Skip to main content

Unit information: Structural Geology in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Structural Geology
Unit code EASC20006
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2D (weeks 19 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Cooper
Open unit status Not open

EASC10001 Geology 1



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will provide a solid grounding in fundamental concepts of structural geology and rock deformation. Building on structural geology skills and knowledge developed in the first year, the unit will examine deformational structures in a more quantitative manner and in three dimensions.

Lectures will cover elements of stress, strain, and rock mechanics; brittle and ductile deformation (faulting and folding); macro- and microscopic aspects of rock deformation; and rheology and kinematics.

Practicals will focus on visualising and analysing structural data using stereographic projections and Mohr circles. Relevant concepts will be put into a broader tectonic context, and the relationships between brittle and ductile deformation in the Earth's crust will be explored.

A 3-day field trip to south west England will put the lecture and practical material into a real-world context, giving students a chance to measure, plot, and interpret actual structural data and use them to develop a structural evolution for the area.

The main aims are to:

  1. develop skills in recording the principal field attributes of most naturally occurring tectonic structures
  2. generate skills in the quantative and semi quantative methods of palaeostress and palaeostrain analysis
  3. interpret geological structures in terms of process and tectonic regimes.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion you will be able to:

  • understand the three dimensional nature of structural geology
  • recognise commonly occurring natural structures linked to deformation
  • analyse which diagnostic characters it is necessary to observe and record in the field as a means of determining the character of the structure and the deformation process giving rise to the structure
  • describe the principles of stress and strain analysis and show how these can be applied in understanding rock deformation
  • apply Mohr circle analysis to determine the state of stress of a rock and calculate the stress required for brittle failure
  • undertake qualitative and quantitative evaluation of strain developed during deformation of rock sequences
  • determine the chronological sequence in which an exposed assemblage of structures was formed and to recognise superimposed deformation
  • describe the principles of streographic projection involving graphical plotting of 3-D geometric data in 2-D, and have skills in reading and using such projections
  • apply stereographic projection as a means of representing the three-dimensional orientations of planar and linear structures; to use such methods to investigate and analyse three dimensional structures.
  • critically analyse the character of deformation structures and to interpret the causal deformation process and tectonic regime in which it operated
  • understand the continuum in rock deformation between brittle and ductile regimes in the Earth's crust and the implications for global tectonics

Teaching Information

Lectures and practicals.

Assessment Information

The course will be examined in a closed 3-hour examination that will cover material from both the lectures and practicals (100%).

Reading and References