EARTHSCI 714 : Faults and Fluids


2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Fault-fluid interaction is critical in earthquake dynamics and hydrothermal systems that have implications for geothermal energy, ore mineralisation and, via hydrothermal alteration, land stability. We will explore the fundamentals of these interactions and their relevance to hazard and resource challenges of society today. This course will be anchored by a strong in-person field component.

Course Overview

This course explores fundamental concepts of crustal fault dynamics and the role of structure in fluid flow using literature and quantitative exercises. We will also explore rock-fluid interactions. These concepts are explored in greater depth through application to the Coromandel and Taupo Volcanic Zones; including active continental rifting in the central North Island of New Zealand.

This will include a compulsory 4 to 5-day (TBC) residential field trip to the Coromandel and Taupo Volcanic Zones (8-12th April 2024) and weekly contact that will range from more formal delivery of content to computer lab or discussion sessions where students and staff can interact as work on assessment tasks is progressed.

This course is ideal preparation for work in hazard, geothermal energy, resources or engineering geology but also has a strong focus on the development of communication and quantitative skills. Some background in tectonics/earth science/geology will be assumed.

Course Requirements

Restriction: EARTHSCI 706

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Appreciate the relevance of faults and fluid to hazard, energy and resources (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  2. Research and synthesize literature to explain fault-fluid systems and rock-fluid interactions in relation to hazard, energy and/or resources (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6)
  3. Analyse data in space and/or time to resolve patterns and link these to process in relation to hazard, energy and/or resources (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7)
  4. Apply and evaluate strategies for working effectively within a team to solve problems and maximise quality of an output (Capability 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  5. Deliver and discuss scientific information with increased confidence and precision (Capability 3, 4, 6 and 8)
  6. Apply theoretical and ethical understanding in practical scenarios (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
  7. Critically evaluate your performance and development in relation to the learning outcomes for the course (Capability 3, 4 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Coursework 25% Individual Coursework
Presentation 5% Individual Coursework
Report 20% Individual Coursework
Test 20% Individual Coursework
Presentation 5% Group Coursework
Report 20% Group Coursework
Reflection 5% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

As part of the University-wide Tuākana community, The School of Environment Tuākana Programme aims to provide a welcoming learning environment for and enhance the success of, all of our Māori and Pacific students. We are led by the principles of tautoko (support) and whanaungatanga (connection) and hope you find a home here at the School. Students who have identified as Māori and/or Pacific will receive an invitation to our online portal introducing the Programme, the resources we have available, and how you can get involved.Māori and Pacific's students are encouraged to contact Sonia Fonua ( for information about the Tuākana programme.

Key Topics

  • Architecture of the Coromandel Volcanic Zone and Taupo Volcanic Zone
  • Faults, fluids and fractures
  • Crustal Rheology
  • Earthquakes
  • Magmatic-tectonic-hydrothermal interactions
  • Geothermal Systems
  • Ore-forming Environments
  • Characterising hazard and geothermal or mineralisation potential

Special Requirements

A four to five-day (TBC) residential field trip is planned for the mid-semester break (8-12 April 2023) to the Coromandel and Taupo Volcanic Zone. This trip is compulsory and integral to the learning objectives and assessments of this course. Costs of transport, accommodation and entry into 3rd party managed sites (such as Waimungu and Orakei Korako geothermal fields) will be covered. Students will be initiated into the University of Auckland health and safety process and expected to be actively engaged in managing their individual and group hazards and risk during the trip. Most stops are easily accessible from vehicles/walking tracks but please discuss any issues that may limit field activities with the course coordinator before the end of Week 2. Sturdy boots, personal clothing and accessories for the potentially hot/cold/wet conditions on the fieldtrip are required. 


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 10 hours of taught material, 14 hours of tutorial time, a four(-five) day residential field trip, and 75+ hours of reading, thinking about the content, and working on the assignments which are directly tied to class, tutorial, and field trip activities.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled classes (which may function as lectures, laboratories or tutorials) to and the fieldtrip to complete components of the course. Lectures will be available as recordings if the timetabled room allows but other learning activities including the fieldtrip, laboratories or tutorials will not be available as recordings.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable with the 4-5 day residential field trip in the mid-semester break (8th-12th April).

Learning 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.

Seminal to cutting edge peer reviewed literature will be used to support this course. 

Health & Safety

Students will be initiated into the University of Auckland health and safety process and expected to be actively engaged in managing their individual and group hazards and risk during the residential field trip. 

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.

This course results from the merger of the former EarthSci 714 and EarthSci 706 and will be running for the first time in this format in 2024.   

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 for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


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 course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 06/11/2023 08:39 a.m.