Geology and Geophysics

GEOLOGY AND GEOPHYSICS

Advanced coursework and projects will be available in 2020 for students who complete this major.

Geology and Geophysics major

A major in Geology and Geophysics requires 48 credit points from this table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 12 credit points of 3000-level core units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level core interdisciplinary project units
(v) 6 credit points of 3000-level disciplinary selective or interdisciplinary project selective units

Geology and Geophysics minor

A minor in Geology and Geophysics requires 36 credit points from this table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 12 credit points of 3000-level core units

Units of study

The units of study are listed below.

1000-level units of study

Core
GEOS1001 Earth, Environment and Society

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Bill Pritchard, Dr Sabin Zahirovic, Dr Bree Morgan, A/Prof Damien Field Session: Semester 1 Classes: One 2 hour lecture and one 2 hour practical per week. Prohibitions: GEOS1901 or GEOG1001 or GEOG1002 or GEOL1001 or GEOL1002 or GEOL1902 or ENSY1001 Assessment: Exam (40%), 2000 word essay (25%), practical reports (15%), presentation (20%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This is the gateway unit of study for Human Geography, Physical Geography, Environmental Studies and Geology. Its objective is to introduce the big questions relating to the origins and current state of the planet: climate change, environment, landscape formation, and the growth of the human population. During the semester you will be introduced to knowledge, theories and debates about how the world's physical and human systems operate. The first module investigates the evolution of the planet through geological time, with a focus on major Earth systems such as plate tectonics and mantle convection and their interaction with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and human civilisations. The second module presents Earth as an evolving and dynamic planet, investigating global environmental change, addressing climate variability and human impacts on the natural environment and the rate at which these changes occur and how they have the potential to dramatically affect the way we live. Finally, the third module, focuses on human-induced challenges to Earth's future. This part of the unit critically analyses the relationships between people and their environments, with central consideration to debates on population change, resource use and the policy contexts of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
GEOS1003 Introduction to Geology

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Tom Hubble Session: Semester 2,Summer Main Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour practical per week Prohibitions: GEOS1903 or GEOL1002 or GEOL1902 or GEOL1501 Assessment: One 2 hour exam, quizzes, tests, practical reports, field report (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The aim of this unit of study is to examine the chemical and physical processes involved in mineral formation, the interior of the Earth, surface features, sedimentary environments, volcanoes, and metamorphism. Lectures and laboratory sessions on mountain building processes and the formation of mineral deposits will lead to an understanding of the forces controlling the geology of our planet. Processes such as weathering, erosion and nature of sedimentary environments are related to the origin of the Australian landscape. In addition to laboratory classes there is a one-day excursion to the western Blue Mountains and Lithgow to examine geological objects in their setting.
Textbooks
The recommended text is is Christiansen, E. H., and Hamblin, W. K. (2015). Dynamic earth: An introduction to physical geology. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
GEOS1901 Earth, Environment and Society Advanced

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Bill Pritchard, Dr Sabin Zahirovic, Dr Bree Morgan, A/Prof Damien Field Session: Semester 1 Classes: One 2 hour lecture and one 2 hour practical per week. Prohibitions: GEOS1001 or GEOG1001 or GEOG1002 or GEOL1001 or GEOL1002 or GEOL1902 or ENSY1001 Assumed knowledge: (ATAR 90 or above) or equivalent Assessment: Exam (40%), 2000 word essay (25%), practical reports (15%), presentation (20%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
Advanced students will complete the same core lecture material as for GEOS1001, but will be required to carry out more challenging practical assignments.
GEOS1903 Introduction to Geology (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Tom Hubble Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour practical per week, field classes. Prohibitions: GEOS1003 or GEOL1002 or GEOL1902 Assumed knowledge: (ATAR 90 or above) or equivalent Assessment: One 2 hour exam, tests, quizzes, practical reports, field report (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
This unit has the same objectives as GEOS1003 and is suitable for students who wish to pursue aspects of the subject in greater depth. Entry is restricted and selection is made from the applicants on the basis of their ATAR or UAI and/or their university performance at the time of enrolment. Students that elect to take this unit will participate in alternatives to some aspects of the standard unit and will be required to pursue independent work to meet unit objectives. This unit may be taken as part of the BSc (Advanced).
Textbooks
The recommended text is Christiansen, E. H., and Hamblin, W. K. (2015). Dynamic earth: An introduction to physical geology. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

2000-level units of study

Core
GEOS2114 Volcanoes, Hot Rocks and Minerals

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Derek Wyman, A/Prof Patrice Rey Session: Semester 1 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour practical per week. Prerequisites: A minimum of one unit of study from the following (GEOG1001, GEOL1001, GEOL1002, GEOS1003, GEOS1903, ENVI1002, GEOL1902, GEOL1501), and 24 credit points of Junior Science units of study. Prohibitions: GEOL2111 or GEOL2911 or GEOS2914 Assessment: One 2 hour exam, practical reports, field trip report, group presentation (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: An optional volcano field study trip to New Zealand's North Island in February is available for up to 20 students. Extra costs apply. Contact with the School in the preceding November or December is advisable to secure a place on the trip.
This unit of study relates plate tectonics to a) volcanoes and magma systems that create them; b) the formation of precious metal and gemstone ores; and c) an understanding of how Earth's materials (minerals, rocks, rock formations, lithospheric plates etc.) respond to stresses and the forces that deform them. Methods of analysis involve studies at the microscopic scale (performed on thin sections) and the mesoscopic scale performed on hand specimens and outcrops. The unit includes a day field trip to study an extinct volcano in NSW. Practical work includes independent study of igneous systems, rocks and minerals employing both microscope-based techniques and computer modelling.
GEOS2124 Fossils and Tectonics

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Patrice Rey (Coordinator), Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures plus one 2 hour practical each week. Prerequisites: 24cp of 1000-level units of study, including (GEOS1003 or GEOS1903) and (GEOS2114 or GEOS2914) Prohibitions: GEOL2123 or GEOL2124 or GEOS2924 Assessment: One 2 hour exam, practical reports, field report (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The unit aims to convey how fossils, stratigraphic and structural data are used together to determine ages and environments and the deformation history of rock layers. It covers an introduction to historical geology and the evolution of the major fossils groups. Methods of stratigraphic age determination include litho-, bio-, chemo-, magneto- stratigraphy, as well as radiometric geochronology and the stratigraphic characteristics of the main geological time intervals. Structural methods are focused on brittle deformation in the upper crust and sediments. Students will gain familiarity with the most important fossil groups and how to identify them, and with the most important types of faults and folds. The formation of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas will also be covered in an earth history and resource exploration context. The simultaneous use of fossils, stratigraphy and structure to unravel the geological history of a set of exposed rock layers is demonstrated during a field excursion to Yass.
Textbooks
Class notes for the stratigraphy and fossils part will be available for purchase from The University Copy Centre.
GEOS2914 Volcanoes, Hot Rocks and Minerals Adv

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Derek Wyman, A/Prof Patrice Rey, Dr Nicolas Flament Session: Semester 1 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour practical per week. Prerequisites: 24 credit points of Junior Science units of study and Distinction in (GEOL1002 or GEOS1002 or ENVI1002 or GEOL1501 or GEOL1902 or GEOS1902 or GEOS1003 or GEOS1903). Prohibitions: GEOS2114 or GEOL2001 Assessment: One 2 hour exam, practical reports, field trip report, group presentation (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: An optional volcano field study trip to New Zealand's North Island in February is available for up to 20 students. Extra costs apply. Contact with the School is the preceding November or December is advisable to secure a place on the trip.
This unit has the same objectives as GEOS2114 and is suitable for students who wish to pursue aspects of the subject in greater depth. Entry is restricted and selection is made from the applicants on the basis of their performance to date. Students that elect to take this unit will participate in alternatives to some aspects of the standard unit and will be required to pursue independent work to meet unit objectives. This unit may be taken as part of the BSc (Advanced).
Textbooks
No required textbook. Course notes available.
GEOS2924 Fossils and Tectonics (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Patrice Rey (Coordinator), Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures plus one 2 hour practical each week. Prerequisites: A mark of 75 or above in [(GEOS1003 or GEOS1903) or (GEOS2114 or GEOS2914)] Prohibitions: GEOL2123 or GEOL2124 or GEOS2124 Assessment: One 2 hour exam, practical reports, field report (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit has the same objectives as GEOS2124 and is suitable for students who wish to pursue aspects of the subject in greater depth. Entry is restricted and selection is made from the applicants on the basis of their performance to date. Students that elect to take this unit will participate in alternatives to some aspects of the standard unit and will be required to pursue independent work to meet unit objectives. This unit may be taken as part of the BSc (Advanced).
Textbooks
The same as for GEOS2124.

3000-level units of study

Core
GEOS3008 Field Geology

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Geoffrey Clarke Session: Intensive July Classes: 14 days of field work (weeks 1-7) Prerequisites: GEOS2124 or GEOS2924 Prohibitions: GEOL3103 or GEOS3908 Assessment: The field work will be assessed by written reports (up to 10 pages in total), field exercises and practical tests (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
This unit is an essential component of the Geology and Geophysics major. Students will undertake a range of exercises, including: the field mapping and the analysis of geological objects in the field, in weakly to complexly deformed sedimentary and volcanic sequences; the field investigations of mineral deposits and their relationships to host rocks; and the practical application of geophysical methods in field mapping. The field course complements other subject areas in Geology and Geophysics and will give students experience in the field identification of rocks and minerals, regional geology, stratigraphy, structure and rock relationships. The educational objectives of the excursion involve concentrated learning met in two compulsory one-day workshops and the field excursion. Due to the nature of the exercises, there are no alternatives to attending the excursion and workshops, and students must attend and satisfactorily complete all components of the unit to pass. Students will be required to pay the cost of transport and hostel-style accommodation during fieldwork, which may involve camping. All participants need be physically capable of completing day walks at remote locations in central Australia, have previously discussed with the School any personal health and safety issues that could affect their participation in remote area fieldwork, and must submit a signed student travel form that includes up-to-date emergency contact details. In addition, it expected that students will have attained competency in HLTFA311A Apply First Aid (or equivalent) through a registered training organization.
GEOS3908 Field Geology (Adv)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Geoffrey Clarke Session: Intensive July Classes: 14 days of fieldwork. Prerequisites: Credit or greater in (GEOS2124 or GEOS2924) Prohibitions: GEOS3008 Assessment: Written reports and field exercises (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Department permission required for enrolment
This unit has the same objectives as GEOS3008 and is suitable for students who wish to pursue aspects of the subject in greater depth. Entry is restricted and selection is made from the applicants on the basis of their performance at the time of enrolment. Students who elect to take this unit will participate in alternatives to some aspects of the standard unit and will be required to pursue independent work to meet unit objectives. Specific details for this unit of study will be announced in meetings with students in week prior to the field camp which is usually in the break between semester 1 and 2. This unit of study may be taken as part of the BSc (Advanced).
GEOS3101 Earth's Structure and Evolution

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Patrice Rey Session: Semester 1 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour tutorial/practical class per week, and a 3-day excursion. Prerequisites: (GEOS2114 or GEOS2914) and (GEOS2124 or GEOS2924) Prohibitions: GEOS3801 or GEOS3003 or GEOS3903 or GEOS3004 or GEOS3904 or GEOS3006 or GEOS3906 or GEOS3017 or GEOS3917 Assessment: One 2 hour exam, practical and field reports (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
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.
GEOS3801 Earth's Structure and Evolutions (Adv)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Patrice Rey Session: Semester 1 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour tutorial/practical class per week. Prerequisites: A mark of 75 or above in [(GEOS2114 or GEOS2914) and (GEOS2124 or GEOS2924)] Prohibitions: GEOS3101 or GEOS3003 or GEOS3903 or GEOS3004 or GEOS3904 or GEOS3006 or GEOS3906 or GEOS3017 or GEOS3917 Assessment: One 2 hour exam, practical and field reports (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Prerequisites: Students who have a credit average for all Geoscience units may enrol in this unit with the permission of the Head of School.
This unit has the same objectives as GEOS3101 and is suitable for students who wish to pursue aspects of the subject in greater depth. Entry is restricted and selection is made from the applicants on the basis of their performance at the time of enrolment. Students who elect to take this unit will participate in alternatives to some aspects of the standard unit and will be required to pursue independent work to meet unit objectives. Specific details for this unit of study will be announced in meetings with students in week 1 of semester.
Core Interdisciplinary project
GEOL3888 Economic Geology Interdisciplinary Project

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: A/Prof Derek Wyman Session: Semester 1 Classes: Weeks 1- 7: lecture 2 hrs/week ; practical 3 hours/week Weeks 8-13: mentoring sessions 2 hrs/week; shared practical space availble 3 hours/week Prerequisites: GEOS2X14 and GEOS2X24 Prohibitions: GEOS3102 or GEOS3802 or GEOS3003 or GEOS3004 or GEOS3904 or GEOS3006 or GEOS3906 or GEOS3017 or GEOS3917 or GEOS3903 Assessment: Practicals (10% individual), Final Exam (40% individual), Research Brief (10% individual - project component), Project Report (25% group), Group Presentation and teamwork (15% group) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
The extraction of natural resources is critical to the Australian economy and to modern technologies but involves complex economic, environmental and societal issues. This unit introduces the multidisciplinary concept of ore deposits, which are the product of complex interactions between rocks, fluids and deformation including, fluid-assisted earthquakes in subduction zones, partial melting of the mantle, magma mixing and the transfer of heat energy and metals into seafloor black smokers where sulphides bodies form. The social license needed for the exploration and mining of these systems demands that economic interests are balanced with environment sustainability and long-term wellbeing of local communities. Using the Geology of Australia as a natural laboratory, this unit of study presents the geology of ore deposits within a social, environmental and global economic context. The unit will employ the mineral system approach combining plate tectonic reconstructions, satellite data, virtual core libraries, geochemical data, field observations and microscopic observations. Organized in multi-disciplinary teams, students will compare known regions of mineralization with potential new mining districts as they address the social and environmental impact of exploration and mining.
Disciplinary Selective
GEOS3103 Environmental and Sedimentary Geology

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Dan Penny (Coordinator), Dr. Adriana Dutkiewicz Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour tutorial/practical class per week Prerequisites: (GEOS2114 or GEOS2914) and (GEOS2124 or GEOS2924) Prohibitions: GEOS3803 Assumed knowledge: (GEOS1003 or GEOS1903) Assessment: One 2 hour exam, practical reports and quizes (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Sediments and sedimentary rocks cover most of the Earth's surface, record much of the Earth's geological and climatic history and host important resources such as petroleum, coal, water and mineral ores. The aim of this unit is to provide students with the skills required to examine, describe and interpret sediments and sedimentary rocks for a variety of different purposes. Specific foci of the unit will be the identification of the recent or ancient environment in which sedimentary materials were deposited, the environmental controls which produce sedimentary structures, and the processes that control the production, movement and storage of sediment bodies. On completion of this unit students will be familiar with the natural processes that produce and modify sediments across a range of environments at the Earth's surface, including fluvial, aeolian, lacustrine, marginal marine and deep marine environments. The various controls on the sedimentary record such as climate and sea-level change, as well as diagenesis and geochemical cycles will also be discussed. Practical exercises will require students to examine global datasets, and determine the properties and significance of sediments and sedimentary rocks. The course is relevant to students interested in petroleum or mineral exploration, environmental and engineering geology as well as marine geoscience.
Textbooks
Course notes will be available from the Copy Centre and an appropriate set of reference texts will be placed on special reserve in the library.
GEOS3104 Geophysical Methods

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Dietmar Muller Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour practical class per week. Prerequisites: (GEOS2114 or GEOS2914) and (GEOS2124 or GEOS2924) Prohibitions: GEOS3804 or GEOS3003 or GEOS3006 or GEOS3016 or GEOS3017 or GEOS3903 or GEOS3906 or GEOS3916 or GEOS3917 or GEOS3004 Assessment: One 2 hour exam (50%), practical work (50%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit introduces the common geophysical methods used to investigate the interior and dynamics of the Earth and focuses on the techniques used for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration. On completion of this unit students will have developed a thorough understanding of the common geophysical methods utilised in industry and academia. They will be able to evaluate and critically assess most forms of geophysical data as well as actively participate in geophysical exploration. The course will provide the students with the computational skills to process different types of geophysical data and link them to simulations of Earth processes through time, especially focussing on linking deep Earth and surface processes, such as subsidence/uplift and erosion/sedimentation. The unit is aimed at students with interests in land-based and marine exploration, plate tectonics, internal earth structure/dynamics, and near-surface investigations of groundwater resources and environmental pollution. Students wishing to specialise in the field and become professional geophysicists will need to expand upon the geophysics knowledge gained from this unit and either complete an honours project or progress to postgraduate coursework in this field.
GEOS3803 Environmental and Sedimentary Geology(Adv)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Dan Penny (Coordinator), Dr. Adriana Dutkiewicz Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour tutorial/practical class per week. Prerequisites: A mark of 75 or above in [(GEOS2114 or GEOS2914) and (GEOS2124 or GEOS2924)] Prohibitions: GEOS3103 Assumed knowledge: (GEOS1003 or GEOS1903) Assessment: One 2 hour exam, practical, field reports and quizzes (100%) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Students who have a credit average for all Geoscience units may enrol in this unit with the permission of the Head of School.
This unit has the same objectives as GEOS3103 and is suitable for students who wish to pursue aspects of the subject in greater depth. Entry is restricted and selection is made from the applicants on the basis of their performance at the time of enrolment. Students who elect to take this unit will participate in alternatives to some aspects of the standard unit and will be required to pursue independent work to meet unit objectives. Specific details for this unit of study will be announced in meetings with students in week 1 of semester.
Textbooks
Course notes will be available from the Copy Centre and appropriate set of reference texts will be placed on special reserve in the library.
GEOS3804 Geophysical Methods (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Prof Dietmar Muller Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1 hour lectures and one 3 hour practical class per week. Prerequisites: A mark of 75 or above in [(GEOS2114 or GEOS2914) and (GEOS2124 or GEOS2924)] Prohibitions: GEOS3104 or GEOS3003 or GEOS3006 or GEOS3016 or GEOS3017 or GEOS3903 or GEOS3906 or GEOS3916 or GEOS3917 Assessment: One 2 hour exam, practical work (100%) Practical field work: Geophysical Field Prac (details to be announced) Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
Note: Students who have a credit average for all Geoscience units may enrol in this unit with the permission of the Head of School.
This unit has the same objectives as GEOS3104 and is suitable for students who wish to pursue aspects of the subject in greater depth. Entry is restricted and selection is made from the applicants on the basis of their performance at the time of enrolment. Students who elect to take this unit will participate in alternatives to some aspects of the standard unit and will be required to pursue independant work to meet unit objectives. Specific details for this unit of study will be announced in meetings with students in week 1 of semester.
Interdisciplinary Project Selective
SCPU3001 Science Interdisciplinary Project

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Pauline Ross Session: Intensive December,Intensive February,Intensive January,Intensive July,Semester 1,Semester 2 Classes: The unit consists of one seminar/workshop per week with accompanying online materials and a project to be determined in consultation with the partner organisation and completed as part of team with academic supervision. Prerequisites: Completion of 2000-level units required for at least one Science major. Assessment: group plan, group presentation, reflective journal, group project Mode of delivery: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) day
This unit is designed for students who are concurrently enrolled in at least one 3000-level Science Table A unit of study to undertake a project that allows them to work with one of the University's industry and community partners. Students will work in teams on a real-world problem provided by the partner. This experience will allow students to apply their academic skills and disciplinary knowledge to a real-world issue in an authentic and meaningful way. Participation in this unit will require students to submit an application to the Faculty of Science.