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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to the Geological Record (EASC08027)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryCourse Summary
This course is ONLY available to students taking:
This course introduces you to interpreting the geological record from geological maps, cross-sections, GIS software and rock samples. The campus taught component is then put into practice during a week-long residential field trip to the Lake District.
Course description The course will allow you to develop 3D visualisation skills and 4D-thinking abilities through interpretation and construction of geological maps and cross-sections. These skills will be integrated with hand specimen descriptions and compilation of geological histories of mapped areas. The course will also introduce the application of online digital databases (published geological maps; Digital Elevation Models; radar interferometry; remote sensing; satellite imagery) in solving global geological problems. A collective of graduate employers in a recent teaching review has highlighted these skills as vital for geoscientists. The 6-day course fieldtrip to the Lake District lays the foundations of field-skills required for the fieldwork aspects of your future degree.
Note that although we will run the excursion to the Lake District provided that it is safe to do so, given the current situation with the Covid19 pandemic, there is the possibility that the excursion will be run online as a virtual exercise. If this happens then the dates will be the same, although the virtual exercise is only 5 days long as we don¿t need to drive anywhere!)
Trip 1: Saturday 15 - Friday 21 April 2023
Trip 2: Saturday 27th May - Friday 2nd June 2023
You will be allowed to choose which excursion you attend (subject to there being space). Signing up will take place early in Semester 2.

Course Content
Teaching Week, Content and Lecturer: Each Week is composed of a live online lecture and one 3 hour practical slot

Content and Lecturer: Each week is composed of an in-person lecture, followed by a 3-hour practical
Lecturers: SG: Stuart Gilfillan; RW: Rachel Wood; MA: Mikaël Attal; GB: Geoff Bromiley; MW: Mark Wilkinson
1 Lecture 1. Introduction to the course, topographic maps and navigation (SG)
Practical Field map navigation practical and KB ¿orienteering¿ course (SG)
2 Lectures 2. Geological time, unconformities and processes of formation (RW)
Practical Structural contours, map interpretation techniques and introductory maps (SG)
3 Lecture 3. Clastic and carbonate sedimentary rocks (RW)
Practical Drawing cross-sections, interpreting geological histories and unconformities from geological maps (SG)
4 Lecture 4. Stratigraphy and sedimentology (RW)
Practical Faults and folds on geological maps and hand specimen descriptions (SG)
5 Lecture 5. Structural geology and structure on geological maps (SG)
Practical Interpreting structures on geological maps
Hand-in of portfolio of practicals completed up to Week 5
6 Lecture 6. Igneous and metamorphic geology in the field (GB)
Practical Igneous and metamorphic field relations on geological maps (GB)
7 Lecture 7. Overview of remote sensing techniques (MA)
Practical Lake District DEM exercise (MA)
8 Lecture 8. Interpreting real-world geological maps and compiling a geological history from hand specimens (SG)
Practical Case study geological map: Edinburgh (SG)
9 Lecture 9. Geology of the Lake District and how to take notes in a notebook (MW)
Attendance essential and will be monitored
Practical Case study geological map: Lake District (MW)
10 Lecture 10. Field excursion logistics and safety (MW)
Attendance essential and will be monitored
Practical Case study geological map: Chesterfield (SG)
Hand-in of portfolio of practicals completed in Weeks 6-10
Multiple choice quizzes
Three quizzes each worth 3.33%. Two to be held randomly in any of the 8 non-assessed practicals given in the course in Weeks 1 to 10. The third to be completed in own time on Learn between Weeks 10 and 11
Fieldtrip Map and Cross Section

Assessment Deadlines
- Week 5: Portfolio of practicals completed up to this point of the course to be submitted at the end of the practical session this week.
- Week 10: Portfolio of all practicals completed during the course to be submitted at the end of the practical session in week 10.
- Three multiple-choice quizzes to be completed between weeks 1 and 10. Two will be held randomly in any of the ten lectures given in this course in weeks 1 to 10. These quizzes will only be accessible during the lecture period that the quiz is given in, unless special circumstances are submitted. The third will be completed during the students¿ own time between weeks 9 and 10.
- Last evening of one-week field trip at 9:00 pm for submission of maps and cross-sections.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Apply knowledge and techniques that are necessary to understand and interpret the Earth's surface as expressed in maps, cross-sections and other 2/3D data.
  2. Apply knowledge of the fundamentals of the analysis and critical interpretation of geological maps.
  3. Evaluate geological maps and the history they record and apply field mapping skills in diverse geological settings.
  4. Understand and be able to use modern remote sensing techniques to complement the geological information recorded at the surface of the Earth.
Reading List
Essential Reading
Bennison, G.M. (2011) An introduction to geological structures and maps. Hodder Education.

Coe, A.L. (2010) Geological field techniques. The Open University; Wiley-Blackwell.
Stow, D.A.V. (2005) Sedimentary rocks in the field: a colour guide. Manson.

The Geological Society of London Handbook Series
McClay, K.R. (1991) The mapping of geological structures. J. Wiley.
Jerram, D. (2011) The field description of igneous rocks. Wiley-Blackwell.
Fry, N. (1984) The field description of metamorphic rocks. Open University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Stuart Gilfillan
Tel: (0131 6)51 3462
Course secretaryMr Johan De Klerk
Tel: (0131 6)50 7010
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