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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Geology for Earth Resources (PGGE11173)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course provides an overview of the basics of geology associated with geoenergy applications such as petroleum exploration, carbon storage or geothermal energy provision. The focus is on sedimentary rocks, in which almost all petroleum is located and where most geoenergy applications will occur.

We start with the fundamentals: the three rock groups, the geological timescale, geological maps, the basic petroleum system as an analogue for CO2 storage and other geoenergy applications. We then focus on the origin and physical properties of clastic and carbonate sedimentary rocks that form the majority of reservoirs and aquifers. We further examine how Earth movements make the traps that hold petroleum and could be used for CO2 or energy storage. Finally, we will introduce the geophysics of gas detection in the subsurface, and the seismic method that is used to image the subsurface.

The course includes a single day field excursion, a report from which contributes to the assessment, with the remainder assessed by examination.

This course is not available for undergraduates

Course description Lectures
1. Introduction to geology: Rock types: igneous, sediments, metamorphic
- Sediments: beds, basins, Walther's Law
- The basic petroleum system as analogue for subsurface trapping
- The Geological Timescale and the dating of rocks
- Unconformities, sequence stratigraphy and geological maps

2. Geology of Sandstones: Origin (weathering and erosion, provenance)
- Depositional models, reservoir heterogeneity
- Physical description (porosity, packing, permeability, bedding)
- Porosity decline with depth
- Petrology and classification
- Diagenesis and secondary porosity

3. Shales, seals and others: physical description of seal rocks (porosity, permeability, capillary seals)
- Depositional models
- Petrology and classification
- Evaporates: Depositional models, poro-perm, dissolution, diapirism
- Coals

4. Carbonates: Depositional environments, morphology and reservoir quality
- Depositional environments of carbonates
- Causes of heterogeneity
- Control of seawater chemistry and their reactivity

5. Structural Geology and Introduction to Geophysics:
- Plate tectonic models, basins
- Reconnaissance exploration techniques, seismic surveying, magnetic surveying, gravity surveying

Practical exercises are to be completed in students own time following each weeks lecture. These will be reviewed as a group in the following week.
1. Basic Rock types
6 geological samples will be provided for you to examine. You will match the samples to the descriptions given.

2. Sandstones
You will describe sandstone samples and then assess their potential as reservoir rocks.

3. Shales, Seals and Coals
Examples of these rocks will be provided for you to examine and describe, along with an assessment of their potential as seals.

4. Carbonates
6 geological samples will be provided for you to examine. You will match the samples to the short descriptions given and write your own more detailed description.

5. Course revision session
Question and answer session on any aspect of the course and release of the 4 page fully referenced essay topics.

Field Trip date and exact location to be confirmed as the trip is dependent on weather, tides and University arrangements for fieldwork due to Covid-19 situation.

The field trip will either be a one-day excursion to Berwick-upon-Tweed, where we examine rocks along the coast to observe potential reservoir (sandstone, limestone), seal (shale) and structures (folds, faults) exposures, or an excursion in the local Edinburgh area to examine similar rocks and structures.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A broad, integrated knowledge of the basics of geology associated with petroleum exploration, carbon storage or groundwater provision.
  2. A critical understanding of the origin and physical properties of clastic and carbonate sedimentary rocks which form the majority of reservoirs and aquifers
  3. Familiarity with common sedimentary rock types and their description.
  4. Introductory experience of field geology.
Reading List
Basic Geology:
Understanding the Earth: Chapter 15, Sedimentary Basins and Chapter 16, Clastic Sediments
Earth's Dynamic Systems 9th Edition: Chapter 5, Sedimentary Rocks and Chapter 10, Weathering
Sedimentology & Sedimentary Basins, from Turbulence to Tectonics (M. Leeder)
Part 6: Continental sediments and Part 7: Marine sediments
Elements of Petroleum Geology, Selley, R.C., 2nd Edition, 1998, Chapter 6: The Reservoir.

Geological field Techniques by Angela Coe (the sedimentary section only).
Sedimentary Rocks in the Field (Geological Field Guide) by Maurice E. Tucker

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordspetroleum exploration carbon storage CO2 storage
Course organiserDr Stuart Gilfillan
Tel: (0131 6)51 3462
Course secretaryMrs Lauren Blackman
Tel: (0131 6)50 2624
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