GEOL241-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019

Field Studies B - Field Techniques

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2019
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2019
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 26 July 2019
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 27 September 2019


Geological mapping involves the observation, recording and interpretation of field data, and is a fundamental skill required by all practicing geologists. GEOL 241 introduces field techniques applied to metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks, and rock deformation structures, through laboratory classes and field work completed during the August/September semester break.

Geological mapping involves the observation, recording and interpretation of field data, and is a fundamental skill required by all practicing geologists. GEOL241 introduces field techniques to students – these include identification and description of a variety of rock types, measuring stratigraphic columns, collection and interpretation of rock deformation structures, assessment of igneous rock relationships as well as geological mapping. GEOL241 comprises 7 days of field geology, based in Westport, during August/September during which a variety of field data will be collected.  In 2 laboratory exercises post-trip, this field data will be analysed and interpreted using thin sections (for igneous petrology) and having the opportunity to receive feedback and rewrite comprehensive geological histories of the field area.

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the structure, texture and composition of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
  • Create geological maps and draft cross-sections from model and field data.
  • Record field outcrop data in notebooks and onto maps, as sketches, stratigraphic columns, and structural measurements.
  • Interpret sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous environments based on the information they have recorded in the field, and information from thin sections.
    The topics coved by this course are:
  • measurement of stratigraphic logs in the field
  • collection and interpretation of structural data and the use of stereonets
  • description and mapping of a small area, and conversion of this data into a 3D model
  • description of metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks in the field and in thin-section
  • creating a geological history of the region
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.


(1) GEOL111, and (2) GEOL113 or GEOL115




15 points from any of GEOL242-246 offered in the same semester

Timetable Note

1 practical laboratory per week for 6 weeks (2 streams)(4 in T1, 2 in T2)
1 seven-day fieldtrip during August/Sept break (2 streams – Westport)

Course Coordinator

Kate Pedley


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Field exercises 70% Field exercises
Pre Field Lab Exercises 5% (for completion)
Post Trip Modelling/Laboratory Exercises 25%

Assessment name Weighting Due date (if known)
Pre Field lab exercises (for completion) 5% End of term 3
Field Exercises 70% At end of each fieldtrip
Post trip laboratory assignments 25% Week 40 during lab streams

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Compton, Robert R; Geology in the field ; Wiley, 1985.

Required textbook(s):

Recommended textbook(s):
Compton, R. Geology in the Field.  Wiley, 1985.

Course links

Library portal


GEOL111 and either GEOL115 or GEOL113 (or alternatively GEOL112)
You must take 15pts of another 200 level GEOL paper during the same semester.
Recommended preparation:
GEOL240, GEOL242, GEOL243.
GEOL241 (and 240) are essential prerequisites for GEOL351 and 352 and for those students wishing to proceed to postgraduate study in Geology and Engineering Geology. It is strongly recommended for all students wishing to major in Geology and Engineering Geology.

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity

Geological mapping involves the observation, recording and interpretation of field data, and is a fundamental skill required by all practicing geologists. GEOL241 introduces field techniques to students – these include identification and description of metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks, measuring stratigraphic columns, collection and interpretation of rock deformation structures. GEOL 241 comprises 7 days field geology, based in Westport, during August/September, and 6 x 2½ hour laboratory classes, before and after the field trip – as an introduction to field techniques, and as post-trip interpretation of collected field data.

Marks and Grades
The Department of Geological Sciences uses the following scale to convert marks into grades:
100 – 90 A+ 74 – 70 B 54 – 50 C-
89 – 85 A 69 – 65 B- 49 – 40 D
84 – 80 A- 64 – 60 C+ Below 40 E
79 – 75 B+ 59 – 55 C

The Department of Geological Sciences reserves the right to adjust this mark/grade conversion, when deemed necessary.

Late Work
It is the policy for this course that late work is not accepted. Or, late work should be accompanied with a detailed explanation of why the work is late. The work will be marked and marks will be subtracted for each day the work is late. Days late include week-end and holidays.

Academic Liaison
Travis Horton (Room Von Haast 339), is in charge of liaison with students in geology courses. Each year level will appoint a student representative(s) to the liaison committee at the start of the semester. Please feel free to talk to the Academic Liaison or the student rep about any problems or concerns that you might have.

Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities should speak with someone at Disability Resource Service. Their office is room 317 in the Rutherford Building. Phone: 364 2350 (or ext. 6350), email:

Policy on Dishonest Practice
Plagiarism, collusion, copying and ghost writing are unacceptable and dishonest practices.
• Plagiarism is the presentation of any material (text, data, figures or drawings, on any medium including computer files) from any other source without clear and adequate acknowledgement of the source.
• Collusion is the presentation of work performed in conjunction with another person or persons, but submitted as if it has been completed only by the names author(s).
• Copying is the use of material (in any medium, including computer files) produced by another person(s) with or without their knowledge and approval.
• Ghost writing is the use of another person(s) (with or without payment) to prepare all or part of an item submitted for assessment.

In cases where dishonest practice is involved in tests or other work submitted for credit, the student will be referred to the University Proctor. The instructor may choose to not mark the work.

Reconsideration of Grades
Students should, in the first instance, speak to the course co-ordinator about their marks. If they cannot reach an agreeable solution, students should then speak to the Head of the Geological Sciences Department. Students can appeal any decision made on their final grade. You can apply at the Registry to appeal the final grade within 4 weeks of the end of the semester. Be aware that there are time limits for each step of the appeals process.

Aegrotat Applications
If you feel that illness, injury, bereavement or other critical circumstances has prevented you from completing an item of assessment or affected your performance, you should complete an aegrotat application form, available from the Registry or the Student Health and Counselling Service. This should be within seven days of the due date for the required work or the date of the examination. In the case of illness or injury, medical consultation should normally have taken place shortly before or within 24 hours after the due date for the required work, or the date of the test or examination. For further details on aegrotat applications, please refer to the Enrolment Handbook. You have the right to appeal any decision made, including aegrotat decisions.

Missing of Tests
In rare cases a student will not be able to sit a test. In such cases, the student should consult with the course co-ordinator or the Head of the Department of Geological Sciences to arrange alternative procedures. This must be done well in advance of the set date for the test.

Lab Safety

Lab safety:

The 200 level lab is your place to study, and as long as it is not in use for another class, you may use it to revise or study.  However, the lab contains a lot of expensive equipment and so we require you to adhere to some simple lab safety rules:

1) No open toed shoes allowed in the lab – so no jandals or sandals and especially no bare feet.  If you attend a lab wearing inappropriate footwear, you will be asked to leave and return only wearing shoes.  THIS IS NOT NEGOTIABLE!!

2) No food, and only WATER in a sipper bottle (i.e. one that you can click closed when not drinking) are allowed.  This means no coffee, no V or lift, no coca cola – not even if it is put in a sipper bottle.  Water is easy to clean up, sticky drinks are not.  If you are using a microscope at any time THEN NO FOOD OR DRINK WHATSOEVER!  Feel free to leave the lab for 5 mins to have a drink or snack in the atrium.

3) If you are using a microscope then treat it with respect and handle as you have been shown in GEOL242.  Remember to lift the microscope using the neck at the back AS WELL AS having a hand under the base.  DO NOT TOUCH the lens of each objective, instead use the ring above them to change objectives.  Finally, be very careful with thin sections!  Each thin section takes several hours of work by Rob Spiers, and then are very delicate!  Only ever take 1 thin section and NEVER place it down on the bench.

4) Finally, treat each other, the lab demonstrators and the staff who use the labs with respect.  You’re all doing the same work and under the same pressure, and we are here to guide and help you with your learning.  Disrespectful behaviour will not be tolerated.

Expectations of the course

Expectations of the course:

The labs at the start of the course are designed to train you in new methods of data collection and analysis before you go to Westport.  You will be undertaking similar exercises on the fieldtrip which will be assessed, and will make up the bulk of your grade.  The first 3 labs of GEOL241 are not themselves assessed, but you will receive a small % by showing that you have completed each one in the time frame given (similar to how each lab of GEOL242 was graded).  These will be pass/ fail, and if you complete all of the exercises and hand in on time, then you will get full marks for that portion of the course (equates to 5% of your overall mark).  It is up to you to ensure that you are doing it correctly.  Some answers will be posted on Learn, but often you will have to check with the lab tutor or the demonstrators to make sure it is correct.  We will then correct you if you are wrong.

Each fieldtrip runs for 7 days, and for all but the last day (when we drive back to Christchurch) we will be stopping at outcrops.  On the fieldtrip there will be 4 assessments:

1) Notebooks:  We will assess your notebooks based upon 1 stop during the week that we will decide (but not tell you), but that can be from ANY stop of the fieldtrip, from the first day to the last.  We will be checking for quality of sketches, descriptions and interpretations in the field.  A well organised and neatly written/ drawn notebook is therefore a great bonus, and will get you high marks.  10%

2) Rock descriptions:  You will be tested on a selection of rock samples that you would have examined at some of the outcrops during the trip.  This will usually take place towards the end of the trip.  You will be marked on the quality and accuracy of your descriptions (i.e. STCs and %!).  20%

3) Structural analysis exercise:  Using stereonets, you will interpret a series of folded rocks in one location, and answer questions based upon your ability to collect and assess structural data.  20%

4) Section measuring exercise:  You will measure a section of sedimentary rocks on the coast and produce a detail stratigraphic column.  This will be done in 2 parts over 2 days.  Clear, concise and easy to read field notes will benefit you in this exercise. 20%

Post fieldtrip exercises (comprising the other 25%) will be introduced later.

The structural analysis exercise and the section measuring exercise will be handed in the morning after they are given to you (in the case of the section measuring exercise, this will be the morning after the second day at the section).  This will require a lot of work in the evenings, and some late nights.  However, if you are efficient with your work, and get started shortly after returning from the field, you shouldn’t have to spend all night on the exercises.

As we will be on the West Coast in August/ September, the weather cannot be relied on.  It is very likely that on at least one of the days we will be working in the cold and rain, and will not stop unless the weather becomes dangerous.  In addition to the right equipment, you need to get into the correct mind-set in order to work in these conditions.  It is unpleasant, but we will always head back to the field station at the end of the day to dry out.

Suggested equipment

• Rain-proof jacket – Gore-tex or similar fabric will keep you dry, which means you keep warm.  A thin plastic Mac or parka will not suffice in the driving West Coast rain!

• Strong boots with ankle protection – trainers will NOT suffice for this trip.  Be aware that you may not be allowed to come on the trip unless you can show that you have adequate footwear.  If you have bought a new pair of shoes recently, these need to broken in for several weeks before the fieldtrip to avoid blisters.

• Rain-proof over trousers – or polyprop leggings to keep dry/ warm in bad weather.  Hypothermia is a real threat on this trip, and having these with you will make the trip a lot more pleasant.

• Rucksac rain cover or drybags – very useful for keeping extra clothes, food and electrical items (e.g. phone) dry.  We will be near to the vans at all stops, but not necessarily within easy walking distance.  It is therefore worthwhile to carry a dry jacket/top in case you get wet.

• Merino or polyprop under layers – NOT COTTON – Cotton does not retain warmth when it gets wet, and rapidly leads to hypothermia.  The same applies to denim jeans.

• Snacks – chocolate, scroggin etc. – Although you have the option (and you should definitely take it) to be catered, this really only applies to breakfast, dinner and a lunch of sandwiches and fruit.  It is a really good idea to bring a stash of snacks to give you energy and keep warm.

• Camelbak or decent water bottle – Because no one wants to carry a milk carton around as a water bottle.

• Small First aid kit – containing crepe bandage, plasters, Panadol/ibuprofen, antiseptic wipe, emergency blanket.  The trip leaders will also be carrying first aid kits, so not necessary but useful.

Field station

We will be split between the Westport field station and the nearby holiday park (in cabins).  You will need to bring a sleeping bag and pillow regardless.  The station is modern and roomy, and we shouldn’t have any problems with space as you might of experienced at Glens of Tekoa.  You will be staying in bunk rooms of 4 to a room, and it would be beneficial if you organise yourself into groups before you arrive at the field station.  The field station also has an efficient drying room.  There is a strict NO ALCOHOL policy at the field station.

Depending on tides and weather, you will need to be very organised in the morning, and be ready to leave, with all your gear, at the vans at the time specified.  

Finally, many students have said that this field trip is the first time they felt like true geologists.  It is an awesome trip, and a perfect chance to put in practice all that you have learnt over the past year and a half.  We hope you will enjoy the trip as much as we enjoy teaching it.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $917.00

International fee $4,034.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

Fees Note

Additional Course Fees:
Field Trip - A small field trip fee is charged at enrolment and covers the cost of transport and accommodation. Optional, but strongly advised, catering (breakfast, packed lunch and dinner) will be available (cost: TBC) whilst at Westport.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 30 people apply to enrol.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All GEOL241 Occurrences

  • GEOL241-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019