Introduction to mapping and geometric description of geologic structures and analysis of stress and strain in the subsurface.
Two lectures, one lab (three hours); one term
Prerequisite: One of EARTH SC 2E03, 2I03, ENVIR SC 2E03, 2I03, ISCI 2A18. Completion of PHYSICS 1B03 is strongly recommended
Time/Term Offered: Term Two Fall 2012-13
Instructor: John Maclachlan
Room: Mills Map Library
Tel:(905) 525.9149 x21283
Office hours: TBA
Structural geology is the study of architecture of the Earth’s crust and the tectonic
processes that have shaped it. Structures are studied at a variety of scales from
microscopic changes in rock fabrics produced by deformation to large regional-scale
structures such as folds and faults within the crust. The study of rock structures, termed
‘structural analysis’, generally involves three successive steps:
Geometric analysis - analysis of the geometry (shapes, forms, internal fabrics) of rocks,
including primary structures acquired while the rock was being deposited or emplaced
and secondary structures produced by later diagenesis and deformation;
Kinematic analysis - analysis of the displacements and movements that lead to changes
in size and shape of rock bodies that we call deformation or strain;
Dynamic analysis - reconstruction of the configuration of the stress (magnitude,
direction, duration etc.) that produced the deformation within the rock body
The course aims to provide students with the intellectual skills and background required
to understand subsurface processes and to reconstruct geologic and gemorphic
histories from maps and the rock and sediment record. Students will develop skills in
the areas of map and data analysis, problem solving, teamwork, critical reading and
evaluation, inquiry-based learning and report writing. The course introduces students to
research and information retrieval, data analysis and synthesis, field logging and
recording techniques, and field report preparation.
Two one-hour classes per week and one three-hour lab period. Classes will include
lectures and problem solving exercises. Incomplete notes will be posted on Avenue.
The purpose of the weekly lab period is to demonstrate practical methods for
construction and interpretation of geologic maps, problem solving and plotting/analysis
of structural data. Attendance is required for all lab sessions. Lab assignments are
normally completed in one week and handed in during the following week’s lab period
unless otherwise noted. Note that material covered in both lectures and lab periods will
be testable during the midterm and the final exams.
Labs are 2-3 hrs in length and held in BSB 117. You will need the following basic ‘tools
of the trade’ for lab exercises. Be sure to bring these materials to both the labs and
lectures. LABS BEGIN JANUARY 22nd
• ruler (inches and centimeters), pencils, erasers, coloured pencils
• calculator with trig functions
• protractor and compass (to draw circles)
• graph paper and tracing paper
• stereonet (will be provided by instructor)
Required Text Books/Course materials:
Fossen, H. 2010. Structural Geology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.
You will also be directed to locate and read relevant articles in online scholarly journals
Labs (7 @ 7%) 49%
Term Paper (to be assigned the end of January) 10%
Final examination (practical and short answer) 30%
Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by deception
or by other fraudulent means and can result in serious consequences,
e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation
on the transcript (notation reads: “Grade of F assigned for
academic dishonesty”), and/or suspension or expulsion from the
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s
own or for which other credit has been obtained.
Improper collaboration in group work.
Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes
academic dishonesty. For information on the various kinds of academic
dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at http://www.mcmaster.ca/policy/Students-AcademicStudies/AcademicIntegrity.pdf
The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check their McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes.