Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


Fuels are currently the mainstay of our energy industry. However, environmental concerns and a desire to optimise efficiency in the energy industry mean that the fuels and energy area is subject to great change. Geology of Fuels deals in part with formation of, exploration for, recovery and utilisation of fossil fuels, specialising in coal. The course deals with tectonics of coal and coal seam gas formation, evolution of the flora and fauna from which they form, environments of formation, maturation, marketing, utilisation and environmental aspects of energy generation including fossil fuels and laternative baseload power sources. Students present a seminar on a topic of their choice related to fuels or energy, to develop an area of specialisation prior to entering the workplace, or undertaking research.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2019.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Plan, research and report on a project investigating comparison between two tectonic settings for basinal environments in which fossil fuel resources are found.

2. Critically appraise information from a wide range of sources to produce a coherent synthesis in response to directed problem-based enquiries and communicate concepts in a written format.

3. Connect practical skills and theoretical knowledge to solve qualitative and quantitative problems using appropriate mathematical and computing techniques.

4. Work in groups to connect practical skills and theoretical knowledge in fuels exploration.

5. Communicate results of individual research on a self-directed energy project verbally, with attention given to presentation techniques, as suitable for a commissioning client.


Lectures in GEOS3160 cover:

  • depositional environments of peat formation
  • tectonic environments of peat/coal deposits
  • evolution of flora/fauna which contribute to organic deposits
  • maturation of organic deposits
  • coal exploration methods
  • utilisation of coal and developing technologies
  • origin, source, migration, and entrapment of coal seam gas
  • world distribution of coal and coal seam gas
  • techniques used in the detection, evaluation and recovery of fossil fuels
  • carbon dioxide sequestration methods
  • impacts of current recovery and utilisations of fossil fuels
  • overview of alternative baseload energy sources

Laboratory sessions and excursions increase the practical component of the course and raise students' exposure to the application of the course content in the industry itself.

Assumed knowledge

GEOS1040 and GEOS2200

Assessment items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Lab Exercises (4) *

Presentation: Seminar Presentation

Formal Examination: Formal Examination

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Practical: There is a compulsory attendance requirement in this course. - In order to pass the course students must attend 80% of these sessions.
  • Practical: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory fieldwork induction.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.