EARTHSCI 301 : Advanced Field Geological Skills and Methods


2020 Summer School (1200) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Advanced field course that allows students to attain a high level of geological field skills through a series of integrative field problems. Focuses on advanced field skills, work flows and interpretations needed to decipher complex geological terrains. Examines a range of sedimentary and igneous units in the North Island. Critically examines outcrops and develops complex 4D models of tectonostratigraphic and volcanological evolution in a variety of settings. Field exercises culminate in individual mapping exercises and synthesis of the geological histories of areas.

Course Overview

  • This is a core Stage 3 Earth Science course gives students training in advanced geological mapping in sedimentary and volcanic terrain. Topics include – use and construction of geologic maps; recognition and mapping of faults and folds; the influence of geology on landscape development; volcanism and landslides in the field; use of fossils and sedimentary rocks in stratigraphy to reconstruct geologic events of a region. Advanced techniques are practised throughout the twelve field days include making and recording field observations, field identification of rocks and fossils, use of the compass/ clinometer, and advanced mapping procedures, culminating in independent mapping exercises at Port Waikato and Tongariro.
  • Satisfactory completion of Earth Science 201 is assumed.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: EARTHSCI 201 or GEOLOGY 201, and 30 points from EARTHSCI 202-204, GEOLOGY 202-204 Restriction: GEOLOGY 301

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Development of fundamental skills in geological mapping. Conducting geological fieldwork in sedimentary and volcanic terrains, including the use of field equipment, taking field notes, measuring geological structures. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  2. How to understanding of the geology of the mapping areas Undertaken in the form of geological maps and appropriate field notes and sketches. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Working in a team Must be able to work as part of a team, as well as autonomously and ethically, when undertaking fieldwork and subsequent report writing. (Capability 4, 5 and 6)
  4. Respecting cultural diversity The historic place of the treaty of Waitangi are integral to field geology as respecting the owners and custodians of the land we are undertaking fieldwork on starts with minimising our impacts and abiding by the framework set for the country code and associated health and safety practices. (Capability 1, 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Development of fundamental skills in stratigraphy Determination of stratigraphic order in rock packages using biostratrigraphy and lithostratigraphy. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  6. Learning how to map volcanic terrains How to identify tephra and produce a tephra isopach map. How to identify and map volcanic facies types and appreciate heir significance for reconstructing the volcanic history of the Taupo Volcanic Zone.
  7. Skills involved in reading the landscape. Development of the ability to read the landscape and describe and evaluate it critically to understand its relationship to the underlying geology, and understand the processes that have been and are acting on it. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  8. Working safely and effectively in the field and laboratory. Develop the skills and awareness required. (Capability 1, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Port Waikato Field Exercises 50% Individual Coursework
Taupo Volcanic Zone Field Exercises 50% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Port Waikato Field Exercises
Taupo Volcanic Zone Field Exercises

Learning Resources

All required learning resources will be provided:
  • Earth Science Programme staff (2018), Port Waikato field itinerary. School of Environment, The University of Auckland.
  • Geology Programme staff (2009), Field Geology: A handbook of basic techniques and safety practice. School of Environment, The University of Auckland, Uniprint, Auckland.  Revised and expanded 6th edition. 
  • Cronin, S.J., and Shane, P.A. (compilers) (2018). TVZ Earth Science 301 Field Trip Guide. School of Environment, The University of Auckland.
  • In addition, all students will provided with note books and maps that must be used for the field exercises undertaken.

Special Requirements

  • Students must attend both residential fieldtrips (Port Waikato and Taupo Volcanic Zone) to be able to undertake the assignments set.
  • The course work will be undertaken and completed during the fieldtrips after a preparation day at the University of Auckland prior to departure for both the Port Waikato and Taupo Volcanic Zone field camps.
  • The work undertaken at each field camp will involve evening classes to complete the work undertaken by the students each day.
  • All assessed course work is submitted by the students immediately prior to departure from each of the Port Waikato and Taupo Volcanic Zone field camps.
  • All students must attend the preparatory day at the University prior to departure for each of the field camps. Essential field skills are revised and students made aware of health and safety issues as well as environmental considerations associated with the fieldwork. All students are required to read and sign our health and safety in the field documentation prior to departure for the field.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

  • For this course, you can expect a total of 8 hours of combined lectures and laboratory classes as preparation for the fieldwork, 8 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 10 hours/day of work on the assignments undertaken in the field on each day for 12 days at Port Waikato and the Taupo Volcanic Zone combined. The latter includes travel time to the field camps and field sites each day.

Other Information

Note that the fieldwork in both the Port Waikato and Taupo Volcanic Zone will require working on farmland and other rough terrain.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website at

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page:

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter (


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 08/10/2019 05:09 p.m.