EARTH312-19B (HAM)

Sedimentary Geology

15 Points

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Division of Health Engineering Computing & Science
School of Science


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Paper Description

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The ultimate goal of sedimentary geology is to reconstruct the history of the Earth's surface. This 15 point paper explores the links between sedimentary rocks and past environments through two major strands: reconstructing depositional environments and understanding the effects of sea-level change on sedimentary processes (sequence stratigraphy). A third strand explores the economic aspects of sedimentary geology, in particular aspects of petroleum geology, including unconventional resources. The paper includes an integrated lab-field component, with a three-day field mapping trip to the North Taranaki region.

Prerequisite(s): ERTH221 or ERTH222 or EARTH211 (EARTH251 strongly recommended).

This paper involves 3 days of field mapping of sedimentary deposits and students are expected to have suitable footwear and clothing to cope with a range of conditions, and be prepared to stay overnight. Students will be required to sign an acceptance of the Codes of Practice for Health and Safety in the Field before embarking on any field trip (see Field Trip Guide).
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Paper Structure

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This course will involve lectures; laboratory sessions; and a field mapping trip.

The paper is supported by learning resources accessed via Moodle, and a textbook that students are required to have access to in either print or electronic form.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Explain the links between the characteristics of sedimentary rocks, Earth surface processes and depositional environments.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Explain the sequence stratigraphic framework and be able to use sequence stratigraphic concepts and field data to predict the location of particular sediment bodies.
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  • Describe the ideal conditions for the accumulation of economic quantities of petroleum and coal, and link these conditions to particular processes and environments.
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  • Make field observations leading to the production of a field map, stratigraphic logs, and a geological report, and interpret these observations in terms of depositional environment and geological history.
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  • Interpret seismic data and well logs in terms of geometry and lithology of subsurface bodies.
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  • Communicate scientific information effectively by means of geological reports and written answers to exam and test questions.
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Instructions on requirements of the assignments and report will be given during the practical sessions.
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 60:40. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 40% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 60:40 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 40% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Taranaki shelf seismic and wireline mapping assignment
23 Aug 2019
4:30 PM
  • Hand-in: Assignment Box
2. Field trip notebook and map
1 Sep 2019
No set time
  • Other: To staff at the end of the field trip
3. Awakino petrography exercise
13 Sep 2019
1:00 PM
  • Hand-in: Assignment Box
4. North Taranaki integrated report
11 Oct 2019
4:30 PM
  • Hand-in: Assignment Box
5. Exam
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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G. Nichols, 2009, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, 2 Edition, Wiley-Blackwell

Additional notes covering lectures, laboratories, and field trips will be available to all enrolled students on the Moodle University Web site.

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Recommended Readings

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Recommended text:

A. Coe (ed), The Sedimentary Record of Sea-Level Change

Other useful resources:

S. Boggs, Jr., Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (Merrill)

O. Catuneanu, Principles of Sequence Stratigraphy

D.R. Prothero and F. Schwab, Sedimentary Geology ‐ An Introduction to Sedimentary Rocks and Stratigraphy (Freeman)

R.G. Walker and N.P. James, Facies Models ‐ Response to Sea Level Change (Geological Association of Canada)

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Other Resources

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Online Support

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Online support will be provided via Moodle, which is accessible to all students who are enrolled in the paper. PLEASE NOTE: Moodle will be used for class notices, etc., and it is your responsibility to check the site regularly. Students must ensure that they include their preferred email address in their Moodle settings.
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A 300-level 15 point paper in any of the science subjects offered by the University of Waikato typically involves less than 60 hours of supervised study and it is assumed that up to 90 hours will be spent in private study by an ‘average’ student.

For this paper there are 2 lectures each week; one 2‐hour practical session each week; and a 3-day field trip.

Most students should be able to complete the laboratory exercises during class time. Each student will also complete individually a project report (North Taranaki Report) that combines data collected during the field trip and several laboratory classes. This will largely be undertaken in the students’ own time.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Linkages to other papers: EARTH211, EARTH251, EARTH311, EARTH501, EARTH504, EARTH505, EARTH506

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Prerequisite papers: ERTH221 or ERTH222 or EARTH211. EARTH251 is recommended.




Restricted papers: ERTH322

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