Field Course in Carbonate Environments

Course code GEOS3260
Not available in 2015


This course introduces students to the stratigraphy, sedimentology, facies and facies associations of carbonate environments. This is chiefly attained by taking part in a one week to 10 days field excursion to ancient carbonate depositional systems preceded by Introductory Lectures and workshops and followed by a self-conducted research project on campus tied to the fieldwork which includes the acquisition of petrographic observations, diagenetic studies and bibliographic research. Field locations are not fixed, and may even be overseas, whereby the exact timing will depend on the best climatic conditions for fieldwork in the selected area. Fieldwork would commonly take place within the semester break or before the start of semester 2 (if overseas). Details of the area, timing and duration of the field work will be provided in Blackboard well before the course commences (15 days) if field area is in Australia. Notice of field area overseas will be given one year in advance to collect expressions of interest and allow for flights organization. Note that the course runs every two years.


Not currently available.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2014.

Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate an understanding of field stratigraphy;

2. Demonstrate an understanding of facies and facies associations within a tectonically active context;

3. Demonstrate the capability to recognise boundaries and use them in correlations

4. Demonstrate the capability to use notes, sketches and photos as the working material necessary to draw interpretations;

5. Demonstrate the capability to carry out field work independently;

6. Demonstrate knowledge relative to the theorethical and analytical tools needed to solve field-based problems;

7. Write a well-researched, synthetic scientific report that processes field and campus laboratory data to obtain results, and discusses the results incorporating literature hypotheses to formulate conclusions.


GEOS3260 is conducted at different field areas where outstanding carbonate complexes outcrop. The syllabus consists of a six (6) to ten (10) day field mapping program, with lectures in the morning and workshops in the evening. Student's field notes will be the core of the interpretative report back at The University of Newcastle.
Lectures will cover:

  1. principles of carbonate formation (bio-mediation, bio-precipitation, chemical precipitation;
  2. the concepts of carbonate factory;
  3. evolution of carbonate environments and carbonate factories with time with focus on their relation to global climates and mass extinctions;
  4. the importance of carbonate factories in the global Carbon cycle, and as reservoirs of hydrocarbons and high quality water resources;
  5. Basic concepts of carbonate geochemistry, including isotope geochemistry, and how this is applied in economic and academic research.

Assumed Knowledge

GEOS2200, GEOS2280 and/or GEOS2050.

Assessment Items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Field Study Q/A

Presentation: Individual Presentation

Written Assignment: Field Report and Essay

Contact Hours


Field Study

Face to Face Off Campus 26 hour(s) per Term


Face to Face On Campus 30 hour(s) per Term


Face to Face On Campus 14 hour(s) per Term

Lectures, Laboratories and Workshops may be held in the field. Laboratories include self-learning.


Face to Face On Campus 6 hour(s) per Term