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GEOL0023 Crustal Dynamics and Mountain Building

The Betics field course is designed as a problem-based approach and offers experience-based learning with a holistic approach on different scales to geological problem solving. Third and Fourth Year students are provided with an up-to-date perspective on micro- to macro-scale geological features and processes in the geological framework of crustal evolution and dynamics.

Coordinator: Prof David Dobson and Dr Frances Cooper

Module details
TitleCrustal Dynamics and Mountain Building
UG CodeGEOL0023
CoordinatorDr Frances Cooper/Prof David Dobson
Other Contributors 
Term
Credit15 credits
Oral Exam 
Coursework100% including field notebook, report, and a department-run test (viva voce) 
Pre-RequisitesGEOL0004 Dynamic EarthGEOL0006 Surface ProcessesGEOL0010 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy; GEOL0015 Maps, Images & Structures; GEOL0016 Structural Geology & Tectonics
Maths & Stats Content and Requirement 
Total Number of Hours of Student Work188 hours
Hours of Lectures/Seminars9 days in the Betic Cordillera (plus 2 travel days either side)
Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes 
Hours of TutorialsAs needed
Days of Fieldwork9 days
OtherNone
Content

The field course is designed as a problem-based approach and offers experience-based learning. It provides Third and Fourth Year students with an up-to-date perspective on micro- to macro-scale geological features and processes in the geological framework of crustal evolution and dynamics. It is suited to undergraduate students who have fulfilled the pre-requisites or to masters’ students with a strong background in field geology. It is NOT suitable for students without a geology background.

The course covers: Mountain building processes; plate tectonics; continent-continent collision; continental extension and rifting; strike-slip faulting; basin development; basin inversion; magmatic, metamorphic, and sedimentary signatures of continental compression and extension; volcanism; and passive continental margins. All major rock types are addressed, including mantle material (Rhonda peridotite), metamorphic rocks formed under a range of P-T conditions (greenschist to granulite); collision- and extension-related volcanic rocks (Cabo de Gata); deep water gravity deposits (turbidites, debris flows); reef limestones; alluvial sedimentary rocks; Cretaceous anoxic events; and evaporite deposits formed during the Messinian salinity crisis.

Why the Betics? The Betic Cordillera offers an exceptional opportunity for students to synthesise the broad range of geological knowledge they have acquired during their studies and apply it to a uniquely complicated system. The combination of great geology, superb exposure, easy access, and great weather makes this trip one not to miss!

ASSESSMENT

1) Notebooks
Notebooks are collected and marked for both formative and summative assessment.  Some days include specific exercises in addition to maintaining a well-kept notebook of your geological observations.  You will receive instructions about these exercises whilst in the field and you should perform the work in your notebooks or on additional sheets that you will be provided with.  All components will contribute to your notebook assessment mark.

2) Summary Report
Students will use their notes and field observations together with information in the field guide and relevant published articles to produce a summary report on "The geological evolution of the Betic Cordillera from the Palaeozoic to the Neogene". Particular weight in the marking will be placed on the evidence provided from students’ own field observations. 
Word count: 2,000 words + figures, tables, maps etc. Captions are not included in the word count.

3) Departmental test
A viva voce during which students will be asked questions about the Betic Cordillera and relevant geological processes with reference to specific outcrops and exercises.

AIMS

To teach students a holistic approach on different scales to geological problem solving applying most of the skills they have learned during their degree programme. This module is entirely taught in the field (Betic Cordillera, S. Spain).

OUTCOMES

At the end of the field course the students should understand and be able to apply how a holistic small-scale approach can unravel the geological history of large-scale geological processes and features.