Earth Sciences

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Seasonal Arctic summer ice extent still hard to forecast.

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GEOL1013 The Earth



  1. To provide an overview of Earth history using UK geology as backdrop.
  2. To introduce students to practical geological concepts, observations and deductions through field- and lab-based work.
  3. To provide an introduction to the study of planet Earth including:
  • Earth’s origin and formation
  • Earth’s composition and dynamics
  • Earth’s evolution as a complex system


Students should come away with:

  1. an understanding of the fundamental principles, concepts and vocabulary of geology;
  2. an understanding of the concept of geological cycles and how they relate to Earth evolution;
  3. a global perspective of present-day plate tectonic settings and changes during the last 1000 million years;
  4. an overview of the geological evolution of the UK;
  5. the ability to make and record fundamental field observations (e.g. rock characteristics, dip and strike, folding, faulting, unconformities and palaeontology);
  6. the ability to make simple deductions from observed data;
  7. a basic understanding of geological maps and how they record geological data.
  8. an overview of the range of studies that make up the Earth Sciences in order to make informed judgements about future studies at UCL.


This course provides an introduction to the origin, composition, dynamics and evolutionary history of the Earth. It is suitable for students with no previous knowledge of geology and lays a foundation for many other geoscience courses.


  • Grotzinger, Jordan, Press & Siever "Understanding Earth", W H Freeman
  • Marshak "Earth: Portrait of a Planet", Norton
  • Tarbuck, Lutgens & Tasa "Earth", Pearson

Other inspiring reads:

  • Fortey, R., The Hidden Landscape, Cape
Title The Earth
UG Code GEOL1013
Coordinator Prof Graham Shields
Other Contributors Dr Wendy Kirk
Term 1
Credit 0.5 CU
Written Exam 50% (2 hour unseen exam run by the Department; notes NOT permitted)
Coursework 50%: 25% (5 practicals and 1 presentation); 25% (field skills assessment)
Pre-Requisites None for Earth Science and Natural Science students. This course is only availabe to Earth Sciences and Natural Sciences students.
Maths & Stats Content and Requirement  
Total Number of Hours of Student Work 188 hours
Hours of Lectures/Seminars 10 lectures of 1-2 hours each (approximately 20 hours)
Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes 5 assessed practical exercises (worth 5% each) and one non-assessed practical
Hours of Tutorials As needed.
Days of Fieldwork A short fieldtrip (assessment worth 25%)
Other 2 quizzes (self-assessed)

Annual Monitoring

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Categorizing Student Performance Levels
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