EARTHSCI 754 : Pure and Applied Sedimentology


2021 Semester Two (1215) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An integrated account of aspects of advanced sedimentology from sediment source to sink. Critical examination of recent and ongoing, pure and applied research into the dynamics of sedimentary environments and their recognition in the ancient record. No formal prerequisite, but knowledge of sedimentology and sedimentary processes at the level covered in GEOG 262 or GEOLOGY 202 will be assumed.

Course Overview

This is a learning and research-centred course directed at developing an advanced understanding of sedimentology.  The course is divided into two research themes, which will incrementally become more complex, allowing you to develop your sedimentological knowledge and research skills, with time.  The course is delivered to you via a series of lectures, practical exercises, seminars and fieldtrips.  A range of sedimentological datasets are utilized including 1D core and log data, 2D and 3D outcrop data. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

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

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. To attain a high level of competency in sedimentary data collection from a range of sources including cores, outcrop, logs and correlation diagrams. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  2. To use first principles to derive well-constrained, detailed, flow-process interpretations (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  3. To have the ability to develop internally consistent hypotheses of depositional environments and their evolution in space in time (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  4. To have knowledge of contemporary facies models and the latest literature in deltaic and marine depositional systems (Capability 1, 2 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Final Exam 60% Individual Examination
Coursework 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam


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.

This course is supported by our Programme Coordinator, Kaiāwhina/Māori student adviser, and Pacific student adviser. They are able to organise group study and facilitate direct assistance regarding material taught in this course. For more information regarding the Programme feel free to email our Programme Coordinator:

Key Topics

The course uses case studies and field data to advance your understanding of sedimentology through two main themes, these are:

1. Deep marine environments, using both outcrops and modern seafloor datasets.
2. River processes and ancient fluvial deposits, using case studies.

Special Requirements

  • There will be a complusory two day, non-residential fieldtrip (date to be confirmed over 1 weekend).   Your results from the trip will be presented individually as a written field report.
  • There will be 5 research workshops held throughout the course.  These are designed to facilitate a lot of discussion and engagement on a range of useful and cutting edge topics including how to get the most from the literature to micro-plastics in the deep ocean.  Attendance is expected at each workshop, as is preparation and engagement in the class through group discussions.

Workload Expectations

Following University workload guidelines, a standard 15 point course represents approximately 150 hours of study.

During a typical teaching week there will be a 2 hour meeting where we will have a mix of lectures, research workshops, and laboratories totalling 24 hours. You will spend 16 hours in the field. Since the course as a whole represents approximately 150 hours of study, that leaves a total of 110 hours across the entire semester for independent study, including research workshop preparation and preparing for assessments and the final exam. 

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled classes including lectures and laboratories/tutorials to complete components of the course. Lectures will be available as recordings but other learning activities including laboratories/tutorials 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 (Dr Lorna Strachan and

Learning Resources

1.    The Canvas pages associated with course.  The lecture material will be placed within the modules.
2.    There are no specific textbooks that accompany this course.  But the following are useful sources of generic information:     
Bridge, J.S. & Demicco, R.V. (2008) earth Surface Processes, Landforms and Sediment Deposits.  *This is a superb book (!!).  It is very comprehensive and takes the reader from basics to very advanced levels*.
Leeder, M.R. (2011) Sedimentology and Sedimentary Basins. *This is a classic and used in most advanced sedimentology courses worldwide*.
Posamentier & Walker (2006) Facies models revisited. SEPM Special Publication 84.  *There is a useful CD-ROM with this book, which makes this reading material easily accessible*.
Reading (1996) Sedimentary Environments: Processes, Facies and Stratigraphy. *An old, but classic book in facies analysis, covering generic models and basic ideas*.
3.    An integral part of this course is sourcing the latest literature on the depositional systems examined here.  By latest literature I mean Journal articles, published in the last 5 years.  The best library databases to search are GEOREF and Web of Science. *We will run through these in Research Workshop 1*.

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.
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 11:41 p.m.