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Geology of the Solar System


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor and tutor: Professor Ian Crawford
  • Assessment: two 2000-word assignments (20% each) and a 2.5-hour examination (60%)

Module description

The main objective of this module is to introduce you to the geological histories, and geological processes, of other planets and to illustrate how this knowledge has led to our current understanding of the origin and evolution of the solar system. We will introduce you to planetary geology, beginning with the geology of the Moon and then continuing to consider the other planets and moons of the solar system.

During the module, you will have the opportunity to examine hand specimens and petrographic thin-sections of meteorites and lunar samples, and to conduct analyses of planetary remote-sensing data.

Indicative syllabus

  • Geology of the Moon
  • Impact geology
  • Geology of Mars, Venus and Mercury
  • The giant planets and their moons
  • Pluto and the Kuiper Belt
  • Asteroids and comets
  • Origin of the solar system

Learning objectives

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

  • describe the geology of the Moon and planets
  • explain how our understanding of the geology of other planets has been obtained
  • summarise how our current understanding of planetary geology informs theories of the origin and evolution of the solar system.