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Unit information: Introduction to Field Skills in Earth Sciences in 2020/21

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Unit name Introduction to Field Skills in Earth Sciences
Unit code EASC10008
Credit points 10
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Benton
Open unit status Not open



EASC10001 Geology 1

School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit, for which no previous field experience is necessary, comprises ten days in which learners will attain and develop the essential techniques of Earth Sciences fieldwork. The course combines daytime field exercises with indoor sessions of analysis, interpretation and presentation, and is designed to achieve four principal aims, enabling leaners:

  • to observe a variety of rock types and geological structures in outcrop and differentiate their most important characteristics.
  • to acquire and practise basic methods of geological data gathering and recording
  • to apply your own field data to the solution of specific geological problems
  • to evaluate the geological history of a specific area as determined from evidence that you or your colleagues have collected

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  • work safely and efficiently in the field, including in coastal and hilly areas
  • use a map and compass to locate a rock outcrop precisely
  • observe the principal features of sedimentary and igneous in the field using standard equipment (e.g. hand lens, grain size comparator)
  • interpret their observations in terms of the environment and mode of formation of rock bodies and their subsequent history of consolidation and deformation.
  • make accurate and reproducible measurements of planar and linear features using a compass-clinometer and interpret structural data using a stereographic projection
  • make field sketches ranging from fast, generalised sketches to more detailed interpretative diagrams
  • construct a sedimentary log and interpret stratigraphy in terms of thickness and time
  • employ fossils to determine ancient environments of sediment deposition
  • record geological data in map form on a variety of scales using standard symbols

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through a series of synchronous fieldwork and consolidation workshops. Students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete fieldwork, or alternative activities in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Information

Assessment is based entirely on coursework.

Formative feedback is given in all teaching sessions. Completing exercises is mandatory in order to gain credit points for the unit.

Formative feedback on notebooks will be provided.

Set exercises are collected daily for summative assessment. Marks are awarded as follows for each field day:
• Navigation, location and other mapwork 20%
• Volcanic and volcaniclastic recording and interpretation 20%
• Sedimentary logging and interpretation 20%
• Environmental Geochemistry 20%
• Recording, structural analysis and interpretation of unconformable sequences 20%

Reading and References

A bespoke field handout, instructions and exercise sheet will be provided for each exercise.