Earth's Structure and Evolution (GEOS3101)


The Earth's crust and upper mantle, or lithosphere, are a consequence of dynamic and thermal processes operating since the beginning of the Archaean. This unit focuses on information and techniques that enable an understanding of these processes. The main topics presented in this unit include: the formation and evolution of oceanic and continental lithosphere; tectonic deformation, magmatism and metamorphism at plate boundaries; and the mesoscopic and microscopic analysis of igneous and metamorphic rocks. Practical classes and field exercises are designed to enable students to competently and independently identify the common crystalline rocks in hand-specimen; and to gather and interpret the structural field data which enables the determination of the structural style and deformational history presented in particular tectonic settings. The concepts and content presented in this unit are generally considered to be essential knowledge for geologists and geophysicists and provide a conceptual framework for their professional practice. Students wishing to specialise in the field and become professional geologists will normally need to expand upon the knowledge gained from this unit and either complete an honours project or progress to postgraduate coursework in this field.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour tutorial/practical class per week, and a 3-day excursion.


One 2 hour exam, practical and field reports (100%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

(GEOS2114 or GEOS2914) and (GEOS2124 or GEOS2924); or 24 credit points of Intermediate Science units of study and GEOS1003 or GEOS1903

GEOS2114 and GEOS2124


GEOS3801 or GEOS3003 or GEOS3903 or GEOS3004 or GEOS3904 or GEOS3006 or GEOS3906 or GEOS3017 or GEOS3917

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.