UCL Earth Sciences


GEOL0015 Maps, Images and Structures

This course comprises mapping training in the field prior to the start of the second year, following by practical work understanding and interpreting geological maps.

Coordinator: Dr Alex Clarke

Module details
TitleMaps, Images and Structures 
UG CodeGEOL0015
CoordinatorDr Alex Clarke
Other ContributorsProf Tom Mitchell
Credit15 credits
Written Exam 
Coursework100% (50% fieldwork exercises; 50% practical exercises)
Pre-RequisitesGEOL0007 The Earth; GEOL0015 is required for GEOL0010 Surface Processes and Structures
Maths & Stats Content and RequirementGCSE Maths.
Total Number of Hours of Student Work188 hours
Hours of Lectures/Seminars20 hours
Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes20 hours
Hours of Tutorials0
Days of Fieldwork7 days

The course aims to introduce geological structures and the construction of geological maps, with some reference to air photographs or satellite images. It will teach elements of map interpretation including the construction and analysis of cross sections, three-point problems and the concept and uses of structural contours. Lectures and labs will introduce the field description and interpretation of geological structures. A geological field trip will take place prior to the start of the course, and will introduce students to the techniques of geological mapping.  The student field slips will form the basis of the construction of a digital map using Adobe Illustrator.


To enable students to analyze geological maps and begin to observe, record and interpret geological outcrops in the field.  To provide students with an introduction to the morphological and mechanistic features of structural geology, as well as all the types of structure likely to be encountered by students undertaking field mapping in later years.


By the end of the course, the student should:

  • have acquired knowledge of classification and terminology associated with different geological structures, and a broad understanding of how they form;
  • be able to engage in structural synthesis and interpretation of problem maps and geological survey maps;
  • have gained field experience of basic geological mapping techniques and produced a fair copy map and report
  • be able to draw a simple digital geological map