Stratigraphy and Regional Tectonic Synthesis EARTH4081

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

An overview of methods in stratigraphy framed around the history and challenges of interpreting regional geology and tectonics, and particularly that of Scotland. Introducing concepts around uncertainty in geological datasets, and how such data and uncertainties might be drawn together to assess regional geology.


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

Requirements of Entry

Normally completion of Level 3 Geology courses at a mean of D3.

Excluded Courses

EARTH4024 - Stratigraphy


Essay assignment (75%); poster presentation and defence (25%).

Main Assessment In: April/May

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


Course Aims

The primary aims of the course are to:

■ Discuss the range of methodologies employed to interpret regional geological evolution, and the uncertainties associated with such methods. These methods include geochronology, chemo- and biostratigraphy, palaeomagnetism, igneous geochemistry, sedimentology, metamorphism, structure, and geophysics.

■ Data arising from such methods will be used to discuss, develop and critique regional tectonic models, with particular reference to the origin and tectonic evolution of Scotland.

■ Make primary field observations which may be used to test hypotheses about Scottish geology.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Explain how stratigraphical techniques have been used in both global and Scottish contexts to reconstruct plate tectonic histories.

■ Use case studies to describe and explain the terrane concept.

■ Make primary field observations and debate field evidence in support of aspects of Scottish stratigraphical evolution.

■ Demonstrate uncertainties in stratigraphical datasets and explain their potential causes.

■ Critically assess the implications such uncertainties have for our interpretation of Scottish stratigraphy.

■ Assemble and evaluate arguments for the tectonic evolution of the Scottish crust, drawing on critical evaluation of multiple datasets.

■ Formulate methodologies and/or hypotheses which may be used or tested in future to further our understanding of regional geological evolution.

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.