Earth's Sedimentary Rocks and Environments

Course code GEOS2200Units 10Level 2000Faculty of Science and Information TechnologySchool of Environmental and Life Sciences

This course includes theorethical and practical introduction to sedimentary environments, sedimentary processes and their recognition in the rock record by using the concept of facies. Theory is presented in the Lectures and then applied during Laboratories, which include a strong field component. The course also covers practical description and and classification of sediments and sedimentary rocks through microscopy laboratories .
The topics of the course are organised to introduce Earth’s sedimentary rocks and their environments of deposition in a logical progression:
1. familiarisation with the concept of facies and facies models and their practical applications;
2. familiarisation with sedimentary structures, how these relate to transport processes and their applications in sedimentary geology;
3. provision of an overview of the principles of stratigraphy;
4. introduction to the microscopic petrological description of sedimentary rocks

This course has Compulsory Course Components and students must obtain a passing grade of at least 50% overall in their laboratory (including field study) reports.

In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory Workplace Health and Safety requirement. Students will receive full information on this compulsory component in the course outline provided by the school.

Available in 2015

Callaghan CampusSemester 2
Previously offered in 2014
ObjectivesOn successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of sedimentary rock properties such as composition, texture and structures, and a corresponding understanding of the depositional processes, the environments of deposition and the evolution through space and time of the depositional environments;
2. Demonstrate the capability to apply theories and concepts to the practical field observation and analytical tools to reconstruct, and predict, facies associations at surface and underground. That is: demonstrate the acquisition of fundamental professional skills of the geologist and environmental scientist;
3. Demonstrate the capability to critically discuss and evaluate theoretical concepts and ideas from sedimentary geology, sedimentary petrography and stratigraphy in written form;
4. Demonstrate the capability to support interpretations by sound analytical and observational data in written form;
5. Demonstrate the capability to write reports at an academically acceptable standard and the capability to support and elucidate written material with appropriate academically acceptable graphic illustrations; and
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic elements of working in a group and debating ideas in lecture and laboratory environments.
ContentThe objectives of the course are met by providing theoretical background on the controlling factors resulting in production, transport and deposition of detrital (siliciclastic) and biochemical (carbonates) sediments rocks and resultant sedimentary structures which are the basis of facies analysis and, ultimately, for the reconstruction of past depositional environments. In synthesis, the course covers:

1. The concept of facies, facies models , facies associations and how these related to depositional environments, Walther's Law and Uniformitarianism.
2. Facies Models for continental (Fluvial), transitional (Coastal, Deltaic, Estuarine) and marine (Shelf and Deep Water) depositional environments
3. The role of climate and plate tectonics in the development of facies and facies associations, with focus on the Newcastle Coal Measures
4. Application of the principles that the Present is the Key to the past in the interpretation of past environments from sedimentary rock properties.
5. Provenance and transport processes of clastic sedimentary rocks and unconsolidated sediment
6. Classification systems for sedimentary rocks
7. Techniques for the characterisation of sedimentary rocks and unconsolidated sediments
8. Presentation and interpretation of data from sedimentary grain populations
9. Processes and facies of formation of carbonate rocks
10.Diagenetic processes and features in sedimentary rocks

Field-based and and microscopy laboratories provide necessary link between theory and observation and interpretation of ancient and modern sedimentary environments,.
Replacing Course(s)N/A
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeGEOS1040, GEOS1050, GEOS2170
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsField Study
Assessment Items
Examination: Class
Other: (please specify)Mid-term Q/A

Short answers to questions aimed at:
testing the capacity for sythesis
testing the learning curve at mid-semester
testing the capability of writing sentenace in the appropriate scientific language and in good English.
ReportsMajor field study report

This component tests the capacity of students to demonstrate skills associated with Course Objectives 1, 2,3,4 & 5, which relate to the application of theory to professional practice.

Microscopy Laboratory reports and exercises. This component meets Objectives 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6.

This assessment has a Compulsory Course Component. Students must obtain a passing grade of at least 50% overall (not in each individual report) in order to demonstrate that they have fulfilled Course Objectives 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6.

On achieving a passing grade, a final mark will be given in the course and it will be recorded that the student satisfied the Compulsory Course Components. For those students who fail to satisfy the Compulsory Course Components, the normal avenues of appeal will be open to them.
Contact HoursLaboratory: for 4 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Lecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Compulsory Components
Compulsory Course ComponentWHS-Safety Induction or Risk Assessment. Compulsory Course Component: In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory fieldwork induction.
Compulsory Course ComponentStudents must obtain a passing grade of at least 50% overall in their laboratory (including field study) reports to pass the course.
Timetables2015 Course Timetables for GEOS2200