Welcome to Geology at Keele


Geology Society Accreditation Our past and present students often tell us how much they have enjoyed themselves and learnt from their experience at Keele, and as you start your degree I am sure that you will gain as much from your time here as they have. Certainly you will learn a whole range of academic and practical skills that will be of value not only in your studies and future career, but in your whole life.

Fieldwork will play an important part in this experience, with field courses based not only in the UK but also overseas. Your first field course is an introductory geological field excursion to Ercall Quarries in Shropshire, which is likely to take place on Sunday 21st October. Please keep this date free of other commitments as this field course is a compulsory part of the Geology programmes, and the material covered will form the basis of future field excursions. More information will be provided about this field course when you arrive.

My colleagues and I look forward to meeting you at the start of the new academic year and we hope that you make the most of your opportunities here.

Stimpson_Ian 90x90 Best wishes

Dr Ian Stimpson
Geology Course Director

Preparing to come

Geology Field Shot It is not necessary that you carry out any specific preparation for your degree studies in Geology during the summer vacation as all aspects of the subject will be covered from basics. If, however, you are keen to get started, then visit your local library and borrow a few books on general geology; any texts on the topics of rocks, minerals, fossils and the solid Earth will help you become familiar with some of the main geological concepts and processes, as well as the terminology. We suggest something like “Earth - Portrait of a Planet” by Stephen Marshak.

In addition, the following list contains the main text books that we recommend to enhance your understanding of the topics that you will study in year 1, it is not essential that you buy these texts as multiple copies are available in the University library when you arrive:

  • Barnes, J.W. and Lisle, R.J. 2003. Basic Geological Mapping (Geological Field Guide). Fourth Edition. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Benton, M. and Harper, D. 2009. Basic Palaeontology. Pearson, Prentice Hall.
  • Collinson, J.D. Mountney, N. and Thompson, D.B. 2006. Sedimentary Structures. Third Edition. Terra Publishing.
  • Foote, M. and Miller, A.I. 2007. Principles of Paleontology. Freeman.
  • Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T.H., Press, F. and Siever, R. 2006. Understanding Earth Sixth Edition. Freeman.
  • Kearey, P., Klepeis, K.A. and Vine, F.J. 2009. Global Tectonics. Third Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Fossen, H. 2016. Structural Geology. Second Edition, Cambridge University Press.
  • Tucker, M.E. 2001. Sedimentary Petrology: An Introduction. Third Edition. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Winter, J.D. 2013. An Introduction to Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology. Second Edition. Prentice Hall.

Other essential equipment to bring:

An electronic calculator (with basic scientific functions such as tan, sin, cos) or a smart phone with calculator app.

Basic drawing equipment, including coloured pens and pencils, a protractor and a stapler.

Waterproof clothing and stout shoes (e.g. walking boots) will be needed for fieldwork.


Starting Arrangements

Tarn We plan to ease you gently into life at Keele with a series of introductory sessions in the first week. These will introduce you to the course and the ways of taking notes in lectures and in the field, both important skills in succeeding at university.  Please check the venues of these sessions on your electronic timetable as they could change at short notice.

Monday 24th September 2018: 2pm – 4pm in WS0.06: This session will introduce you to the Geology Programmes and life in the School of Geography, Geology and the Environment. Please make sure that you attend this talk, as important information will be provided on all aspects of your degree course and it will help you settle in.

Tuesday 25th September 2018: 9am – 11am in WS0.06: The second session covers lecture note taking skills at university and includes the first lecture of the Earth Structure and History module.

Thursday 27th September 2018: 10am – 1 pm in WS0.16: The final welcome week session starts in the Cope Laboratory.
This will be a practical and field-based skills based session, which will involve some work outdoors so you should bring some waterproof clothing and stout shoes (e.g. walking boots) with you, but more details will be made available at the Tuesday session. We finish with a welcome buffet lunch reception where you will meet the Geology staff.


Pembroke field trip For many Geology students, the fieldwork they undertake is the highlight of their degree. In fact, fieldwork is an essential part of a geologist's training and is intended to supplement formal class teaching and develop the skills of observing and recording.

Classic geological areas within the British Isles are within easy reach of Keele and, together with an overseas field course, enable you to study the geological evolution of fundamentally different geological regimes.

The provisional field course programme for 2018/19 is provided in the following table:



Ercall Quarries, Shropshire

21 October 2018

Palaeontology Excursion, Birmingham

10 November 2018

Wenlock Edge, Shropshire

23 March 2019

Pembrokeshire, South Wales

6 to 13 April 2019

Llangollen, North Wales

30 and 31 March 2019

Snowdonia, North Wales

21 to 28 September 2019

*The dates of the above field courses are currently provisional, but will be confirmed by the beginning of semester.

Fieldwork Costs: The cost of first year fieldwork transport and accommodation is borne by the School and first year fieldwork is free (there is a free fieldwork pathway possible through your whole degree), but you will need to provide your own food.

Fieldwork Equipment: All year 1 Geology students are provided with a field equipment pack, including a compass-clinometer, hard hat, hand lens, grain size chart, etc. We buy these essential items for you and they will be given to you in week 1. The following equipment is also essential for geological fieldwork and it is recommended that you try to purchase these items in time for your first field course to Ercall Quarries:

  • A hard-bound field notebook**
  • Drawing pens (0.35 mm or less, black, blue, red and green waterproof ink)**.
  • Waterproof jacket and over-trousers (essential).
  • Strong walking boots (essential).
  • A clipboard (at least A4-size) or a plastic map case for protection against the weather).
  • A standard propelling type pencil and coloured pencils
  • Small first aid kit.
  • A day sack for use in the field.
  • A digital camera is also useful for recording features of interest.

** We buy these items in bulk and can sell them to you at cost price

Additional Info

In Snowdonia

Feel free to contact the Geology course director, Dr Ian Stimpson (email: i.g.stimpson@keele.ac.uk), if you have any specific questions.