Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code ENVS156
Coordinator Dr GJ Potts
Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2016-17 Level One Second Semester 15


To introduce small- and large-scale geological structures.

To introduce the principles of stress and strain.

To introduce stereographic projection techniques.

To use synthetic and real topographic and geological maps to teach a basic understanding of geological maps as representations of geometry and stratigraphy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Knowledge and Understanding

On the successful completion of this module students should:

a. know the geometry and nomenclature of geological structures;

b. understand the appropriate classification schemes for geological structures;

c. understand how selected small-scale structures may be used to interpret the geometry of large-scale structures.

d. recognising common geological map patterns and elements.

e. understanding geological map conventions

f. understanding that 3D geometry can be interpreted from map data.

g. stratigraphic concepts as applied to maps

  2. Intellectual Abilities

On the successful completion of this module students should:

a. have developed strategies for the description and identification of geological structures;

b. have an appreciation of stress and strain.

c. be able to visualise the 3D interaction of geological surfaces with topography

d. be able to synthesise a sequence of events from information on a geological map

  3. Subject Based Practical Skills

On the successful completion of this module students should be competent in:

a. the use of the compass-clinometer;

b. the plotting and manipulation of orientation data using stereographic projection;

c. the portrayal of three-dimensional structures in two-dimensions;

d. the interpretation of two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional structures.

e. use of topographic maps: including finding and reading grid references, reading distances and directions, reading topography using contours.

f. the use of structure contours, to map the 3D shape of geologically important surfaces

g. construction of cross sections and generalised vertical successions from geological maps.

h. use of the compass clinometer for recording bearings

  4. General Transferable Skills

On the successful completion of this module students should have:

a. learnt, by example, how to use textbooks to support their studies.

b. practical use of topographic and geological maps.

c. ability to work neatly and legibly on maps



Introduction to structural geology.

Introduction to the analysis of: foliations and lineations; folds; boudins; shear zones; faults; fault rocks; slickensides and slickensteps, slickenlines and slickolites; stylolites; veins and intrusions; joints.

Introduction to the analysis of superimposed structures.

Introduction to regional analysis.

Introduction to stress analysis and strain analysis.

Introduction to stereographic projection.

Introduction to the course and thefield programme
Practical 1:TopographicMaps     

Homework :
Find out what grid-north, magneticnorth, true-north decli nation and inclination are.
Work through the UKESCC TLTP package:Using the compass clinometer.

Test1: Topographic maps
Practical 2A: Geological surfaces in 3D: structure contours
Practical 2B: Structure contours of planar surfaces.

Complete practical 2B.

Introduction to departmental map resources
Practical 3A: Interactions of structure contours and topography
Practical 3B: Map symbols for planar and linear features
Using the compass to plot direction lines on maps

Homework :
Complete practical 3B.
Find out about lithostratigraphy,biostratigraphy and chronostratigraphy
Work through the UKESCC TLTP package: Dynamic stratigraphy.

Interpreting simple outcrop p atterns
Practical 4A: Interactions of structure contours of planar surfaces and topography
Practical 4B: Assessing strike and dip from geological maps

Lithology and lithostratigraphy 
Generalized vertical succession (GVS)
Sketch mapping
Practical 5A: Lithology and lithostratigraphy
Practical 5B: Cross sections in simple stratigraphy

Find out about 3D geometries of igneous and sedimentary rocks.
Work through the UKESCC TLTP package: Visualizing geology in 3 dimensions

 Test2: Structure contours
Practical 6A: Cross sections and stratigraphy on geological maps
Practical 6B: Stratigraphic thickness variations on geological maps. 

Unconformities on maps
Practical 7: structure contours and cross sections in less simple stratigr aphy. 

Find out about unconformities, inliers and outliers.
Work through the UKESCC TLTP package: MapSkills
More exercises like practical 7.

Igneous cross cutting relationships
Practical 8: Igneous bodies and geological history

Practical 9: Directions and distances in the field.
Practical will be in Sefton Park.
Group assignments and instructions will be given out on Monday Week 11

Folds on maps
Practical 10: Getting to grips with non-planar surfaces 

revision and problem solving

Final examination.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Laboratory Work -

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours       72

Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 78


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Written Exam  3 hours  Semester 2  80  Yes    Assessment 2 Notes (applying to all assessments) 2 practical assessments Theory/Practical  
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Coursework    Semester 2  20  Yes  Standard University policy applies.  Assessment 1 

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.
Explanation of Reading List: