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Structural Geology II


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Tutor: Professor Gerald Roberts
  • Assessment: a three-hour theory paper and a three-hour practical paper

Module description

In this module we will address topics of current interest in structural geology and tectonics.

Indicative syllabus

  • Methods used for validating cross-sections to investigate the significance of strain accumulation during formation of fault-related folds
  • Data from the Western Alps to assess the links between the superficial and deep structure
  • Data from areas of continental extension to assess structural geometries and mechanisms of continental extensional tectonics
  • Theoretical models of faulting, case studies of earthquakes and rock deformation experiments to assess the links between fluid migration, faulting and earthquakes
  • Compressional structures in pre-existing extensional basins
  • Inversion tectonics
  • Structures associated with emplacement of salt bodies and igneous intrusions
  • Interplay between regional tectonic stresses and gravitational forces

Practical work

  • Examination of structural geometries on published maps and cross-sections
  • Interpretation of deep seismic reflection profiles, seismic refraction profiles and gravity data
  • Interpretation of seismic reflection profiles from oil and gas fields
  • Mohr diagrams
  • Flinn plots and the centre-to-centre methods of strain analysis
  • Restoration of cross-sections using line-length and excess-area methods
  • Examination of the microstructures and deformation mechanisms of brittle fault-rocks

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • understand advanced concepts in structural geology and their relationships with plate tectonics, the hydrocarbon and minerals industries and seismic hazard analysis
  • draw and interpret geological cross-sections using advanced section balancing techniques
  • demonstrate awareness of relevant databases and their use in studies of geology and geophysics
  • read and interpret geological maps
  • interpret seismic reflection profiles in terms of structural geology
  • interpret the microstructural evolution of fault zones using a petrological microscope
  • demonstrate skills in map reading/interpretation and 3D visualisation, cross-section construction, interpretation of seismic reflection data and microstructural interpretation.