GEOL241-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Field Studies B - Field Techniques

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


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.

Welcome to Te Kura Aronukurangi | School of Earth and Environment at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury.

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 Kawatiri | Westport, during August/September during which a variety of field data will be collected.  In laboratory exercises post-trip, this field data will be analysed and interpreted using thin sections (for igneous petrology), and students will have the opportunity to receive feedback and rewrite comprehensive geological histories of the field area, drawing from additional literature research.

Specific field trip dates will vary from year-to-year pending enrolments and the UC Calendar.  Assessment in GEOL241 is based on lab participation (5%), geological skills exercises in the field (75%) and a post field trip assessed lab and assignment (20%).

PLEASE NOTE: GEOL241 is prerequisite preparation for postgraduate Geology and Engineering Geology studies. It must be taken with at least one other 200 level GEOL course delivered in the same semester.

Learning Outcomes

  • You will learn the concepts of:
  • 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
  • Description of metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks in the field and in thin-section
  • Creating a geological history of the region

    Students successfully completing this course will:
  • Understand, appreciate, and enact the best practice, tikanga, kaitiaki and whakawhanaungatanga expectations of residential field courses.
  • Be able to observe and 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 personally recorded in the field, information from hand samples, thin sections and other additional digital resources.
  • Create interpretative 3D block diagrams.
  • Conduct literature research to support field observations and interpretations.
    • 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.


GEOL111 and any 15 points at 100 level from GEOL.




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

Timetable Note

There are no lectures for this course.
2 streams of 2.5 hour labs per week for a total of 7 weeks.
2 streams of a 7 day field trip to the West Coast during the mid-semester break. Dates of departure for 2023 are 27th Aug and 3rd Sept.

The estimated workload breakdown for GEOL241 is:
Contact time:
• Lab work – in class 25 hours
• Assessed thin section lab 2.5 hours
• Field trip 70 hours
Outside of contact time:
• Lab preparation, completion, and review 20 hours
• Field Trip preparation 12.5 hours
• Post field trip Assignment 20 hours
Total 150 hours

Course Coordinator

Kate Pedley


Ben Kennedy , Catherine Reid , Kari Bassett and Alex Nichols

Course coordinator: Kate Pedley
Fieldtrip logistics: Sacha Baldwin


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Pre-Field lab exercises (for completion) 5% Due each week after each lab
Field Exercises 75% Due final evening of field trip
Post-trip assignment 20% Due Week 10

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

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

Course links

Library portal


Prerequisites: GEOL111, and either GEOL113 or GEOL115 OR GEOL101 and GEOL102

Restrictions: GEOL231

Recommended preparation: GEOL240, GEOL242, GEOL243. GEOL240 will be a prerequisite in 2024.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $988.00

International fee $4,787.00

* 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

  • GEOL241-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023