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Unit information: Independent Field Project in 2020/21

Unit name Independent Field Project
Unit code EASC30022
Credit points 30
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Riker
Open unit status Not open

Years 1 and 2 of the Geology degree programme curriculum



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


The aim of this field mapping class is for the student to develop further observational, recording and deductive skills in the field through mapping and the gathering of petrological, structural,and other geologically relevant data. In preparation for fieldwork students will prepare a draft risk assessment. Comparison with the formal risk assessment will then provide insight into what should be considered when writing a risk assessment.

Students will spend four days in intensive mapping training, followed by 24 days of independent mapping (with a partner) in an assigned project area.

Students will produce an independent project that includes the following elements:

  1. a field notebook and field geological map;
  2. a digitally-drafted fair copy map with legend;
  3. geological cross-section(s);
  4. a mapping report that integrates observations made in the field, interpretations derived from the map and cross-sections, analysis of structural and other field data and information about the region that is available in the literature;
  5. an A1 poster that will present a synopsis of the mapping project and which will be displayed in a poster session.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the field class students will be able to:

  • Identify and interpret a range of rock types in the field.
  • Record systematically and interpret the geology of an area based exclusively on field observations.
  • Produce an electronic version of a geological field map.
  • Interpret geological structures in cross-section and through the use of stereographic representations.
  • Develop time management skills.
  • Integrate diverse data into a coherent report.
  • Understand the basic principles used in preparing a risk assessment

Teaching details

Content will be delivered through a series of synchronous preparatory sessions in Bristol then in the field prior to independent synchronous fieldwork. Students who either begin or continue their studies in an online mode may be required to complete fieldwork, or alternative activities in person, either during the academic year 2020/21 or subsequently, in order to meet the intended learning outcomes for the unit, prepare them for subsequent units or to satisfy accreditation requirements.

Assessment Details

  • 80% coursework, comprised of a report detailing a field-based geological analysis and history of the mapped region (30%), accompanied by original field notebooks (15%) and field maps (15%), a fair copy A0 map (10%), and a cross section (10%).
  • 10% based on an individual questions and answer session to be held after submission and marking of the mapping materials and report
  • 10% professionalism mark, including behaviour and engagement with field-based activities

Reading and References

Recommended Texts:

  • Basic Geological Mapping (Geological Field Guide), Richard J. Lisle, Peter Brabham and John W. Barnes (1995, Open University Press);
  • Interpretation of Geological Maps, Butler and Bell (1988, Longman Scientific and Technical);
  • An Introduction to Geological Structures and Maps, Dr George M. Bennison, Dr Paul A. Olver and Keith A. Moseley (2011, Hodder Education Publication);
  • Methods in Field Geology (1981), F. Moseley Woodcock and Strachan Geological Evolution of the British Isles (2000, Blackwell Science)