GEOL244-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019

Structural Geology and Global Geophysics

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


Nature and origin of structures produced by deformation in the Earth’s crust, and material properties of rocks that affect the way in which they respond. Practical geometric methods associated with deriving and representing the three dimensional form of structures commonly encountered in geological practice, and synthesis of tectonic settings. This course also covers large-scale geometry and processes of plate tectonics, and topics in global geophysics linked to current observation and plate tectonic theory.

When rocks in the Earth’s crust are subjected to stresses generated by dynamic tectonic processes, they are deformed into a variety of structures. The material properties of rocks affect the way in which they respond and this course introduces the physical principles, which explain the origin of common structures, such as folds and faults.

While the lecture course emphasizes the nature and origin of the range of deformation structures, the laboratory course concentrates on the practical geometric methods associated with deriving and representing the three dimensional form of such structures. This involves the use of various projection techniques to solve problems that are commonly encountered in geological practice. In the latter part of the course, a synthesis of the way in which characteristic associations of structures develop into distinctive styles in different tectonic settings are introduced.

The course ends with an introduction to some aspects of the large-scale geometry and processes of plate tectonics. Selected topics in global geophysics (crustal seismology, and isostasy) provide an overview of the nature of global processes, linked to current observation and plate tectonic theory.

36 lectures - 3 x 1 hour lectures per week. Schedule to be advised

30 hours of laboratory based practical exercises - One 2.5 hour practical class each week – times for laboratory streams to be advised.

Learning Outcomes

  • Goal of the Course
    Provide students with principal deformation processes occurring in the lithosphere and their underlying causes.

    Learning Outcomes
    Students successfully completing this course will:
  • have an understanding of geological materials, and of the basic principles of the mechanics and kinematics of rock deformation;
  • be familiar with a range of common deformational structures, their classification, terminology and the way in which they are associated in the principal tectonic regimes generated by primary plate interactions and gravitational processes; and
  • be able to apply a range of standard techniques to the analysis of geologic structures.
  • have developed a fuller understanding of the nature of plate tectonics and the structure of the Earth’s crust.
  • develop an understanding of some selected basic principles of global geophysics in the fields of seismicity and isostasy, and their relationship to plate tectonics and the structure of the Earth’s interior.

    Summary of the Course Content
    The topics coved by this course are:
  • Structural Geology (kinematic analysis, brittle and ductile deformation, stress and strain, description of major deformation structures)
  • Global Geophysics (forces that drive plate motion and thus cause earthquakes and major deformation structures in the lithosphere).
    • 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.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


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

Timetable Note

Week #  -  Week starting date  -  Lecture Topics  -  Lecturer  -  Lab Topics
29  -  July 16  -  Introduction to Course; Rock Materials  -  AN  -  Descriptive Geometry I
30  -  July 23  -  Strain theory; Stress and Mohr circle   -  AN  -  Descriptive Geometry II
31  -  July 30  -  Stress and Mohr circle; Fractures and brittle failure  -  AN  -  Stereonets I
32  -  August 6  -  Faults, terminology growth kinematics; Folds classifications and mechanisms  -  AN  -  Stereonets II
33  -  August 13 Folds classifications and mechanisms   -  AN  -  Stereonets III
34  -  August 20 Foliations, lineations and boudinage  -  AN  -  Stereonets IV

35, 36  -  Mid-semester Break

37  -  September 10  -  Interpretation seismic reflection lines; Reverse/Thrusting Faulting and Styles of Deformation   -  AN  -  Balanced Cross Sections
38  -  September 17  -  Normal Faulting and Styles of deformation   -  AN  -  Analogue modelling I
39  -  September 24  -  Strike-slip Faulting and Styles of deformation; Transpression, Transtension and Oblique-slip Styles of Deformation  -  JP  -  Analogue modelling II
40  -  October 1 Transpression, Transtension and Oblique-slip Styles of Deformation; Global Seismology & Crustal Earthquakes  -  JP  -  Greendale Fault exercise
41  -  October 8 GPS measurements of Deformation;  New Zealand structures and tectonics  -  AN  -  Lab revision
42  -  October 15  -   New Zealand structures and tectonics;
Catchup/summary course content second term  -  AN  -  Lab test

Course Coordinator

Andy Nicol


Jarg Pettinga


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Assessment 60% In Term Assessment (assignments and tests)

In-term assessment 60% (assignments and tests; details to be advised)
Final examination 40%

Examination and Formal Tests
Final exam, date TBA - during end of year exam period

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Davis & Reynolds; Structural Geology of Rocks and Regions ; 3rd; Wiley, 2012.

Fossen, Haakon; Structural geology ; Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Leyshon, Peter R. , Lisle, Richard J; Stereographic projection techniques in structural geology ; Butterworth-Heinemann, 1996.

Price, Neville J., Cosgrove, J. W. (John W.); Analysis of geologic structures ; Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Twiss, Robert J., Moores, Eldridge M; Structural geology ; W H Freeman, 1992.

Van der Pluijm, Ben A. , Marshak, Stephen; Earth structure : an introduction to structural geology and tectonics ; 2nd ed; W.W. Norton, 2004.

Additional reading will be required.  References and further resource materials will be provided by the individual lecturers during the course.

Course links

Library portal


GEOL111 and either GEOL 113 or GEOL 115.

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity


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

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
Alex Nichols (room 321,, phone (03) 364 2987 ext 94410) 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 on Level 2 of the Puaka-James Hight Building (Central Library). Phone: +64 3 369 3334 or ext 93334, 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.  

Special Considerations 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 a Special Considerations application form, available from the Registry or the Student Health and Counselling Service.  This should be within five 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 Special Consideration applications, please refer to the Enrolment Handbook or visit  You have the right to appeal any decision made, including Special Considerations 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 to 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.

Summary of Course Content

The topics coved by this course are:
•  Structural Geology (kinematic analysis, brittle and ductile deformation, stress and strain, description of major deformation structures)
•  Global Geophysics (forces that drive plate motion and thus cause earthquakes and major deformation structures in the lithosphere).

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $883.00

International fee $4,000.00

* 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.

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 GEOL244 Occurrences

  • GEOL244-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019