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Undergraduate Geology and Geophysics 2021-2022

GL1005: THE NATURE OF THE ENVIRONMENT 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.




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, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, including types and styles of volcanic eruptions will be addressed.

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.

GL2017: EARTH’S LIFE, ENVIRONMENTS AND CLIMATE THROUGH TIME

15 credits

Level 2

First Sub Session

This course explores how Earth’s life, environments and climate have changed through the history of the planet, from its origins until the Recent past. This exciting story, including for example Earth-covering “snowball” glaciations, mass extinctions, and the origins of life on land, is unravelled by looking at fossils, sedimentary rocks and their chemical signals, learning and applying the fundamental methods and principles required to determine sequences of events in Earth's history (stratigraphy).

GL2510: AN 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 (takes place in the Easter break) 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 1

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 field course. 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.

GL3030: VOLCANOLOGY

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Volcanology is the study of the physical processes that drive volcanic eruptions, and the products of those eruptions, in relationship to both present-day eruptions and the signatures of those preserved in geological record.  Present-day volcanism is a major natural hazard that can cause catastrophic effects on the environment and humankind.  Understanding of the physical processes which lead to volcanic eruptions and the dispersion of the products of volcanism are the key to monitoring, mitigation and management of volcanic hazards globally. This course will build on basic geological and geographical principles and knowledge to provide a detailed insight into recent developments in our understanding of volcanism on Earth. Geophysical and other remote sensing methods of volcano monitoring will form an integral part of the course. The mitigation and management of volcanic hazards requires communication between scientists and the general public who are at risk, and consequently emphasis will be placed on providing technical and non-technical reports to guide the population at large.

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 magma genesis, 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 & 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.

GP3501: INTERPRETATION OF SEISMIC REFLECTION DATA

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

This course establishes and explains the principles underlying the interpretation of seismic reflection data, which are at the frontier for both academic and industrial geophysical applications; explains and illustrates the limitations and potential pitfalls interpreting seismic reflection data; and allows the student to practice interpreting seismic reflection data (1) in a geological and structural context and (2) in a sequence-stratigraphic context on paper sections (as proxy for a seismic interpretation workstation environment).

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.

GL4031: GEOCHEMISTRY AND GEOFLUIDS

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

This course trains students in advanced basin analysis and geofluid and geochemistry techniques, that can be used to model and understand the subsurface over deep geological time.  Techniques focus on the manipulation and interpretation of geochemical data. Field excursions, including a residential trip, are central to the course as are projects involving group work and individual study. The course includes advanced academic topics at the frontiers of current research, but is also excellent preparation for working in the petroleum and subsurface sectors.

GL4033: PLANETARY GEOLOGY

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

On this course you will become an interplanetary explorer, learning how to conduct real scientific research and synthesise data, guided by experts. You will apply your skills to learn and discover new things about aspects of lunar and planetary geology that interest you.

GL4034: APPLIED GEOLOGICAL SYNTHESIS

15 credits

Level 4

First Sub Session

On this course you will learn how to conduct real scientific research and synthesise data relevant to applied geological challenges, guided by experts. You will apply your skills to learn and discover new things about aspects of applied geology that interest you.

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 cross disciplinarity 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.

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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