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Unit outline_

GEOS1003: Introduction to Geology

Intensive February, 2021 [Block mode] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The aim of this unit of study is to examine the chemical and physical processes involved in mineral formation, the interior of the Earth, surface features, sedimentary environments, volcanoes, and metamorphism. Lectures and laboratory sessions on mountain building processes and the formation of mineral deposits will lead to an understanding of the forces controlling the geology of our planet. Processes such as weathering, erosion and nature of sedimentary environments are related to the origin of the Australian landscape. In addition to laboratory classes there is a one-day excursion to the western Blue Mountains and Lithgow to examine geological objects in their setting.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Prerequisites
? 
None
Corequisites
? 
None
Prohibitions
? 
GEOS1903 or GEOL1002 or GEOL1902 or GEOL1501
Assumed knowledge
? 

None

Available to study abroad and exchange students

No

Teaching staff

Coordinator Thomas Hubble, tom.hubble@sydney.edu.au
Demonstrator(s) Tiago Passos, tiago.passos@sydney.edu.au
Lecturer(s) Thomas Hubble, tom.hubble@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Trial exams
For feedback on performance
0% - Variable
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Online task Online self-test quizzes
Assist students to understand the unit content.
0% Ongoing See Canvas.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO11 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO2
Online task Pre-practical class online quizzes
A short multiple-choice quiz
0% Ongoing See Canvas.
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO11 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO4 LO2
Tutorial quiz On-class Quiz 1
Week One Lecture and Practical Material
5% Week 02
Due date: 29 Jan 2021 at 18:00

Closing date: 29 Jan 2021
Thirty Minutes - 10 MCQ's
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Tutorial quiz On-Line Quiz 2
Week Two Lecture and Practical Material
5% Week 03
Due date: 05 Feb 2021 at 18:00

Closing date: 05 Feb 2021
Thirty Minutes - 10 MCQs
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Tutorial quiz On-Line Quiz 3
Week Three Lecture and Practical Material
5% Week 04
Due date: 12 Feb 2021 at 18:00

Closing date: 12 Feb 2021
Thirty Minutes - 10 MCQs
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Online task On-class Quiz 4
Week Four Lecture and Practical Material
5% Week 05
Due date: 19 Feb 2021 at 18:00

Closing date: 19 Feb 2021
Thirty Minutes - 10 MCQs
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Tutorial quiz hurdle task Rock identification quiz
Identification and description of a set of unknown geological samples
20% Week 06
Due date: 26 Feb 2021 at 15:30
1 & 1/2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Final exam (Take-home extended release) Type E final exam Final exam
Short Essays - Complete Five of Eight Questions Two Compulsory Map Problems
60% Week 07
Due date: 05 Mar 2021 at 14:00
48 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Participation Lecture and practical attendance
Attendance at class will be monitored.
0% Weekly 2 hours - Twice Weekly
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO11 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Small continuous assessment Practical exercises
Active intellectual participation.
0% Weekly 3 hours - Twice Weekly
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO11 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO4 LO2
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
Type E final exam = Type E final exam ?

Assessment summary

Assessment in this unit will be both formative and summative. ‘Formative assessment’ provides benchmarks for and feedback on performance. ‘Summative assessment’ comprises marks for performance in assignments, quizzes and examinations, which will count towards a final mark for the unit of study.

  • Lecture attendance: It is expected that you attend lectures and practical classes weekly. Attendance at class will be monitored.
  • Practical exercises: Active intellectual participation is expected during the practical classes, which run for each week of the semester. See Canvas for more details on what is expected of you.
  • Trial exams: These exams will not count towards your final mark but will to assist students in passing the course. It is in your interest to do well in this task.
  • On-line self-test quizzes​: Completion of these quizzes, which will be available on Canvas, will not count towards your final mark. They are provided to assist students to understand the unit content. It is in your interest to attempt this task to provide you with feedback on your progress in understanding the practical and lecture material.
  • On-Line Quizzes 1, 2, 3, 4​ (20% – 5% each): These quizzes will be based on material presented in the preceding lecture sessions and practical exercises and may include rock identification.
  • Online pre-practical quizzes: A short multiple-choice quiz will be completed at online before each practical class based on the practical manual readings. These quizzes must be completed the by 23:59 the day before each practical class. A random selection of between three and five worksheets submissions will be rigorously marked and used to calculate the grade for this component.
  • Rock identification quiz (20%): This test will focus on the identification and description of a set of unknown geological samples (rocks and minerals).
  • Final Examination (60%): The final examination will cover the work you did in lectures and practical class. All material presented in lectures is potentially subject to examination questions. The practical component of the final exam will focus on the interpretation of geological maps.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range

Description

High distinction

85 - 100

Work awarded a distinction grade will usually achieve the following minimum standards or present the described characteristics

  • Accurately answers the question in an impressive, compelling, or highly persuasive manner
  • Presents relevant material accurately in a thoroughly convincing or forceful manner or with the facts well‐integrated into an extended and comprehensive explanation or argument
  • Accurate quotation and/or source identification when appropriate.
  • Evidence of exhaustive independent research
  • Evidence of extensive critical analysis of concept, and/or innovative perspective on the topic, and/or deep understanding of problem
  • Answers demonstrate striking originality, an innovative approach, or impressive analytical skill
  • Answers are exceptionally well written, with excellent structure expression
  • Is otherwise exceptional in some way

Distinction

75 - 84

Work awarded a distinction grade will usually achieve the following minimum standards or present the described characteristics

  • Accurately answers the question in a convincing, confident manner
  • Presents relevant material accurately in a concise manner or with the facts well‐integrated into a comprehensive explanation or argument
  • Accurate quotation and/or source identification when appropriate.
  • Evidence of extensive independent research
  • Evidence of extensive critical analysis of concept, and/or innovative perspective on the topic, and/or deep understanding of problem
  • Answers are well written, with clear structure and cogent expression

Credit

65 - 74

Work awarded a credit grade will usually achieve the following minimum standards or present the described characteristics

  • An appropriate, accurate and reasonable detailed answer or response is provided
  • Appropriate key point or points (facts) and/or concepts clearly presented without significant errors or misconceptions
  • Presents relevant material concisely with facts clearly integrated into the explanation
  • Accurate quotation and/or source identification when appropriate.
  • Evidence of some independent research or critical analysis of concept or problem
  • Answers are easily understood with both clear expression and structure if appropriate

Pass

50 - 64

Work awarded a passing grade will usually achieve the following minimum standards or present the described characteristics

  • An appropriate but superficial answer or response is provided
  • Presents relevant material in a superficial manner or in a simplistic descriptive style
  • Correctly identifies key point or points (facts) but does not develop an appropriate explanation or argument if this is required
  • Contains some minor errors or presents minor inaccuracies and misconceptions
  • Little or no evidence of in‐depth analysis or deep understanding of the concept
  • Answers can be understood but may be poorly worded or somewhat flawed due to poor grammar, expression or structure

Fail

0 - 49

Work may fail for any or all of the following criteria

  • No answer or response is provided
  • Does not address or otherwise answer the question
  • Contains numerous minor errors or presents a significant misconception
  • Presents irrelevant material
  • No evidence of research or analysis
  • Presents a significantly inaccurate or flawed argument
  • The answer is incomprehensible or difficult to understand due to significant problems with grammar, expression or structure

.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Where did Earth come from? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO9
Introduction to minerals (Ex 1) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO8
Plate tectonics - The mobilist Earth (History) Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8
Igneous rock textures (Ex 2) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO8
Week 02 Igneous processes Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5 LO8
Naming and classifying igneous rocks (Ex 3) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO7 LO8
Making sedimentary rocks Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7
Sedimentary rocks 1 (Ex 11) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8
Week 03 Sedimentary Processes and Environments Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7
Sedimentary rocks 2 (Ex 12) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO7 LO8
The geological map Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO7 LO10
Geological maps I (introduction) (Ex 9) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO10
Week 04 Life through the ages Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO6 LO9
Geological age from fossils (Ex 7 & 8) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO10 LO11
Metamorphic processes Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7
Metamorphic reactions in muddy rocks (Ex 5) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO11
Week 05 Geological histories and past environments Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO10
Naming metamorphic rocks (Ex 6) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7 LO8 LO11
Geological structures Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO10
Geological maps 2 (Ex 10) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO10 LO11
Week 06 Plate tectonics and natural hazards Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5 LO7
Geological maps 3 (Ex 13) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO10 LO11
Revision and Exam Preparation Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11
Practical Class Quiz Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO8 LO9 LO11

Attendance and class requirements

Lectures

It is expected that students attend lectures.  Core material in each lecture will be recorded and made available through eLearning. However, a portion of each lecture will involve interactions and/or group work, which may not ‘translate’ that well into the recorded state. 

Practical Classes

Practical classes complement the lectures, and are compulsory. During most weeks of the semester there is a weekly, two-hour practical class. If you cannot attend a class for any reason you should contact your tutor/demonstrator and, if appropriate, submit a Special Consideration form available from the Student Centre. 

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available on Canvas.

  • Recommended text: Christiansen, E. H., & Hamblin, W. K. (2015). Dynamic earth: An introduction to physical geology. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  • Recommended text: Marshak, S., & Prothero, D. R. (2008). Earth: portrait of a planet. WW Norton.
  • Reading Materials on the unit of study’s Canvas Site 

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the concepts and language of geology and the Earth sciences
  • LO2. identify and name common rocks and minerals
  • LO3. understand the processes that have formed the whole Earth, its rocks, its minerals and modify the Earth’s physical features over time
  • LO4. interpret geological maps, geological cross-sections and geological age data in the context of establishing a geological history for a particular region of the Earth’s crust
  • LO5. understand the relationship between plate tectonic processes and the occurrence of natural Earth hazards such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunami
  • LO6. appreciate the significance of fossils and the longevity of the geologic record of biotic activity on the Earth
  • LO7. gain the capacity to find and analyse information
  • LO8. demonstrate your skills in written, oral and interpersonal communication
  • LO9. understand the application of the scientific method to problem solving and evidence based decision making
  • LO10. gain basic skills in computing, numeracy and data handling
  • LO11. have a sense of responsibility for independent learning that will guide your ongoing professional development and practice.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

In response to student requests we intend to provide additional worked example answers as well as videocasts of lecture content. We have added additional practical sessions so that practical classes run on Fridays as well as Thursdays. This will ‘open-up’ the availability of the class to students and reduce class sizes. Unfortunately circumstances arising from the COVID-19 situation will reduce direct person-to-person questioning and explanation in practical classes. But, we hope that smaller classes will increase the amount of time the practical-class teaching staff can spend answering particular questions, demonstrating of rock-identification techniques or going through map-problem solutions. In-semester quizzes will be on-line this year due to the Covid-19 situation.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances 
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory 
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories 
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door 
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory 

As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service: unihealth.usyd.edu.au/

Disclaimer

The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.