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University of Aberdeen

 

Undergraduate Geology And Petroleum Geology 2015-2016

GL1005: THE EARTH THROUGH GEOLOGICAL TIME

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

For 4,500 million years the Earth has been, and still is, a continually evolving Dynamic Planet. The record is held in the rocks and fossils of the present continental landmasses and ocean basins. To deduce the history of the planet geologists must apply a large range of scientific principles and disciplines. These disciplines encompass the biological, chemical and physical sciences. The course provides a basic understanding of how the structure and evolution of the planet are deduced and how this information can be used to discover and extract natural resources such as fossil fuels and ores.




GL1006: THE DYNAMIC PLANET (DISTANCE)

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

Geologists look at the age of the Earth in terms of Millions of years.  They have, over time, had to devise a timescale that allows all geologists to sequence events in the same order as each other.  The geological timescale itself is controlled by geological principles, from relative dating, where ages are determined by whether events are prior to, or after another event, to absolute dating, where the ages of events are determined by numerical years.

GL1505: EARTH'S MATERIALS

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

Following on from GL1005 this course is an introduction to the petrogenesis of three major rock groups; igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. Practical classes will centre around the use of polarizing microscope in the identification of the common rock-forming minerals. The relationship between plate tectonics and the petrogenesis of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including types and styles of volcanic eruptions will be addressed. The formation and fill of sedimentary basins and their importance in the accumulation of hydrocarbons is an integral part of the course.

GL1506: PORTRAIT OF A PLANET (DISTANCE)

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

The rocks, of which the rigid, outer shell of the Earth is made, are themselves composed of a range of different minerals. Igneous rocks, which crystallise from rock melts (magma), contain minerals that reflect the processes operating within and at the margins of the plates that form the rigid shell. Metamorphic rocks are formed in respond to the forces associated with the movement of the plates and/or to changes in temperatures. The weathering and erosion of pre-existing rock formations and the transport and deposition of this debris by ice, wind, water and gravity form most sedimentary rocks.

GL2014: STRATIGRAPHICAL PRINCIPLES

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This course is concerned with absolute and relative time-scales as used by geologists to date geological events and processes.  Absolute dating using isotopic techniques, including the treatment of raw data, forms the cornerstone of the course. The use of the fossil record in relative and absolute dating is integrated with geological maps and absolute dating techniques to give a broad overview of the methods used by geologists to determine sequences of events in Earth’s history.




GL2015: PETROLOGY & MINERALOGY

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

Petrology and mineralogy is a compulsory course for geology students. It covers igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary petrology. The course has a strong practical component and involves the preparation of workbooks based on individual study and practical exercises that use hand specimens, microscope work and chemical data.

GL2510: INTRODUCTION TO FIELD GEOLOGY

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

Field-based observation is an essential skill for understanding the origin of rocks, and is a vital reality-check for understanding how Geological Science is practised and developed. This course gives students experience with techniques for investigating rocks in their natural habitat, studying the crucial relationships between different units, and developing good habits for observing and recording data in the field. Students learn how to perceive geology in 3D, and to develop working hypotheses from incomplete evidence. This is achieved through a five-day residential field trip which is preceded by wide-ranging practical classes and explanatory lectures.  

GL2511: GEOPHYSICS

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course establishes the fundamental principles underlying the main methods of geophysical exploration data and their interpretation as applied to Earth Sciences. This includes some basic principles of continuum mechanics and stress and strain as used in structural geology as well some basic principles of geophysical fluid dynamics as relevant to sediment transport and deposition in sedimentology.

GL2512: INTRODUCTION TO GEOLOGY FOR PETROLEUM ENGINEERS

15 credits

Level 2

Second Sub Session

This course is an introduction to the formation mechanisms and controls on formation of the three major rock groups: igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary. The relationship between plate tectonics and the petrogenesis of igneous and metamorphic rocks, including types and styles of volcanic eruptions will be addressed. The formation and fill of sedimentary basins and their importance in the accumulation of hydrocarbons is an integral part of the course. Practical classes will centre around the nature of geological materials and how the atomic and molecular properties of minerals scale up to the physical properties of rocks.

GL3018: PRINCIPLES OF PETROLEUM GEOLOGY

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course introduces students to the key issues surrounding being a geologist in the petroleum industry.  With the changing nature of hydrocarbon exploration and production, both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons are considered.  The key concepts of the origin and generation of hydrocarbons, reservoir rocks and subsurface reservoir structures (traps) are introduced, together with some of the key techniques used within the industry (e.g. reservoir geology, petrophysics and formation evaluation).  Practical issues such as how hydrocarbon wells are drilled and how rocks are sampled in the subsurface are also considered.

GL3026: FIELD AND MAPPING TECHNIQUES

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course is based on a residential field programme that enables students to directly study geological phenomena and relationships in the field. it provides hands-on experience and develops 3-D approaches to thinking and problem solving.  The learning environment is remote from the university, and encourages students to learn individually and in small group settings. The course covers a range of techniques typically, geological field mapping,  sedimentary logging, and examination of detailed field relationships to enable broader scale conclusions to be drawn. Assessments are undertaken during the actual fieldcourse. The field course is paid for directly by participants.

GL3027: STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY & TECTONICS

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course covers all main aspects of structural geology and tectonics and entails 1 hour lectures and 3 hour practicals each week, together with a field excursion to relatively local geology. The significant practical component allows 'hands on' learning with worked examples being provided by staff. The field excursion allows students to directly apply skills and techniques that have been covered in preceding lectures and practicals. with worked examples then provided in follow-up sessions. The course covers a spectrum of brittle and ductile structures that are developed across a range of scales from microscopic to mountain belt.

GL3029: PETROLEUM GEOLOGY AND RESERVOIR CHARACTERISATION

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

This course aims to introduce participants to the concept of the petroleum system, demonstrating how all the elements are necessary for a conventional accumulation of hydrocarbons.  It will deal particularly with the ways that geologists think – particularly in the exploration phase – and show how explorationists make risked predictions of volumes in frontier areas.  The course looks in detail at reservoir architecture and the factors that influence the performance of reservoirs. The course includes two full days of geological fieldwork.

GL3508: PROJECT/DISSERTATION

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

GL3520: IGNEOUS & METAMORPHIC PETROLOGY

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course is in 2 parts. In part 1, the students explore the links between tectonic setting and magmagenesis, with particular reference to geochemical signatures recorded in the rocks. In part 2, students look at how different bulk protolith compositions control the metamorphic mineral paragenesis, with an emphasis on observing and recording evidence from textures in thin sections. In a world of post-peak oil, exploration for new reserves is now moving to igneous and metamorphic rocks, and a thorough understanding of these rocks is essential for the practising geologist.

GL3521: SEDIMENTOLOGY

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

Sedimentology is fundamental to interpreting past climate and geography from the evidence in the rock record of the environment in which sediment was deposited. This course develops the skills needed to make such interpretations by cultivating proficiency at description and process-based interpretation of sedimentary successions, and showing how study of modern environments is used to decipher sedimentary processes. We review the controls on the preservation of sediments to make the rock record, including an introduction to the concepts of genetic (sequence) stratigraphy, and see how this can improve discovery and recovery of water and hydrocarbon resources in the subsurface.

GL3525: FIELD AND MAPPING TECHNIQUES 2

30 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course teaches the advanced field skills necessary for all practising geologists, and serves as preparation for the summer mapping project (GL4023). The material builds on that covered in GL3026 (Field & Mapping Techniques 1). Preliminary laboratory classes in Semester 2 are used to prepare students for the field exercises on the 10-day field trip. The students will learn how to systematically collect, analyse and present their own field data as part of wider scientific studies.

GL4023: GEOLOGICAL MAPPING PROJECT

45 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

35 days of individual geological field mapping. During the exercise the student will devise and carry out a research project based on an aspect of the area mapped and submit a final map and report.

GL4027: GEOLOGICAL FIELD PROJECT

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

35 days of individual geological field mapping. During the exercise the student will devise and carry out a research project based on an aspect of the area mapped and submit a final map and report.

GL4028: PETROLEUM GEOLOGY: GEOCHEMISTRY AND GEOFLUIDS

30 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

The course will train students in techniques that can be employed especially in petroleum geology, but also in other branches of geology. The techniques focus on the manipulation and interpretation of geochemical data. A 4-day field excursion is embedded within the course, to illustrate petroleum systems, including work in the evenings on organic biomarker data related to the trip, and collection of samples for subsequent laboratory work. Two portfolios of work will be prepared, on unconventional hydrocarbon sources and basin burial histories. This course is excellent preparation for further training in petroleum geology.

GL4527: GEOLOGICAL RESEARCH PROJECT

30 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The geological research project is an individual research project. It is taken by students on a joint geology program, and exceptionally by geology-students. Multidisciplinarity and crossdisciplinarity are encouraged so that students can play to their strengths and interests, but the project is assessed on geological merit.

GL4529: SURFACE AND SUBSURFACE DIGITAL IMAGING

15 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

The subsurface course module will cover the input, storage, management, mapping and image process of seismic dataset. The module will be taught through laboratory practicals supported by short introductory lectures to the seismic acquisition, processing and interpretation and that will cover general theories, methodologies and applications. The laboratory exercises will be based on using and implementing Petrel and Midland Valley’s Move software to solve a range of issues and to highlight their use for seismic interpretation and test.

GL4530: GEOLOGICAL SYNTHESIS

15 credits

Level 4

Second Sub Session

Students will take a number of approaches to synthesizing information, especially directed to petroleum geology. Six case studies in petroleum exploration topics will be presented, based on the special expertise of staff. Students will write up a synthesis of one study, using sources provided by staff. In groups, students will address topics to be researched, co-ordinated and written up in 7 hours, simulating rapid response to management in an oil company office. There will also be 2 one-day field excursions, each followed by data synthesis and submission of a report.

GL5040: INTEGRATED SEDIMENTARY BASIN SYSTEMS

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

The aim of this course is to develop skills in integrative earth science, pulling together modern research on sedimentary basin evolution and applying this to fieldwork in a sedimentary basin system.
Fieldwork is a compulsory part of this course. Fieldwork may involve crossing rough terrain, including steep gradients, rocky areas and along cliffs, and may take place during inclement weather. Any student with concerns about this, who feels adjustments or additional support may be required, should contact the University's Disability Adviser or the Department Disability Co-ordinator as early as possible.

GL5041: GEOSCIENCE RESEARCH SKILLS AND DATA ANALYSIS

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

The aim of this course is to develop critical thinking, presentation and project design skills for research together with an enhancement of the necessary skills in numeracy, data manipulation and data interpretation. The course involves substantial workshop-based and student-led practical work designed to provide direct experience of these key components.

GL5042: THE BASIN FILL

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

The aim of this course is to develop skills in analysing and interpreting the geological materials that fill sedimentary basins. This course involves a combination of theory and practical work, including lectures, and a 4-5 day field class to sedimentary systems. After completing the course students are expected to be able to:

Make and record primary sedimentological and allied stratigraphic observations;

Recognise and analyse the geological record of a range of depositional environments;

Apply methods of sequence stratigraphy to predict facies variations in space and time;

Relate depositional systems to underlying tectonic and climatic processes.

GL5043: GEOLOGICAL MODELS

15 credits

Level 5

First Sub Session

The aim of this course is to develop skills in applying geological models in scientific investigations, especially in the prediction of subsurface structure and properties, together with the validation of structural interpretations.
The course involves substantial workshop-based and student-led practical work designed to provide direct experience of these key components.

GL5507: RESEARCH PROJECT

60 credits

Level 5

Second Sub Session

A substantial research project is a key element of the MGeol programme which gives students the opportunity to tackle a piece of original earth science that is supported by structured tutorial sessions. The project can be drawn from any area of geoscience relevant to the central theme of sedimentary basins subject to the availability of data and advisor expertise. At the end of the project you will prepare a technical report, a short public-facing account of your findings and give an illustrated oral presentation. Project work is highly valued by employers and recruiters as indicators of independence and endeavour.

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