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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
SummaryEvolution of the modern earth from Recent back to Palaeozoic time, with emphasis on continental margins and ocean basins, supported by a field trip the classic geology of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean region (if conditions allow).
Course description The course during semester 2 consists of three closely related and integrated parts, which build on information given in previous courses. The lectures are planned to be live in the lecture theatre (with streamed content if technically possible).

Part 1 Thematic lectures. This consists of a series of c. 16 thematic, process-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 lectures will particularly consider fundamental processes related to the evolution of continents and ocean basins on a global basis (e.g. results of ocean drilling).

Part 2 Fundamental principles will be illustrated with specific geological case histories related to the thematic lectures (Part 1). These sessions will also constitute discussion and feedback. There will also be up to eight preparatory lectures/discussion sessions on the geology of Cyprus in its regional setting and other related information. If we are able to go to Cyprus, you will also study c. up to 30 thin sections of key rock types from Cyprus and you will make summary descriptions of these for reference, prior to the excursion.

Part 3 Cyprus field excursion for 2 weeks in April. If this is not possible alternative day-long field trips, or a replacement virtual field trip would take place concerning Scottish geology (with similar learning outcomes).

Assessments (assuming that we can go to Cyprus):- 1) A two-page extended abstract of a paper related to Cyprus geology (chosen by yourself from a list of suitable papers), followed by a two-page synopsis of a related aspect of Cyprus geology studied in the field (this will be assessed together with the extended abstract submitted in semester 1); 2. Your field notebook after the field excursion (either in Cyprus, or Scotland). If no fieldwork is possible an essay concerning the (alternative) Scottish field trip will replace the extended abstracts and the field note book assessment); 3. Degree exam in May concerning Part 1 (synoptic lectures).

Coursework: 25%
Exam (2 hour): 75%

***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.***
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
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( 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 77 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Combination may vary
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 75 %, Coursework 25 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 25%
Exam: 75%

1. Essay in semester 1 related to topic on Cyprus geology-15%
2. Extended abstract related to paper and post-excursion two page summary of chosen topic -5%
3. Cyprus notebook, including thin section petrographic summaries-5%

Assessment deadlines
Evolution of the Modern Earth Essay: Semester 1 Week 5 Friday
Illustrated Summary: Semester 1 Week 11
Post-excursion two page summary, after the excursion
Notebook Hand in: Semester 2 May Diet (after the degree exam)
Written Exam: Semester 2 May Exam Diet.

Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 24, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Fieldwork Hours up to 80, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 77) Note: combination may vary.
Feedback 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.
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
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., M√ľntener, 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.
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 Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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