GEOL30250 Geological Mapping

Academic Year 2023/2024

This intensive field-based residential module will consist primarily of a field mapping class in September or October, normally based in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo. This will include recognition and division of mappable rock units (formations and members), field mapping of folded and faulted rock units and construction of geological maps and cross-sections. Students will analyse sedimentary and deformation structures, consider depositional environments and palaeogeographical settings, and assess tectonic history.

Show/hide contentOpenClose All

Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1) Explain the field relationships between rock units and how they are influenced by tectonic processes.
2) Explain the geological processes involved in sedimentary basin formation and their sedimentary fill.
3) Appreciate the concept of geological time and the timescales of geological processes.
4) Observe rock textures and fabrics, and sedimentary and deformation structures, in the field and evaluate their geological significance.
5) Construct geological maps in the field and draw cross-sections.
6) Write a report summarizing the geology and geological history of a mapped area.

Indicative Module Content:

INFORMATION MEETINGS (before field class, both 2 hours):

Meeting 1: Louisburgh field class preparation and information. (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge) Presentation and discussion of essential information and preparation for the 7-day residential field class in Louisburgh, Co. Mayo

Meeting 2: Final preparation for Louisburgh field class (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge); Self-awareness for career planning. (Ms E. Caraway, UCD Career Development Centre) Presentation on recognizing, documenting and developing your personal attributes that will be important in seeking employment.

FIELD CLASS (Prof. J.J. Walsh and Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge):
The main part of the module consists of a seven-day residential field class based in the small town of Louisburgh, Co. Mayo. The main aim of the class is to learn how to make a geological map and gain further experience in geological field techniques. The class will be divided into groups of two or three students. After an introduction to several key localities, each group will map their own part of the Louisburgh area each day and present their progress each evening during a class seminar. The area to be mapped includes sequences of mostly Silurian sedimentary and metamorphic rocks subject to folding and faulting during the closure of the Iapetus Ocean. At the end of the week, groups will pool their results to create a composite map of the entire mapped area. There will also be discussion about the relevance of the mapping data in understanding the regional Lower Palaeozoic geological evolution of the west of Ireland.

WORKSHOPS (after field class - both 3 hours):

Workshop 1: Library research skills (Mr Diarmuid Stokes (James Joyce Library) and Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)
Introduction to accessing and searching online resources available through UCD Library; online research for Louisburgh field class reporting, and
Writing a geological mapping report (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)
Introduction to the format of the mapping report; organising your sources of information and your report; writing a description and interpretation of one of the units mapped in the field.

Workshop 2: Mapping report writing (3 hours) (Assoc. Prof. J.F. Menuge)
Following previous submission and provision of written feedback on draft mapping reports, this will consist of a workshop for one-to-one discussions on how to improve students' mapping reports and an opportunity for supervised writing towards the final mapping report.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning




Seminar (or Webinar)




Field Trip/External Visits




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Training in the field in geological mapping techniques, supplemented by evening seminars, will be the principal methods for teaching and learning. Field work will be done in groups of 2 or 3 students and seminars will involve the whole class. Information meetings and workshops before and after field work will prepare students for the field class and provide guidance on report writing and library research skills. Students will then write individual reports in which they present their mapping results and offer geological interpretations; feedback will be given on draft reports before students complete and submit their final reports.. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
GEOL20210 - Field Geology and Mapwork, GEOL20250 - Crystals to Sedimentary Rocks

GEOL30300 - Negotiated Field Geology 2, GEOL30310 - Negotiated Field Geology 3

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Cross-section derived from field sheet(s) Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment: Draft report presenting results and interpretations of field mapping Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment: Final report presenting results and interpretations of field mapping Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Journal: Field observations and daily summaries presented in field notebook Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Journal: Data and interpretation presented on field sheets Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Seminar: Contribution to evening seminars presenting and discussing field work. Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No



Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat (CFP) Within Three Semesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive individual oral feedback in the field and in evening seminars after each day in the field, the latter supplemented by oral feedback to the whole class. Students will receive individual written feedback on their submitted field notebooks, field sheets, cross-section and both a draft and final version of their mapping report.

Name Role
Ms Edel Caraway Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Peter Haughton Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Sam Kelley Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Mr Diarmuid Stokes Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor John Walsh Lecturer / Co-Lecturer