Geological Skills: Spatial, Numerical, Geophysical and Field Methods EARTH4078

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will allow students to develop further skills in a number of key areas relevant to professional geologists and Earth scientists. The course will focus on providing the skills and expertise required to manage, analyse, visualise and evaluate a wide range of field and lab based geological, geomorphological, geophysical, geochemical and environmental data using a range of robust, quantitative methods and software tools. It will also cover the use of field techniques and methods for constructing and interpreting geological maps (bedrock and superficial deposits) and cross sections.


Four classes per week for 5 weeks (1 hr lecture and 2 hr lab per class). Three local 1 day field classes.

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

EARTH4002 - Geological Field Skills

EARTH4009 - Geophysics

EARTH4050 - Digital Geoscience


Exam (40%): Geological map interpretation and analysis of structural data.

Practical Skills Assessment: i) Lab based CA exercise requiring students to demonstrate knowledge and skills of a range of digital data processing methods and tools as part of a problem solving task based on real data (30%); ii) Application and evaluation of a quantitative model to interpret real data (30%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

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


Course Aims

To develop a wide range of advanced practical skills centred around GIS and Digital Image Processing techniques, map construction and interpretation, geophysical, geochemical and geological data interpretation, and their application to real world problems.

The students will also examine the relationship between geomorphology and underlying geology using field and digital methods.

The course will also provide practical skills training in the application of quantitative models of field and laboratory based observations and testing of the validity of the models by comparing the predictions to observations using formal statistical methods. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Utilise a range of digital geoscience data and processing methods (e.g. Geographical Information Systems, Digital Image Processing, Numerical Computation and Analysis).

■ Evaluate the interaction between geomorphology and the underlying geology

■ Process and interpret geomorphological, geophysical, geochemical, structural and environmental data using a variety of appropriate methods.

■ Design experiments/data collection to solve a problem using an appropriate case study

■ Design and evaluate hypotheses using parametric statistics, and implement and evaluate the results of quantitative models.

■ Construct and interpret geological maps (bedrock and superficial deposits) and cross-sections, and interpret 3D geology to solve practical problems.

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.