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Unit information: Advanced Fieldwork in 2015/16

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Unit name Advanced Fieldwork
Unit code EASCM0044
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Rust
Open unit status Not open

Experience of independent mapping. No specific unit.



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


Students will examine the geological evolution of two geologically contrasting Greek islands: Syros (metamorphic) and Santorini (volcanic). The unit builds on previous field classes and will provide specific experience in describing and interpreting rock and deposit types they have not seen before.

The island of Syros is Fransciscan-type metamorphic terrane. This part of the unit will provide specific experience and develop skills in recognising and recording metamorphic assemblages and evidence of complex deformation associated with the subduction process. The Syros component of the unit is based around projects and evaluations in which field data that includes mapping and petrologic observations in metamorphic rocks are collected and then analysed to address specific questions about the metamorphic evolution of the island.

The Santorini component of the unit emphasises field and physical volcanology. It introduces, in a unique field setting of a flooded caldera with up to 300m cliffs, all the main volcanic rock types and facies, and several types of volcanoes. It also shows how to deduce the means and processes of eruptions from analysis of the ejected volcanic debris. The main aims are to: 1) introduce the field sedimentology, petrology/geochemistry and stratigraphy of typical volcanic rocks, and 2) analyse eruption dynamics and long-term volcano evolution.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit the student will be able to:

  • develop skills in recording field data in notebooks with relevance to a defined question to be addressed.
  • plan and execute defined field projects within a timescale and produce a report on the outcomes of the work
  • integrate field data from different localities in order to develop interpretations of individual units and the main features of the geological evolution of an island.
  • recognise and utilise various metamorphic minerals and fabrics as a means of estimating metamorphic grade, facies and protolith types.
  • recognise inter-relationships between metamorphic mineral growth, fabric formation and deformation.
  • describe the diagnostic sedimentological/petrological features of each main volcanic rock deposit type
  • provide both summary and detailed logs for any part of a volcano's stratigraphy, including accurately documenting both the qualitative and quantitative features of volcanic lithologies
  • interpret volcanic lithologies, textures and structures in terms of eruption dynamics

Teaching details


Assessment Details

There is no formal exam.

  • Half-day metamorphic notebook and outcrop interpretation exercise (10%)
  • One-day metamorphic mapping exercise (25%)
  • One-hour open-notebook test on metamorphic evolution based on student observations (15%)
  • One day exercise on interpretation of volcanic outcrops (25%)
  • 3-hour open-notebook test on volcanic observations and interpretations (25%)

Reading and References

Before the unit students should look at rock collections in the School lab to review hand specimen identification of volcanic and metamorphic rocks, minerals and fabrics.

Key references:

  • Druitt et al (1999) Santorini Volcano, Geological Society Memoire No. 19
  • Cas and Wright (2010) Volcanic Successions: Ancient and Modern, Blackwell Science Ltd
  • “Syros and the Cyclades”, a compilation of information by Bristol staff members J Schumacher and G Helffrich based largely on chapters of Chemical transport in metasomatic processes, Helgeson and Reidel (ed), 1987