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Durham University

Faculty Handbook Archive

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2018-19. The current handbook year is 2019-20

Department: Earth Sciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2018/19 Module Cap Location Durham


  • GEOL1051 Field Studies, GEOL2031 Sedimentary Environments, and GEOL2231 Igneous and Metamorphic Geochemistry and Petrology.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • GEOL3281 Environmental Management


  • To provide students with a holistic overview of the dynamic systems that shape the solid Earth and its surface via a research-led teaching programme.
  • To introduce students to research methods and current research challenges in Petrology and Geochemistry.


  • Understanding dynamic Earth systems.
  • The drivers of global Earth processes.
  • The relationship between interior and exterior processes.
  • Experimental design

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Evaluation of observational evidence for solid Earth processes and driving mechanisms.
  • Subject knowledge and understanding of geological principles, terms, definitions and classifications.
  • Subject knowledge and understanding of the structure, composition and history of the Earth and how these vary over geological timescales.
  • Subject knowledge and understanding in petrological and geochemical processes and their role in shaping the Earth.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Intellectual and practical skills to apply geological principles and methodologies to the solution of familiar and unfamiliar problems.
  • Intellectual and practical skills to critique and test existing hypotheses.
  • Intellectual and practical skills to synthesise information/data from a variety of sources.
  • Intellectual and practical skills to analyse, evaluate/interpret geological data.
Key Skills:
  • Student’s experience and expertise will be improved through:-
  • Discipline skills developed through the taught material and practical exercises.
  • Interpersonal skills in class sessions.
  • Problem solving in class.
  • Cyprus field trip:-
  • Understand the geological history of Cyprus as recorded in the sedimentary and igneous rocks.
  • Understand the controls on sedimentation at critical periods of climate change.
  • Understand the controls on the formation and evolution of oceanic crust, and associated economic ore depsits.
  • Understand how the evolution of the eastern Mediterranean fits into the wider context of plate tectonics, and climate change.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module is delivered through 2 terms of research-led teaching in which one-hour lectures are supported by practicals, formative exercises, group discussions and directed reading through which students learn about Earth processes and driving forces and acquire skills.
  • Guidance on preparation, key and exam skills are provided.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures and discussion/practical sessions 16 Weekly 3 Hour 48
Fieldwork 1 Annual 56 Hours 56
Preparation and Reading 96
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Two-hour unseen written examination 100%
Component: Continual Assessment Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Field trip 100%

Formative Assessment:

Feedback will be given on all practical activities and advice on exam technique given.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University