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The University of Southampton

SOES2039 Fieldwork and Key Skills for Geophysics and Geology

Module Overview

The module covers both development of relevant techniques, methodology and other key skills for geophysical data analysis, and two field courses.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • 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.
  • Communicate effectively by writing reports with appropriate structure and referencing, and by making oral presentations.
  • Use a compass-clinometer with familiarity to measure simple geological structures.
  • Make a simple geological map and construct a geological cross-section on the basis of a geological map.
  • Identify and interpret a range of sedimentary structures, the evolution of sedimentary basin fill, the relationship of the basin fill with the basement lithologies.
  • Appreciate the interplay of tectonism and sedimentation in basin evolution.
  • Be familiar with a range of volcanic rock types and morphologies and the appearance of volcanogenic mineralisation.
  • Construct a geological map (field slips and interpretative map) and accurately record observations in an appropriate form in a notebook.
  • Accurately measure and draw up a sedimentary log.
  • Use GMT software to analyse and present 1D and 2D data.


Two field courses will further develop your Geological field skills. You will conduct a short independent mapping exercise during the summer between years 1 and 2, and produce a report on the geology of the area in which you have mapped. You will then have advanced training later in year 2 in field observations of both sedimentary and basement rocks, again followed by a short independent mapping exercise. Your computing and geophysical data analysis skills will be developed during a series of computer practicals during the academic year, supported by tutorials that provide feedback on the practical sessions as well as helping to develop writing and presentation skills. The computer classes will include an extended exercise during which you will have to analyse and produce an integrated interpretation of multiple large geophysical datasets.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures/tutorials: To introduce the basics of data handling and analysis using the GMT software. To develop skills in reading and assimilating scientific papers. To provide feedback and review sessions on the computing practicals. Computer Practicals: To give experience in using GMT on Linux computers, and lead to extended exercises in applied geophysical data analysis and reporting. Fieldwork: 8-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. Fieldwork: 13-day residential field course (Spain) to include examination of sedimentary basin fill, basement rocks and mineralisation, and independent mapping. Quizzes are conducted during the week and in the field to consolidate material covered by staff and demonstrators. A study-guide handout provides background information about the field area. Attendance at Careers and Employability Service sessions as advised.

Specialist Laboratory 30
Independent Study96
Total study time300



MethodPercentage contribution
Data Analysis 35%
Field trip 20%
Field trip 30%
GMT training 15%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Field Trips

You are responsible for your own food and drink.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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