We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Earth Sciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • GEOL1081, Further Mathematics for Geoscientists.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To acquire a fundamental understanding of the structure and dynamics of the interior of the Earth, how these are investigated and modelled numerically, and to understand current research approaches.


  • Earthquake seismology.
  • Heat flow.
  • Mantle geodynamics.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To understand why earthquakes occur and how they are measured.
  • To understand earthquake magnitudes and source physics.
  • To understand how to apply seismic observations to image the global Earth.
  • To understand the processes by which heat is transferred within the solid Earth.
  • To understand the physics behind convection in the Earth.
  • To acquire knowledge and understanding of the structure and composition of the Earth across different geological timescales.
  • To acquire knowledge and understanding of Earth materials.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Manipulate earthquake data to extract key parameters.
  • Solve numerical problems using both computer-based and paper-based techniques.
  • Critically evaluate the assumptions and uncertainties inherent in a model or analysis.
  • Make simplifying assumptions to enable analysis of a complex geological problem or situation.
  • Acquire the skills to synthesise data from a variety of sources.
  • Acquire the skills to analyse, evaluate and interpret geophysical and geological data.
Key Skills:
  • Develop problem-solving skills, initiative and persistence in tackling unfamiliar and challenging questions through supervised practical work and summative assessments.
  • Develop skills to discuss, evaluate, and review work with colleagues through discussion.
  • Evaluate and reflect on assumptions and uncertainties in analysis through supervised practial work and summative assessments.

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

  • The module is delivered through a mix of one-hour lecture and two hour practical slots, supported by handouts, directed reading and web-based material.
  • The practicals provide opportunities to apply principles, concepts and theory to case studies and practical examples.
  • Guidance on preparation, key and exam skills is provided.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 Hour 20
Practicals 20 2 Hours 40
Reading and study of class hand-outs, preparation for and execution of formative and summative assessments, background reading both directed and independent, and revision for summer examinations. 140
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Two-hour unseen written examination 100%
Component: Continual Assessment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assignment - Essay or Presentation 50%
Class Test 50%

Formative Assessment:

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

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage. If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.