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Earth History


Module description

This module will familiarise you with methods used to establish age relations and teach skills required to reconstruct geological history. It will introduce some of the main themes of Earth history, particularly those from the geological evolution of the British Isles and adjacent areas.

You will learn about the main periods of geological time and the major events that have punctuated Earth’s history.

Indicative module content

  • Principles of stratigraphy: lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, chronostratigraphy, conformity, disconformity and unconformities.
  • Precambrian: formation of continents, Precambrian of the British Isles.
  • Late Precambrian and Cambrian: the Cambrian 'explosion'.
  • Closure of Iapetus Ocean and the Caledonian Orogeny.
  • Devonian: 'Old Red Sandstone Continent', post Caledonian Basins.
  • Carboniferous: Basin fill sequence and palaeoenvironments.
  • The Hercynian Orogeny: Devonian and Carboniferous of SW England.
  • Permian and Triassic: post Hercynian basins.
  • Jurassic and Cretaceous: opening of the Atlantic.
  • Tertiary: Alpine Orogeny, volcanic province and London/ Hampshire basins.
  • Quaternary: glaciations and Earth’s glacial history.

Learning objectives

This module will develop your knowledge of:

  • information assimilation and recollection
  • principles of stratigraphy and plate tectonics, and a familiarity with the geological timescale
  • map interpretation; thinking in 3-D.