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SOES2037 Structural Geology and GIS

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Structural Geology 1. To introduce the fundamentals of rock deformation. 2. To describe the principal features of compressional, strike-slip and extensional tectonic systems. 3. To appreciate the applications and uses of structural geology, including natural resources and hazards. 4. To introduce basic techniques in practical structural geology, including the stereographic projection, and structural data analysis. 5. To reinforce basic field skills and undertake an investigative exercise. 6. To develop communication, analytical and team skills. GIS 7. To introduce concepts of digital spatial data manipulation, processing, and visualisation. 8. To apply data manipulation and visualisation methods to terrestrial and marine data sets. 9. To introduce concepts of map projections and geodesy. 10. To provide a hands-on, skills-based experience.

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Development of 3D perception
  • Manipulation of data using spread sheets
  • Assessment of data quality
  • Time management of project
  • Presentation of scientific results
  • View and edit data using GIS.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Be able to present and manipulate data, e.g. using stereographic projection, GIS
  • Have practical experience of geological structures and determining tectonic context
  • Be able to undertake Earth science applications of GIS.
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Appreciate the effect of variables (e.g., temperature, pressure, fluids, time) on rock rheology
  • Have an enhanced ability to visualise three-dimensional structures
  • Understand the concepts of stress, strain, deformation in shear zones and the use of bedding, cleavage and way-up information in structural analysis.
  • Understand brittle and ductile deformation processes
  • Be able to classify and understand fractures, fault rocks, rock fabrics, folds and associated processes.
  • Be aware of the principal features of compressional, strike-slip and extensional tectonic systems.
  • Be confident presenting and manipulating data using the stereographic projection
  • Be able to undertake an investigative field study and perform data analysis and interpretation.
  • Be able to select and apply appropriate data manipulation and visualisation methods using Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
  • Be able to plot, and interpret, Earth Science data and present the results in an organised and concise fashion


Structural Geology Lectures will provide an account of geological structures from the scale of plate tectonics to the sub-microscopic, emphasising basic mechanical and tectonic principles as well as geometrical description. Laboratory exercises are designed to introduce widely used structural applications such as the presentation and manipulation of data using stereographic projections, construction of balanced cross-sections and techniques of structural mapping. GIS The principal software platform will be ArcGIS incorporating topographic, geological and other data. You will learn how to integrate various types of map information, point data and other attributes.

Special Features

Practical classes using GIS software.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Structural Geology Formal Lectures (14 x 45 minute lectures): Will provide an introduction to the theory underlying structural geology and tectonics. The lectures provide the material required for a robust understanding of the brittle and ductile behaviour of rocks in the Earth's crust and of plate tectonic processes at a variety of scales. Each lecture will systematically cover the main concepts and topics by the use of PowerPoint presentations, supported by illustrated handout materials. The lecturers' own experience in these fields is incorporated where possible. Appropriate references to parts of course textbooks and introductory journal references are provided at each lecture. Practical sessions (7 x 3hr practicals; 21 hours): Exemplify the theory covered during formal lectures and allow you to develop appropriate practical skills in structural data analysis. A one day field trip will be used to develop team skills and to collect structural data for further analysis (see below). Support: Support during practicals and lectures provided by staff and postgraduate demonstrators. Further support is available through Blackboard, from the coordinator and other teaching staff by arrangement. GIS: Formal lectures (2 x 1hr = 2hr) and Practical classes (3 x 3hr and 2 x 2hr = 13hr). Support will be available when practical classes run: 1. Hands-on teaching in computer workstations by experienced staff and demonstrators. 2. Independent learning using GIS software. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs

Independent Study92
Total study time142



Practical skills assessment


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 25%
Examination 50%
Practical examination  (1.5 hours) 25%

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

SOES1002Dynamic Earth
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