EARTHSCI 308 : Tectonic and Magmatic Systems


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Explores the tectonic and magmatic evolution of Earth and planetary systems, including their formation, composition, and how they deform. Students are exposed to seminal literature covering the various geological, geochemical, geophysical, and modelling tools and methods used for deciphering Earth deformation and magmatism, and the critical feedbacks between these processes. Recommended preparation: EARTHSCI 203, 208

Course Overview

The tectonic and magmatic evolution of Earth is explored and synthesised through the integration of diverse geological, geochemical and geophysical approaches, providing context for the current composition, structure, and landscape of our planet. Additional consideration of other planetary systems in the Solar System allows us to consider the range of magmatic, tectonic, and geodynamic conditions that can influence the form and structure of a planetary body.

The course will undertake blended learning with digital resources supporting studio style classes with an emphasis on hands on learning and discussion. Students will engage with seminal literature and undertake analytical, numerical, geospatial, writing and presentation tasks to reinforce key concepts and develop practical skills. This course focusses on fundamental science that could underpin development in any facet of the earth sciences but is also of direct relevance to postgraduate courses and careers in volcanology, tectonics, natural hazards, energy and resources.   

This course assumes some background in earth science, geophysics or similar.    

Course Requirements

Restriction: EARTHSCI 304, 305

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
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Comprehend the formation of the earth from accretion to geodynamic, tectonic, and magmatic processes currently occurring and model aspects of this (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Recognise the geometrical controls on the structural, basin, magmatic and landscape architecture at plate margins and interiors on earth and model aspects of this (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Compare and contrast earth and planetary systems to distil out key controls (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Recognise how different geological, geochemical, geomorphic and geophysical tools can be used to unravel active tectonic and magmatic processes and histories (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Utilise qualitative and quantitative approaches to model tectonic and magmatic processes (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Evaluate and synthesise peer-reviewed scientific literature (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  7. Apply research and science communication skills learnt to produce an independent scientific review (written report and poster presentation) of a selected special topic (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Report 25% Individual Coursework
Presentation 10% Individual Coursework
Laboratories and studio exercises 35% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 30% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Laboratories and studio exercises
Final Exam
Plussage will apply to Laboratory and Studio Exercises with the top seven out of nine at 5% each included in the final grade. 

Key Topics

Accretion and Differentiation of the Earth
Plate Tectonics
Mechanisms of Heat and Mass Transport
Rheology and Fluids
Intraplate Volcanism and Large Igneous Provinces
Rifting and Magmatism (Mid Ocean Ridges and Continental Rifting)
Subduction and Arc Magmatism
Planetary Tectonics and Magmatism

Special Requirements

There are no special requirements

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 up to 5 hours of studios/laboratories each week and 5 hours of preparation and work on assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled classes including studios and laboratories/tutorials to complete components of the course. Lecture content will be available as recordings but other learning activities including laboratories/studios will not be available as recordings.
Attendance on campus is required for the final examination.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable

Special advice for Offshore students
This course is available online to students resident offshore. The assessment and learning delivery mechanisms may differ from that presented in this Digital Course Outline. Please contact the Course Coordinator for further details (Michael Rowe,

Learning Resources

A Talis reading list will be provided.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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

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.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1:  Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person.  All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.  You will be notified of any activities that are offered in person.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

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 07/06/2021 11:38 p.m.