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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Earth Science Fundamentals for Geophysicists (EASC08022)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5

This course takes the most essential material from the Earth Dynamics and Introduction to Geophysics courses,
compulsory courses for those on the 4 year undergraduate geophysics degrees, sufficient to allow students to
take Global Tectonics and the Rock Cycle, Physics of the Earth, and Structural Geology, in later years, and
hence courses for which they are pre-requisites.
Course description SYLLABUS

Earth formation, composition and age: 1 lecture
Seismology (including earthquakes) and internal structure: 3 lectures
Plate tectonics: 3 lectures
Gravity: 2 lectures
Geomagnetism: 1 lecture
Igneous and metamorphic rocks and processes: 2 lectures
Deformation (faulting and folding, stress and strain): 2 lectures

Saturday OR Sunday (2nd or 3rd Oct). FIELD TRIP 1: PEASE BAY & SICCAR POINT. (Online alternative available)
Meet at Appleton Tower, ready to depart at 09:30, return ca. 17:00. ATTENDANCE IS
Saturday OR Sunday (23rd or 24th Oct). FIELD TRIP 2: Holyrood Park / Salisbury Crags / Arthur¿s Seat
Meet at 09:30 sharp at the grassy parkland area near the roundabout just inside from the St Leonards /
Pollock Halls entrance to Holyrood Park. Field trip ends at approximately 1pm. ATTENDANCE IS COMPULSORY

The Nature of the Earth (week 3) (Earth Dynamics Practical 2)
Motion of lithospheric plates (week 4) (Earth Dynamics Practical 3)
¿Be a seismologist¿ (week 5) (Earth Dynamics Practical 4)
Pentland Fault gravity interpretation (week 6)
Salisbury Crags exercise (week 7) (Earth Dynamics Practical 6)

Further course information can be found at the following links:
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Earth Dynamics (EASC08001) AND Introduction to Geophysics (EASC08008)
Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesMathematics and Physics at a level suitable for University entrance to study Physics.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a broad understanding of key, defining geological concepts and theories: the internal divisions of the Earth and its dynamic evolution via plate tectonic processes; the formation of igneous and metamorphic rocks; the mechanisms by which rocks deform and break at depth in the Earth; and the dynamic geological settings in which these processes operate
  2. demonstrate an overview of the physical processes operating within the Earth, and understand the principles of some of the geophysical techniques by which this information is derived
  3. demonstrate an understanding of the basics of geological and geophysical fieldwork, keeping a field notebook, and laboratory and computer practical work
  4. demonstrate skills in writing a scientific report, including references to previous work.
  5. manage their time effectively and work both independently and with others during practical sessions.
Reading List
Recommended reading:
Understanding Earth¿ by JP Grotzinger & TH Jordan (Freeman, library has online access to 8
th edition and
physical copies of 5
th edition, which is also acceptable)
Looking into the Earth¿ Mussett and Khan (Cambridge University Press, 2000, in library)
Fundamentals of Geophysics¿ W. Lowrie; (Cambridge University Press, September 2007, library online
access to latest edition)
¿ ¿Physics of the Earth¿ Frank M. Stacey & Paul M. Davies, (2008) (CUP, 4th edition)

Reference Texts for further reading:
¿ ¿An Introduction to Geophysical Exploration¿ P.K. Keary & M. Brooks; Blackwell, 1991 (Third Edition)
¿ ¿The Solid Earth: An introduction to Global Geophysics¿ C.M.R. Fowler; Cambridge University Press.
¿ ¿Earthquakes¿ Bruce Bolt; Freeman Press 1999 (Fourth edition)
¿ ¿Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes & Earth Structure¿ Seth Stein & Michel Wysession; Blackwell

Note that material presented in lectures is self-contained. A good understanding and diligent revision will
result in passing this part of the course, but not necessarily excelling. By 'recommended reading', we do not
expect you to read every word, just to go into more depth in parts you are particularly interested in or less
sure of, so you really understand the material, and can do really well in the exam.

Instead of Grotzinger you could also consult the following textbooks, which cover the same material in similar
¿ ¿Earth ¿ Portrait of a Planet¿ by S Marshak (WW Norton & Company 5th edition)
¿ ¿Dynamic Earth ¿ An introduction to Physical Geology¿ by EH Christiansen & WK Hamblin Jones & Bartlett
Learning 1st edition (not to be confused with the older book with the same name by Skinner and Porter)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Fieldwork; IT skills; practical work
Additional Class Delivery Information 2 x 1 hr lectures per week, and 1 weekly practical for 6 weeks (five with the Earth Dynamics practical class).
KeywordsEarth structure,Earth composition,rocks,plate tectonics,geophysical techniques,geological maps
Course organiserProf Kathy Whaler
Tel: (0131 6)50 4904
Course secretaryMr Johan De Klerk
Tel: (0131 6)50 7010
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