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This course focuses on modern sedimentary environments, oceanography and marine organisms as a key to interpreting depositional environments, and the techniques and approaches that allow geologist to deal with geological time. The fundamental underpinning is stratigraphy, and using sedimentary features and fossils as palaeoenvironment indicators, with particular attention paid to New Zealand examples.
This course focusses on sedimentology and stratigraphy. The fundamental underpinning is stratigraphy, the study of the layers of sedimentary rocks in the Earth’s crust, as a record of Earth’s changing landscapes, depositional environments, and climates through time. Modern sedimentary environments are used as a key to interpreting the past, as are the techniques and approaches that allow geologists to deal with geologic time. The course opens with lectures and laboratory classes that introduce the principles of fluid flow, sediment transport, and sedimentary depositional environments and how these processes affect the texture and composition of sedimentary rocks. The course then moves on to carbonate sedimentology and oceanography, and the interpretation of carbonate environments. The interaction of biota with substrates is introduced with trace fossils and the preservation potential of different fossil groups. Students will learn how sedimentary features, along with fossils, are used to interpret past environments in Earth’s history.The topics coved by this course are:• Sediment transport processes and sedimentary textures• Terrestrial and marine depositional environments• Clastic and Carbonate sedimentology• Basic principles of oceanography • Use of microfossils in stratigraphy, and modern and ancient environment analysis• Trace fossils in marine environments• Sequence-, litho- and biostratigraphy.
Goal of the Course - For students to be able to describe siliciclastic and carbonate sedimentary rocks and interpret depositional environments, then to apply these interpretations to understanding stratigraphic successions.Learning Outcomes - Students will:Have developed an understanding of sedimentary processes occurring at the surface of the Earth. Be able to classify and identify common sedimentary rocks in both hand specimen and under the microscope. Be able to use sedimentary and biofacies analysis to interpret ancient environments and to reconstruct palaeogeography.Be able to interpret and correlate stratigraphic columns from a variety of data.Be able to recognise and utilise important fossil groups used in NZ Cenozoic environmental interpretation.
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.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
GEOL111 and any 15 points at 100 level from GEOL.
Lectures - 3 lectures per week: TBA by central timetablingLaboratories - 1 lab (2.5 hour) per week – TBA by central timetablingField Trips – 2 field trips will take place in the 1st term during scheduled lab times
In lab exercises - 10% - Throughout semesterWritten exercises - 20% - 1st term(TBA)Lab test - 20% - 2nd term (TBA)
Benton, M. J. , Harper, D. A. T;
Introduction to paleobiology and the fossil record
Principles of sedimentology and stratigraphy
Pearson Prentice Hall, 2012.
Dalrymple, Robert W. , James, Noel P., Geological Association of Canada;
Facies models 4
Geological Association of Canada, 2010.
Textbooks are available on reserve in the library or for purchase from the Bookshop or web sites (i.e. Amazon). Students need not own all texts but will be expected to read from all.
Prerequisites: GEOL111 and either GEOL113 or GEOL115. Other relevant courses may substitute for GEOL113 / GEOL115, to be considered on a case by case basis. Please contact the course coordinator to discuss the option.
Domestic fee $926.00
International fee $4,563.00
* 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.
This course will not be offered if fewer than 30 people apply to enrol.
For further information see
School of Earth and Environment