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Unit information: Introduction to Field Mapping in 2020/21

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Unit name Introduction to Field Mapping
Unit code EASC20029
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Professor. Gottsmann
Open unit status Not open

Successful completion of the first year of an Earth Sciences degree programme curriculum.



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit is an introduction to the basic techniques of geological field mapping on the scale of 1:10000, which are essential skills for Geologists, Environmental Geoscientists, Palaeontologists and Geophysicists to acquire. Principles learned in the Geological Maps part of the Level C/4 EASC10001 Geology 1 unit and in EASC10008 Introduction to Field Skills in Earth Sciences are put into practice.


The initial part of the course involves group instruction in mapping techniques and familiarisation with the lithologies, after which the class is split into pairs to undertake their own mapping. During the day, data are recorded in the field and the evenings are spent inking-in the map, accurately entering structural data onto the map, consolidating the field data, planning the next day's work and preparing drafts of work to be submitted. Depending on the field area, some trips collect geophysical or geochemical data in addition to geological mapping.

The aims of the field class are to:

  • observe and systematically record field data in a well-organised notebook (e.g. lithologies, orientation measurements, etc.)
  • record geospatial information neatly on a base-map
  • appreciate the three-dimensional nature of geoscience data (e.g. geological features)
  • integrate field data into a coherent report
  • analyse field data (e.g. construct a geological cross-section of the area)
  • integrate observations of a field area into the wider context

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of the field class you should:

  • have a well-organised field notebook that documents data collected and observations made in the field
  • be able to recognise diverse lithologies in the field
  • have completed comprehensive mapping of an area, with the geology presented on a clearly written and coloured geological map
  • appreciate the three-dimensional relationships of the area
  • have built up an integrated picture of the area and extrapolated this to the wider region, as explained in a short summary
  • have conducted preliminary analysis on the data collected (e.g. by constructing a geological cross-section)
  • be able to conduct yourself in a professional manner that fosters the engagement, efficiency and teamwork required when working in a field-based setting

Teaching Information

Content will be delivered through a series of synchronous preparatory sessions in Bristol and through synchronous fieldwork and evening 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 will be based on three aspects of work:

Professionalism (10%) - including behaviour, engagement, and participation in daytime and evening activities throughout the duration of the field trip. Assessment will be based on instructors' evaluation, in consultation with demonstrators.

Independent mapping (90%) - evaluated on the following pieces of work, to be submitted by the end of the field trip:

  • Field notebook (to be recorded in the field and periodically reviewed by instructors during the trip)
  • Geologic map (to be generated in the field and periodically reviewed by instructors during the trip)
  • Data analysis (for example, a cross-section, stratigraphic log, or other form of analysis, as appropriate to the field area)
  • Brief report as appropriate to the field area. Maximum 2 sides of A4.

Reading and References