ESC-20126 - Geological Field Skills
Coordinator: Stuart Clarke Room: WSF16 Tel: +44 1782 7 33171
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 30
Study Hours: 300
School Office: 01782 733615

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

This module integrates field skills with structural geology, geophysics, GIS, Surveying, and lab-based data analysis techniques that augment field skills. Students will learn the skills necessary to plan for field projects, including logistics and Health and Safety , literature and data review, and analysis of remotely gathered datasets such as Google Earth and satellite data. Students learn core field skills that are an integral part of the subject, along with knowledge on how to apply them, and the modern lab-based methods that augment fieldwork and with which field data may be analysed, including GIS, photogrammetry and virtual 3D modelling.
Emphasis is placed strongly upon field skills and fieldwork, with the teaching of other components integrated into the aims and assessments of one of more of the key Level 5 field courses (that are part of this module) in order to demonstrate techniques of pre-fieldwork planning or post-fieldwork data analysis. In this way, the module provides students with experience of the necessary field skills for Geology/Geoscience and experience of a range of laboratory skills in the context of how they may be used to full effect to support field based research. In so doing, the module equips and prepares students for their own Level 6 independent research projects, irrespective of pathway. The teaching approach follows that advocated by the commercial sector, and the strong emphasis on field based skills and teaching is in response to the clearly stated needs of employers and funders of academic research in geology.

To introduce and provide experience of the key field skills required of geologists and geoscientists; to introduce and provide experience of modern lab-based data analysis techniques, as well as structural geological and geophysical techniques for data analyses, in the context of the field skills they augment; to provide experience in the use of field skills to interpret the development of geological settings that can not be experienced in the UK as well as those that can; to prepare students with appropriate background knowledge to plan and execute their Level 6 independent research project for their chosen pathway, source relevant literature, and communicate their results though written reports, maps, standard diagrams and data analyses.

Intended Learning Outcomes

record, interpret and analyse observations and measurements of geological features and phenomena whilst in the field, using a range of standard field skills: 1,2
work efficiently as a member of a team and contribute to the presentation of a team project: 2
demonstrate the application of geological and geophysical analyses to the interpretation of field data: 1,2
demonstrate the application of modern lab-based techniques of GIS, digital mapping, photogrammetry and remotely sensed data interpretation to the analysis of field data to augment field analyses: 1,2,3
integrate strands of geology studied at Levels 4 and 5, and relate them to the evolution of major geo-tectonic provinces, including those that can not be experienced within the UK: 1,2,3
design an independent field-based research project, including project planning, logistics, H&S, the application of appropriate pre and post-fieldwork data analysis techniques and source and review published material on a geoscience topic: 3

Study hours

field course study hours 100
Lectures 24
Labs 42
Private study 134 comprising ~70 hours on lecture / lab follow up and consolidation (writing up lecture notes, consolidating theory and reading around the subject) ~20 hours on pre-fieldwork preparation exercises, and ~44 hours on assignment completion. These figures are for indicative purposes only. Students should use their own discretion over how they divide up their private study time based upon their personal circumstances, academic skills, strengths and weaknesses.

School Rules

Students attend two residential field courses as part of this module. They have the option of attending two field courses to UK destinations at no additional cost for transport and accommodation. The option of going to an overseas destination is available for one of the field courses which requires students to pay the additional costs for travel and accommodation above the level to which the UK field course is subsidised.

Description of Module Assessment

1: Report weighted 40%
Field mapping report (UK field course)
Written report of 2000 words length including associated field maps, notebooks and analyses.

2: Portfolio weighted 45%
Field skills related assessments (UK or Overseas Field Course)
Portfolio of field exercises and presentation materials that demonstrate the application of core field skills, augmented by lab-based analyses, to interpret field data. Exercises include individual exercises and contributions to field-based group presentation on a group-researched aspect of the field geology.

3: Report weighted 15%
Level 6 independent project preparation
1800 word literature synthesis on the student's Level 6 Independent Research Project.