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Unit information: Structural Geology in 2021/22

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

EASC20045 Mapping, Tectonics and Remote Sensing



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 relevant first and second year units (Geology 1, Introduction to Field Skills in Earth Sciences, Introduction to Field Mapping and Mapping, Tectonics and Remote Sensing), the unit will examine deformational structures in a more quantitative manner in three dimensions.

Lectures will cover elements of brittle and ductile deformation, faults and folds, macro- and microscopic aspects of rock deformation and kinematic analysis.

Practicals will focus on plotting, visualising and analysing structural data using stereographic projections, and constructing structural maps and cross-sections. 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.

Two days of field work in Pembrokeshire in Wales will put the lecture and practical material into a real-world context, giving students a chance to measure, plot, and interpret structural data, create a structural map and cross-section, and develop a structural history for the area.

The main aims of the field work are to:

  1. develop skills in recording the principal field attributes of commonly occurring tectonic structures
  2. construct a structural map and cross-section
  3. generate skills in the quantitative and semi-quantitative methods of palaeostress and palaeostrain analysis
  4. interpret geological structures in terms of process and tectonic regime

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
  • determine the chronological sequence in which an exposed assemblage of structures was formed and to recognise superimposed deformation
  • describe the principles of stereographic projection involving graphical plotting of 3-D geometric data in 2-D, and have skills in reading and using such projections to solve structural problems
  • 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 they formed
  • analyse and interpret the structural history of a region from a geologic map
  • create a structural map and cross-section of an area from structural data and observations collected in the field

Teaching Information

Lectures, practicals and two days of field work.

Assessment Information

Term exam 60% and Coursework 40%

The term exam is a closed 2-hour in-house end of unit test that will cover material from both the lectures and practicals.

Coursework comprises a structural mapping report based on data collected during the field work which will present a structural synthesis of a specific area and place it within a broader tectonic context.

The report should not exceed 7 A4 pages in length, including a structural map (1 page), a cross-section (1 page) and 5 pages of text, field sketches, photographs and relevant structural data plots. Details of layout requirements will be given in the course information on Blackboard.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. EASC20006).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.