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The University of Southampton

SOES3032 Global Tectonics

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand how plate motions control large-scale structures on the Earth's surface.
  • Be familiar with current research areas and specific examples in the topics covered.
  • Be aware of the impact of active tectonic processes on sedimentary processes, on natural hazards and on resource exploration.
  • Be able to combine interpretation of a range of datasets with theoretical ideas from throughout your degree programme to understand different tectonic settings.


Lectures will cover the current understanding of processes and features in different active tectonic settings e.g. convergent margins (subduction zones to collisional mountain belts), transform margins, and continental rifts to passive rifted margins, how they have formed, the dynamic processes involved, the types of data used to explore these regions both onshore and offshore, their influence on sediment transport, deposition and cycling, the role of fluids (including gas hydrates) and the importance/relevance of these processes to society. The emphasis will be on current research in the areas of marine geophysics and geology, ocean drilling, remote sensing and the dynamics of the active tectonic processes involved. Laboratory exercises will introduce some of these techniques, providing the opportunity to analyse actual datasets from regions of current research interest.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal Lectures (24 x 45 minute lectures): will firstly introduce the tectonic processes involved and their importance to society. Subsequent lectures will cover the different tectonic settings from continental margins (convergent, transform, passive) through to mountain building, techniques used to understand processes and evolution, the importance of fluids, the evolution of fault systems, and the ongoing sedimentary processes interacting with tectonics at these locations. In all areas, cutting edge research will be emphasised with contributing staff drawing on their own considerable research expertise. Practical sessions (9 practicals): will exemplify theory covered during formal lectures and allow you to develop particular skills of relevance to the fields of tectonics, geophysics and stratigraphy. Seismic interpretation, the meaning of earthquake patterns, cyclical processes within convergent margins, remote sensing techniques and analysis of cores and sediment physical properties will be emphasised. Some practical sessions will involve the use of ArcGIS for data analysis. Tutorial Support: Support will be available during practical classes. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Practical classes and workshops27
Independent Study99
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 50%
Essay 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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