by 12 noon on Tuesday, 30 November 2021 (week 11)
||There is an opportunity for verbal feedback during all tutorial and practical sessions, and after the field trips. .
Your practical work will be assessed during the course and comments made on the quality of work and where
improvement is possible. There are also two field trips. After the first trip, formative feedback will be provided
which can feed forward to your assessed notebook mark after the second field excursion
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S1 (December)||1:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate a broad understanding of key, defining geological concepts and theories: the internal divisions of the Earth and its dynamic evolution via plate tectonic processes; the formation of igneous and metamorphic rocks; the mechanisms by which rocks deform and break at depth in the Earth; and the dynamic geological settings in which these processes operate
- demonstrate an overview of the physical processes operating within the Earth, and understand the principles of some of the geophysical techniques by which this information is derived
- demonstrate an understanding of the basics of geological and geophysical fieldwork, keeping a field notebook, and laboratory and computer practical work
- demonstrate skills in writing a scientific report, including references to previous work.
- manage their time effectively and work both independently and with others during practical sessions.
¿ ¿Understanding Earth¿ by JP Grotzinger & TH Jordan (Freeman, library has online access to 8
th edition and
physical copies of 5
th edition, which is also acceptable)
¿ 'Looking into the Earth¿ Mussett and Khan (Cambridge University Press, 2000, in library)
¿ ¿Fundamentals of Geophysics¿ W. Lowrie; (Cambridge University Press, September 2007, library online
access to latest edition)
¿ ¿Physics of the Earth¿ Frank M. Stacey & Paul M. Davies, (2008) (CUP, 4th edition)
Reference Texts for further reading:
¿ ¿An Introduction to Geophysical Exploration¿ P.K. Keary & M. Brooks; Blackwell, 1991 (Third Edition)
¿ ¿The Solid Earth: An introduction to Global Geophysics¿ C.M.R. Fowler; Cambridge University Press.
¿ ¿Earthquakes¿ Bruce Bolt; Freeman Press 1999 (Fourth edition)
¿ ¿Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes & Earth Structure¿ Seth Stein & Michel Wysession; Blackwell
Note that material presented in lectures is self-contained. A good understanding and diligent revision will
result in passing this part of the course, but not necessarily excelling. By 'recommended reading', we do not
expect you to read every word, just to go into more depth in parts you are particularly interested in or less
sure of, so you really understand the material, and can do really well in the exam.
Instead of Grotzinger you could also consult the following textbooks, which cover the same material in similar
¿ ¿Earth ¿ Portrait of a Planet¿ by S Marshak (WW Norton & Company 5th edition)
¿ ¿Dynamic Earth ¿ An introduction to Physical Geology¿ by EH Christiansen & WK Hamblin Jones & Bartlett
Learning 1st edition (not to be confused with the older book with the same name by Skinner and Porter)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Fieldwork; IT skills; practical work
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||2 x 1 hr lectures per week, and 1 weekly practical for 6 weeks (five with the Earth Dynamics practical class).
|Keywords||Earth structure,Earth composition,rocks,plate tectonics,geophysical techniques,geological maps
|Course organiser||Miss Kirsty Bayliss
|Course secretary||Ms Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430