EARTHSCI 764 : Marine Geosciences


2021 Semester One (1213) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The multidisciplinary field of Marine Geosciences, including an overview on acoustic surveying of seafloor and water column, and field acquisition of echosounder data. Further topics include analysis of sediment cores, seafloor sedimentology, marine geochemistry, marine hydrocarbon exploration, and seafloor stability.

Course Overview

The course provides an overview of advanced geological, physical, and chemical methods to study the seafloor. Earthsci 764 is an elective for BSc (hons) and MSc in Earth Sciences as well as the Master of Engineering Geology.  We encourage students from neighbouring fields, such as Physics, Environmental Sciences, or Geography, to contact the course coordinator if they are interested in the course.  
In the first half of the semester, the course consists of a two-hour lecture lectures a week followed by a two-hour lab.  A virtual field trip demonstrating geophysical data acquisition on one of the University of Auckland’s research vessels is planned around the middle of the semester, followed by data analysis in the laboratory.  A voluntary field trip on the R/V Hawere may be offered to interested students depending on logistics.  Students will select a self-taught individual project for the second part of the semester for which they will conduct a research study, including literature research, data analysis, interpretation, presentation of results in a seminar, and compilation in a research report. 
This course will provide a foundation for careers in a wide variety of marine fields, such as acoustic surveying, resource prospecting, and offshore engineering geology. 

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. Design conceptually data acquisition for studying the seafloor, including recognition of uncertainties and limitations as well as potential environmental and social constraints. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
  2. Explain advanced concepts in the Marine Geosciences (Capability 1)
  3. Evaluate quantitatively selected marine geoscientific data, including recognition and discussion of ambiguities, uncertainties, and other limitations (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Conduct self-directed study and apply knowledge to solve specific topic in independent project (Capability 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6)
  5. Present results of laboratories, field trip in the form of laboratory reports. (Capability 1, 4 and 5)
  6. Present results of independent project in the form of a scientific report and presentation to peer. (Capability 1, 4 and 5)
  7. Analyse field trip data in collaboration with peer. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Reports 90% Individual Coursework
Presentation 10% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Key Topics

The course will focus on the following topics:  
• Seabed and water column surveying 
• Seafloor sedimentology 
• Marine geochemistry 
• Seafloor stability and offshore geologic engineering 
• Petroleum systems and basin analysis 

Special Requirements

No mandatory activities outside of standard hours or off campus.  In 2021, a virtual field trip is planned due to logistical uncertainties.  Voluntary field trip may be offered on R/V Hawere.

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 12 hours of lectures, 10 hours of laboratories with 8 hours of report compilation, 8 hours of attending virtual field trip and evaluating field trip data, 48 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 48 hours of work on and individual research-style project.

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. 

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

Learning Resources

Recommendations for reading provided during the course.

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.  The following activities will also have an on campus / in person option: Lectures, labs.  
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 04/03/2021 12:22 p.m.