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Structural Geology and Tectonics


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor and tutor: Professor Gerald Roberts
  • Prerequisites: a pass in A-level Geology (or equivalent), or Introduction to Geology
  • Assessment: a three-hour combined theory and practical examination (100%)

Module description

This module will introduce the basic tenets of structural geology.

Indicative module content

  • The plate tectonic setting of structures and deformation
  • Characteristics of tectonic structures: a review of the main features of faults, shear zones, folds, foliations, lineations and deformation fabrics
  • Formation of tectonic structures: a review of deformation mechanisms and the nature of stress and strain
  • Structural associations: the geometry and kinematics of thrust, normal and strike-slip fault systems
  • Development of poly-phase structures

Practical work will include structural interpretation of maps and cross-sections, the representation of structures using stereographic projections and the techniques of field structural geology

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should:

  • understand the basic tenets of structural geology and its relationship with plate tectonics
  • understand hypothesis development and have been given examples of how these might be tested, involving analysis of databases, theoretical understanding of relevant concepts, critical assessment of results and outcomes, and experience of real situations reported in research papers
  • have knowledge of the three-dimensional aspect of geological structures through stereographic projection and map interpretation techniques
  • be aware of relevant databases and how they might be used in studies of geology and geophysics
  • be able to read and interpret geological maps
  • be able to plot structural orientation data on stereographic projections to aid 3D visualisation.