GEOL30320 Geological Fieldwork (Stage 3)

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module comprises an 8-day residential field-course examining sedimentary basins in southwest England, including the iconic North Somerset and South Dorset “Jurassic” coasts. The fieldtrip focuses on the geological history of basin development and inversion in the area, integrating sedimentology, stratigraphy and structural geology. Key geological features examined including metamorphic and folded terrains, unconformities, continental and marine deposits (clastic, limestones, evaporites), classic Jurassic and Cretaceous fossil localities, regional and small-scale normal, strike-slip and reverse faults, linkages between landscape and geology, and evidence of ancient and ongoing geofluid processes (natural hydraulic fracture, active hydrocarbon migration).

Key localities throughout the region are visited to develop the geological story which is enhanced by examination of sub-surface seismic reflection and bore-hole data. A range of key geological field techniques (recording and describing geological features, mapping, logging) are applied during the trip which is designed to develop observational and analytical fieldwork skills.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Appreciation of the stages of basin development, their structural and sedimentological character and their stratigraphic record.
2. Techniques for analysis of sedimentary characteristics to infer depositional environments and paleogeographical settings.
3. Techniques for analysis of faults and folds including kinematic indicators to infer structural evolution.
4. Consolidate a range of geological field-skills (logging, mapping, structural analysis).
5. Integration of outcrop and subsurface observations.

Indicative Module Content:

The specific itinerary changes year-on-year to accommodate tides and logistical arrangements, but will involve visits to most of the following localities:

Field Area 1. The metamorphic rocks on the South Devon Coast: Salcombe North Sands; Hope Cove; Thurlestone Sands.

Field Area 2. Folded and faulted Carboniferous sedimentary rocks on The North Cornwall and North Devon Coasts: Westward Ho!; Hartland Quay; Northcott Mouth; Upton.

Field Area 3. The Basement / Basin unconformity at outcrops around the Severn Estuary: Aust Cliff; Royal Inn; Kilkenny Bay; Portishead Point.

Field Area 4. Continental Permo-Triassic sandstones around Exmouth: Dawlish; Budleigh Salterton; Ladram Bay.

Field Area 5. Triassic – Jurassic deposits, and basin extension and inversion structures on the the North Somerset Coast: St Audrie’s Bay; East Kilve; Lilstock; West Kilve; Beacon Hill; West of Watchet harbour; Blue Anchor Fault.

Field Area 6. Jurassic to Tertiary sedimentary rocks and evidence of Tertiary inversion on the Dorset Coast: Eype; Hive Beach; Osmington Mills; Kimmeridge Bay; Lulworth Cove; Studland Bay; Wytch Farm viewpoint.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Field Trip/External Visits


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The fieldtrip is preceded by two lectures and class-room sessions providing background information, analysis of large-scale geological maps of the area, and interpretation of key seismic lines. Once in the field, outcrops are examined using a combination of group and individual activities, including mapping and sedimentary logging, analysis of geological structures and basic geological observations, measurement and reporting. Evening workshops focus on analysis of field data and discussion and presentation of field observations.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
GEOL30040 - Sedimentary Environments, GEOL30350 - Geological Structures

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Fieldwork: Material worked up before or during the fieldtrip (e.g. notebooks, logs, maps, cross-sections, annotated photos), engagement, and a short viva-voce exam. 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

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Progress and technical issues are discussed regularly with the students while in the field. Evening sessions are for consolidating work and feedback on progress of both group or individual work carried out that day is provided. The post field-trip viva is also used for providing feedback performance.

Name Role
Dr Lawrence Amy Lecturer / Co-Lecturer