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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE1570 Geology 1

30 creditsClass Size: 112

Module manager: Dr Graham McLeod

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Appropriate A-Levels or equivalent

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE1575Geology 1 for Geophysicists
SOEE1600Geology for Petroleum Engineers

Module replaces

SOEE1490 Understanding the Earth 1SOEE1500 Understanding the Earth 2 (part thereof)

This module is not approved as a discovery module


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
- Explain the origin of the Earth as a planetary body and understand its place in the solar system, its age and the concept of geological time;
- Explain the internal structure and composition of the Earth;
- Understand plate tectonic theory and explain the main scientific evidence for it, focusing on: active tectonics, earthquakes, mantle convection, the structure of oceans and continents, the architecture of plate boundaries and the processes that characterise them, faults, mountain belts, volcanic arcs and the evolution of tectonic styles through time;
- Identify and describe a range of common rock-forming minerals using physical and optical properties, and demonstrate how these collectively make up the composition of a variety of rocks;
- Identify and describe common types of the three rock types (igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic) in hand specimen and thin section and understand their modes of formation;
- Understand how fossils are preserved and how they are used for biostratigraphy;
- Understand the basics of invertebrate palaeontology and be able to identify and describe major fossil groups and their importance in the evolution of life of Earth;
- Understand the concept of Earth history and the concepts of geological/deep time and the major geological, environmental an evolutionary events during the history of the Earth;
- Be able to use geological evidence to test hypotheses about the formation of Earth's environments and the evolution of life.

Students must secure a mark of at least 40 in each of the two examinations in order to pass the module overall. Students who have not successfully passed the required exams/assessments will have to resit these in order to pass the module.


Introduction to Earth Sciences:
The Earth as a planetary body and its origin and age.

Dynamic Earth:
An introduction to the internal structure of the Earth and the concept of plate tectonics as a mechanism for plate motion, mountain building, subduction, basin formation and long-term geological evolution on a continental scale.

Geological Materials:
- Processes of formation of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks;
- The description of hand specimens and thin sections, of rocks and minerals using physical and optical properties and recording observations coherently;
- Relate geological materials to environments of formation and their processes of formation.

Introductory Palaeontology
Introduction, formation of fossils and trace fossils; Graptolites and biostratigraphy; Trilobites; Brachiopods;
Reefs: corals, bryozoans and crinoids; Cephalopod molluscs; Bivalve and gastropod molluscs; Marine and terrestrial microfossils.

Earth History
Introduction to Earth History, deep time, and stratigraphic concepts; origin of life; Cambrian explosion; origin of the British Isles; Permo-Carboniferous glaciation; the Pangean super-continent; Mesozoic greenhouse; KT-boundary; climate cooling in cenozoic; the evolution of land plants.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours32.00
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours98.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)300.00

Private study

- VLE MCQs and related exercises formative assessments, VLE-delivered essential fact sheets, worked exercises, case study examples, video tutorials.
- VLE-accessed blended learning resources (RockBase 24hour access rock and mineral specimen database).
- Background reading and revision, review of lectures and practical work, practical formative assessment completion.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Assessed in-class practical work.
- VLE MCQs with formative feedback provided automatically, and also in-class.
- Verbal feedback from staff and demonstrators in practical classes and in the field.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentPractical, in-class exercises for the Geological Materials and Intro to Palaeontology strands.0.00
In-course MCQWeekly or bi-weekly online MCQ Quizzes covering all strands of the course0.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)0.00

Experience has shown that a series of practical-based assessments distributed throughout the module are the most effective way to gauge performance. This is especially true for the hands-on, practical-based topics covered in this module. Students will be encouraged to engage with the formative only assessments and to self or peer assess their work using answer guides and mark schemed provided.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Unseen Practical exam (S1)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Formal examination will take place in the Semester 1 examination period. The Ttheory Eexam will consist of a single paper to include MCQs, graphical problem solving exercises, short answer questions, and an essay question. An unseen Practical Exam is also held in Semester 1 during the exam period, this will consist of assessments similar to those carried out in the practical strands of the module. Students must secure a mark of at least 40 in EACH of the two examinations in order to pass the module.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 31/07/2018


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