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This subject will investigate the structure and dynamics of planet Earth and the processes that control the mineral assemblages and fabrics of rocks in the Earth’s crust and mantle. Topics to be covered include:
- Structure of planet Earth from geophysical observations;
- Mantle convection and geodynamics;
- Controls on deformation in the Earth; stress-strain relationships
- Manifestation of deformation in rocks: descriptive treatment of strain, folds and tectonic fabrics;
- Examination of deformed rocks in the laboratory and in the field;
- Controls on mineral assemblages in the Earth: pressure, temperature and rock composition
- Relationship between mineral assemblages in metamorphic rocks and their conditions of formation;
- Metamorphic rocks in thin section and in hand specimen;
- The analysis of orogenic belts
Intended learning outcomes
At the end of this subject, students should have acquired an understanding of tectonic settings, the effects of elevated pressure, temperature and stress on rocks; be able to recognise, describe and interpret rocks formed as a consequence of these effects in the laboratory and in the field; and understand their applications in establishing and testing tectonic models.
This subject builds upon skills developed in first year and integrates with the subject GEOL20003 Earth Composition, Minerals and Magmas as well as GEOL20004 Field Mapping and Sedimentary Geology. This combination of subjects will provide an overview of the composition and structure of the Earth and the processes that continue to shape it. In this subject, analytical skills will be developed and augmented through the evaluation of geophysical data and examination of the effects of deformation and metamorphism on rocks and minerals. Thus, many of the techniques you learn about here will apply to a broad range of geological situations. For those wishing to pursue their study of Geology, other second- year subjects and almost all third-year subjects will use or build upon the information you gain here. Before we can proceed to use more sophisticated methods of unravelling Earth processes however, a solid background is required in understanding the fundamental insights that can be provided by careful observations of rocks and minerals.
At the end of this subject, students will have acquired an understanding of tectonic processes and settings, the effects of elevated pressure, temperature and stress on rocks; be able to recognise, describe and interpret rocks formed as a consequence of these effects in the laboratory and in the field; and understand their applications in establishing and testing tectonic models. This subject will provide opportunities to:
- Develop personal and communication skills relevant to group discussions;
- Think critically and to conceptualise complex and abstract ideas;
- Develop skills relevant to preparing technical written reports;
- Develop time management skills needed to meet assessment deadlines.
Last updated: 14 May 2021