Skip to Content


Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

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.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Alex Brasier

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Programme Level 2

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • GL2010 Palaeontology (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

  • absolute dating - Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, U-Pb, K-Ar & Ar-Ar systematics and the treatment of raw data (mineral and whole-rock)
  • relative timing of geological events from geological maps
  • basic principles of facies analysis
  • case studies of integrated used of time, sequencing and interpretative stratigraphical tools based on published geological maps.
  • Further Information & Notes

    Students with 'A' level Geology or equivalent may be exempt from the GL 1005 prerequisite. Students who have taken and passed KL 107X or KL 157X or equivalent make take this course subject to prior permission of the course coordinator.

    Contact Teaching Time

    Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

    Teaching Breakdown

    • 1 Computer Practical during University weeks 8, 15
    • 1 Science Laboratory during University weeks 9 - 14, 16 - 17
    • 2 Lectures during University week7
    • 1 Lecture during University weeks 8 - 17
    • 1 Support Tutorial during University weeks 8 - 13

    More Information about Week Numbers

    Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

    Summative Assessments

    1st Attempt: in-course assessment (60%) - lab work (geochronology calculations and report; map interpretation) (40%) examination - 1½ hours.

    Resit: Original in-course assessment (60%); Examination (40%) - 1½ hours.

    Formative Assessment

    Informal progress reports on lab work - interim marking of lab-based exercises. WebCT MCQ tests three times a term.


    Formative: Verbal report, WebCT Summative: written feedback normally within 2 weeks of original sumbmission.

    Course Learning Outcomes


    Compatibility Mode

    We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.