Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Sedimentary Geology: Environments and Basin Fill EARTH4071

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The characteristics of sedimentary rocks and their depositional environments and how they vary through time, including the processes that control deposition, and the diagenetic processes which affect them. The course develops advanced field skills in sedimentology.


Four classes per week for 3 weeks (2 hr lecture and 1 hr lab per class). Local 1 day field class. 8-day residential overseas field class.

Requirements of Entry

Normally completion of all credit-bearing courses from Earth Science Level 2 at an average Grade C3 or better, achieving at least a Grade of D3 in each individual course and attendance at the residential field class.

Excluded Courses

EARTH4023 - Sedimentary Geology

EARTH4024 - Stratigraphy


Written exam (50%)

Practical sedimentology skills (16.67%) - local field class and short report

Field class (33.33%) - maps, cross sections and report

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

The aim of this course is to introduce students, in both the class and the field, to the principles of the stratigraphic expression of sedimentary depositional environments (clastic and carbonate), and how they may vary through time and space to fill sedimentary basins.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Analyse key characteristics (facies) that allow the interpretation of depositional environments of sediments;

■ Examine key processes and depositional characteristics for a suite of depositional environments and determine basin fill histories and the role of tectonics in forming sedimentary basins;

■ Explain the controls on sediment diagenesis, their influence on porosity and permeability, and their importance in industrial applications;

■ Appraise isotopic-based methods to determine depositional ages and provenance of sediments;

■ Critically evaluate the application of sequence stratigraphy in basin analysis;

■ Synthesise and interpret sedimentary data in the context of graphical logs in the field and laboratory;

■ Synthesise and interpret sedimentary data in the context of geological maps, gross-depositional maps and cross sections in the field and laboratory;

■ Construct a geological map of a suite of sedimentary rocks in the field and evaluate the depositional and structural history of the area in a written report.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.