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The University of Southampton

SOES2034 Key Skills and Fieldwork for Geologists

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

1. To reinforce basic field skills and undertake an investigative exercise including familiarisation with the field area in advance of the field course via remote sensing to replicate industry practice. 2. To undertake a mapping exercise [normally at Ingleton] of a region of varied geology. 3. To develop communication, and analytical skills. 4. To develop transferable skills. 5. To learn to visualise geological structures in 3D. 6. To synthesise and interpret geological data. 7. To build on the basic field skills gained in the first year unit (SOES1003) and the Ingleton field excursion (SOES2012), introducing new techniques, making more subtle observations and developing better interpretative skills in the field. 8. To develop field observations skills for recording sedimentary basin fill, volcanic rocks and associated volcanogenic mineralization. 9. To develop and improve geological mapping skills. 10. To evaluate the regional geology and tectonic setting of an area of orogenic e.g. Alpine interest.

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Library retrieval
  • CV writing
  • Field observations and measurements
  • Spreadsheets
  • Data handling
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Report writing
  • Presentation skills
  • Project management
  • Time management
  • Team working
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Undertake a thorough literature search on a particular topic using a variety of databases.
  • Identify and interpret a range of sedimentary structures, the evolution of sedimentary basin fill, the relationship of the basin fill with the basement lithologies.
  • Be familiar with a range of volcanic rock types and morphologies and the appearance of volcanogenic mineralisation.
  • Appreciate the interplay of tectonism and sedimentation in basin evolution.
  • Present a list of references in the standard Harvard format.
  • Manipulate a set of data on a spreadsheet including: o use of formulae to obtain additional information from the original database o use of graphics to present data
  • Communicate effectively in the following areas: o Write essays and reports with appropriate sub-headings and correct style of referencing. o Give a short oral presentation on a geological topic including computer generated graphics as a means of communication. o Write a curriculum vitae, and be familiar with sources of careers information available through the Careers Advisory Service (CAS).
  • Use a compass-clinometer with familiarity to measure simple geological structures.
  • Accurately locate yourself in the field, and make essential field observations and measurements, including recognition of major rock types and geological structures and relationships between geology and landscape.
  • Construct a geological map (field slips and interpretative map) and accurately record field observations in a notebook, as notes, sketches or tabulated data.
  • Construct a geological cross-section on the basis of a geological map.
  • Accurately measure and draw up a sedimentary log.


Tutorials will develop key skills such as data handling using spreadsheets, giving oral presentations, literature searches using library and web-based resources, essay and report writing, preparation of a curriculum vitae and career planning. You will also learn to visualise geological structures in 3D; synthesis and interpretation of geological data. An understanding of the techniques and methodology of geological fieldwork and training in geological mapping will be provided. The field course will develop skills in field observations, measurements, and recognition of major rock structures. An advanced understanding of the techniques and methodology of geological fieldwork and training in geological mapping will be provided by systematic coverage of the principles of geological fieldwork, particularly observing and recording data, geological mapping, the application of knowledge of modern environments and processes to geological problems and development of an understanding of how the geology of the field area is applicable to a wider region. Appraisal of the geology of a selected area.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Ten tutorial sessions: which will include Presentation Skills, data handling, thinking in 3D, report writing, a literature search, CV writing, and spreadsheets. Lectures: on information skills (x2), on the remote sensing of the Ingleton excursion area prior to the field course Lecture and practical: on graphics programmes Eight-day residential field course: usually in Ingleton which will develop the student’s observation and mapping skills, necessary to complete a comprehensive geological map, and to produce a report on the geology of the area as preparation for the Independent Mapping and further geological field work. Careers service: Attendance at sessions as advised. Fieldwork (Spain) will include: • 4 days of student-led exploration of the sedimentary basin fill • 4 days of student-led exploration of the basement rocks and mineralisation • 0.5 days of introduction to the independent mapping area • 3.5 days of independent mapping of sedimentary rocks • 1 day of map interpretations and inking in. Quizzes are conducted during the week and in the field that consolidate the material covered by staff and demonstrators. An extensive study-guide handout is provided with background information about the field area. Students are provided with a 3-D (red-green) topographic map to help orientation in the field, relating to remote-sensing skills taught previously. Support: is provided by staff and postgraduate demonstrators. A wide range of support is available for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Independent Study150
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

Ingleton fieldtrip (40%): Spain Field trip (60%) Tutorial assignments: Data handling/spreadsheets; Literature search; Oral presentations, writing skills (essays); Exercise in thinking in 3D. Tests Learning Outcomes 5-9. Fieldwork (TBA%): the field map, notebook, and cross-section form the basis of the assessment. Tests Learning Outcomes 1-4. Field note book: Note books are collected twice (during the course and at the end), to train the student in the consistent and precise recording of geological field data. Feedback is provided during the course to improve the systematic and clear recording of data, observations and field sketches. Tests Learning Outcomes 1 and 2. Sedimentary Log : Instruction is given in the field of how to construct a sedimentary log of channel structures. Tests Learning Outcome 5. Geological Maps : Two geological maps are collected at the end of the 4-day mapping exercise. The field map (15%) is assessed for the accuracy and completeness of geological field observations, the interpretative map is assessed for neatness and plausible interpretation of the field geology. Tests Learning Outcomes 1-3. Geological History Report : The students are asked to compile a short "bullet-point" style report on the history of events in the mapping area. Tests Learning Outcomes 3,6,7. Geological Cross Section : Students are asked to hand in a geological cross-section obtained from their own field-observations and relating to their geological maps. Tests Learning Outcome 4.


MethodPercentage contribution
Field course 40%
Field trip 60%
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