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Earth's Surface Geology


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 4
  • Convenor: Professor Charlie Bristow
  • Assessment: four practical assessments (two worth 5% each and two 10%) and a two-hour examination (70%)

Module description

This module provides an introduction to Earth’s surface, describing some of the ways in which the surface of the Earth is formed, including examples of modern and ancient sedimentary environments.

Indicative module syllabus

  • The rock cycle
  • Weathering and erosion                                                                   
  • Grains and grainsize
  • Clastic sediments: mudrocks, sandstones and conglomerates
  • Limestones: Dunham
  • Sedimentary structures: bedforms, cross-strata, bioturbation, way-up
  • How sediments are recorded in the field, the graphic log
  • Continental sediments
  • Coastal sediments
  • Deep marine sediments
  • Basins: foreland basins, rifts, passive margins, pull-apart, forearc, backarc

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • be able to identify and describe sedimentary rocks including limestone, sandstone, conglomerate and mudrocks
  • have a basic understanding of the rock cycle and some of the environments where sediments are deposited
  • have an appreciation that it is possible to reconstruct Earth’s geological history from the sedimentary rock record.