GEOL473-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Structural Geology

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


This course will focus on tectonic and structural aspects of convergent and divergent plate margins. It will give an overview on subduction zones, collisional orogens as well as extensional margins and rift. We will be seeking to discover what structural geology can tell us about mountain building processes, relationships between deformation and metamorphism and the feedback between tectonics and climate.

This course will focus on the geometries, kinematics and growth of structures in contractional, extensional and strike-slip settings. In addition, we will examine regional tectonic convergent and divergent processes, the role of faults in fluid flow and fault inversion. The course also includes a one day fieldtrip which will be linked to the seminar series. Students will be required to undertake background or follow-up reading, and will occasionally have some set problems to tackle. Some understanding of deformation processes together with structural geology terminology and techniques is recommended.

Learning Outcomes

  • The course will provide an overview on the application of structural geology to solving tectonic and fluid flow problems. Students successfully completing this course will:
  • Have a general knowledge of how and why structures form.
  • Be aware of the techniques used to investigate the geometry and evolution of structures in a range of settings.
  • Have some knowledge of techniques appropriate for dating tectonic events.
  • Have some understanding of feedback processes between tectonics, sedimentation and climate.
  • Be aware of current research trends in structural geology.
    • 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.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.

Timetable Note

Seminar Times: This course runs in 4 hour time slots once a week.

Field trips
Kaikoura peninsula- 24th August and August 25th 2020

Schedule of sessions:
The list of topics below are intended as a general guideline for course content, and variations may occur as the course develops.

Week 1 18 July Introduction to course (purpose & assessment), overview of structural geology and paper critique (2 hours).
Week 2 & 3

Week 4 & 5 25 July

8 August Growth, displacement and evolution of normal fault systems (4 hours)
Reverse faults (thrusts) and basin inversion (4 hours).
Week 6 &7 15 August
Strike-slip faulting and analogue models (4 hours).
Week 8 & 9 24-25 August Fieldtrip Tectonic and structural analysis of Kaikoura Peninsula (8 am - 6 pm per day)

Mid Semester break August 24th to September 8th

Week 10 & 11 19 September Analysis of fieldtrip data (4 hours)

Week 12 & 13 4 October Folds, joints and veins (2 hours)

Week 14 11 October Oral presentation (2 hours).

Course Coordinator

Andy Nicol


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Assignment 1 30% Assignment 1: Essay
Assignment 2 40% Assignment 2: Field trip report
Assignment 3 30% Assignment 3: Oral Presentation

Assignment 1: (30%):  Essay (Due September 7th 2020)
Assignment 2: (40%):  Field trip report (Due October 24th 2020)
Assignment 3: (30%) Oral presentation (Due October 10th 2020)

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading
Fossen, H. 2016. Structural Geology. Cambridge University Press.
Ramsay and Huber “The Techniques of Modern Structural Geology” volumes I, II, III, Academic Press.
Moores and Twiss "Tectonics", Freeman.

Course links

Library portal

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
Late work should be accompanied with a short note explaining 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-ends and holidays.

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 Geological Sciences to arrange alternative procedures. This must be done well in advance of the set date for the test, unless the situation is covered by the aegrotat regulations.

Reconsideration of Grades
• Grades for individual items of coursework may be reassessed, and in the first instance students should speak with the course coordinator. If an agreeable solution cannot be reached students should then speak to the Head of the Geological Sciences Department. Reconsideration should normally be requested within 4 weeks of the test or the return of the item of assessment.
• Grade reconsideration for courses as a whole can be obtained by applying to the Registry within 4 weeks of the date of publication of the final results. Students should refer to UC Calendar under general course and examination regulations for details of the appeal process.

Academic Liaison
Tom Brookman and Tim Stahl currently share the Chairperson role on the Postgraduate Liaison Committee. A student representative is appointed to the Liaison Committee at the start of the semester. Please feel free to talk to Tom, Tim or the student representative about any problems or concerns that you might have.

Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities should speak with someone at the Disability Resource Service. Inquire in the first instance at Level 3 Rutherford Building  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 named 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.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,151.00

* 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.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All GEOL473 Occurrences

  • GEOL473-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023