EARTHSCI 754 : Advanced Sedimentology


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Develops an advanced understanding of sedimentology. Critically examines the latest research into the dynamics of contemporary and ancient surface processes and sedimentary environments. Case studies, field work, guest lectures and discussions are used to develop a deep understanding of sedimentology.

Course Overview

This is a learning and research‐centred course directed at developing an advanced understanding of sedimentology and associated practical field skills. The course is divided into four parts that will allow you to develop your sedimentological knowledge and research skills.

  • Part 1 “Advanced Sedimentological Toolkit” provides revision of the fundamentals of sedimentology, including all the tools needed to observe, record and process core, outcrop or subsurface data.
  • Part 2 “From theory to real world” focuses of sediment gravity flows with real world examples.
  • Part 3 “Field Sedimentology” focuses on using outcrops from the Waitematā Basin to understand past processes. You will be trained in the latest techniques in field data collection using iPads as notebooks and integrating your data into digital outcrop models. 
  • Part 4 “Sedimentology & Society” looks ahead to the future global problems that sedimentology has the power to help solve. 

The course is delivered via a series of lectures, discussions and hybrid field experiences (virtual and physical fieldwork).

As part of this course, there are two field trips.  The first is to Waiwera, located ~ 40 km north of Auckland.  This is a spectacular coastal outcrop of well-exposed Waitematā Basin outcrops.  Some of you may know Waiwera for its geothermal slide pools, or its spring water.  It’s a fascinating location with an inferred large offset normal fault (100s m offset inferred from boreholes), active geothermal system, and spectacularly preserved sedimentary rocks. The second trip is to Tindalls Bay, located on Whangaparaoa Peninsula north of Auckland.   Whangaparaoa Peninsula hosts some of the most spectacularly deformed outcrops of the Waitematā Basin.  This has been the site for many international conference fieldtrips with a focus on mass transport deposits and processes.  The rugged coast and rapidly eroding cliffs make this a dynamic setting to view the ever changing outcrops.

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
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

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 possible sources including cores, outcrop, logs and correlation diagrams. (Capability 1)
  2. To use first principles to derive well-constrained, detailed, flow-process interpretations. (Capability 2 and 3)
  3. To develop and demonstrate internally consistent hypotheses of depositional environmentsand their evolution in space in time (Capability 2, 3 and 5)
  4. Be able to demonstrate knowledge of contemporary facies models and the latest literature in marine depositional systems (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
  5. Be able to communicate through written and verbal discussions your own intrepretations and critical thoughts on sedimentary system data, problems and their impact of geopolitics, geoethics and society. (Capability 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 60% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Final Exam
The assignments consist of:
  1. Digital Field data
  2. Student talks
  3. Written field Report


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 ( or Kimoro Taiepa ( for information about the Tuākana programme.

Key Topics

  • Fundamentals of Sedimentology
  • Deep Marine Depositional Systems
  • Waitemata-Northland Basin

Special Requirements

The field trip involves 2 half-days to a site north of Auckland on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.  This is run over 1 weekend (Saturday and Sunday) during the semester.  For those unable to attend in person, or in the case of ongoing covid restrictions or inclement weather conditions, a virtual field trip option available.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 150 hours of work in each 15-point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 6 hours of lectures (12 hours of preparation), 10 hours of Research Workshops (20 hours of preparation),  6 hours of post-field trip tutorials (12 hours of fieldwork including travel time), 50 hours on assignments and 35 hours on examination preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including lectures/tutorials/fieldwork to receive credit for components of the course.

Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including seminars and tutorials will be available as recordings.

The course will include live online events including group discussions.

Attendance on campus is required for the exam.

The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

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.

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*.

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*.

Health & Safety

Students will be provided with health and safety briefings prior to fieldwork.

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.

The course was redesigned for 2022 and the student feedback around content, workload and the use of Ipads in the field has been very positive.

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.

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 28/10/2022 10:23 a.m.