Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Earth Sciences


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Earth Materials GEOL1021, [may be co-requisite].


  • Earth Materials GEOL1021, unless taken before.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce techniques for the field description and interpretation of natural Earth features from modern environments to ancient tectonics structures.
  • and to introduce a range of mapping skills, observation and recording methods necessary for geoscience fieldwork.


  • Field methods and principles.
  • Mapping of solid rock, geomorphology mapping and Quaternary deposits.
  • Geological field-craft and data collection, structural measurements, scale sections and sedimentary logging.
  • Interpretation of soil, geological and geophysical maps, Topography and outcrop patterns.
  • Contacts: conformable, unconformable, tectonic, intrusive, geological columns and cross-sections, isopachytes.
  • Introduction and demonstration of geographical information systems (GIS): Problem maps and geological and soil survey maps.
  • Aerial photographs and remote sensing techniques.
  • Field safety.
  • The geomorphology and geology of the Lake District, a one-week field class to the Lake District.
  • 3 dimentional structural geology of the British Isles.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module, students will be able to understand how geoscience data is represented on maps, visualise and understand how maps relate to the natural environment and be aware of problems and limitations associated with such representations, interpret common associations of rocks, structures and geomorphological features in the field.
  • Will have acquired subject knowledge and understanding in geological principles, terms, definitions and classifications.
  • Will have acquired subject knowledge and understanding in the structure, composition and history of the Earth/geological timescales.
  • Will have acquired subject knowledge and understanding in the structure and properties of Earth materials.
  • Appreciation of the 3 dimentional geology of British Isles.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills necessary to plan, conduct and report on mix of laboratory and field projects.
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills in order to apply geological principles and methodologies to the solution of familiar and unfamiliar problems.
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills to observe, record accurately and account for geological features in the laboratory and in the field.
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills to synthesise information/data from a variety of sources.
  • Will have acquired intellectual and practical skills to analyse, evaluate/interpret geological data.
  • Cross-section construction and geological map interpretation.
Key Skills:
  • Receive and respond to a variety of information sources.
  • Communicate effectively to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical forms.
  • Prepare, process, interpret and present data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and software packages.
  • Identify individual and collective goals and responsibilities.
  • 3 dimentional interpretation of Earth structures.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module is delivered through a series of three-hour practical slots and a residential field class, supported by handouts, directed reading and web-based assignments.
  • This method is preferred as it provides "hands on" learning and experience of acquiring practical fieldwork skills.
  • Summative assessment is made up of a series of tests, assignments and field work performance assessments through which students can demonstrate practical skills.
  • formative assessment is provided in practical DUO tests and a tutorial.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 1 1 Hour 1
Practicals 23 Weekly 3 Hours 69
Fieldwork 1 Annual 56 Hours 56
Preparation and Reading 74
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continual Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Duo Assessment 5%
Class Test 20%
Project 15%
Reading Assignment 5%
Field-course Assessment 50%
Practical Assessment 5%

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University