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GEOL252 Field Studies and New Zealand Geology

Practical work in field observation, geological field mapping, field interpretation; basic geometry of structures; principles of lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy; New Zealand geology and geological map interpretation.

In "Field Studies and New Zealand Geology", students learn the basics of doing field geology. This includes:

  • How to plan and carry out fieldwork in a safe, environmentally friendly and efficient manner
  • How to make observations at rock outcrops and how to record those observations - most particularly, how to keep a good field notebook. This is the main focus of the Maerewhenua field school
  • How to make reasonable interpretations of geological observations and how to test these (hypothesis testing). This will start on the Maerewhenua field school and will be a major part of the Borland field school
  • How to relate the geology on the ground to a geological map. This starts in Maerewhenua and is taken further through laboratory classes and Borland. (You will learn how to make geological maps in the third year in GEOL 344.)
  • Learning the fundamentals of using geological maps to understand geometry and stratigraphy. This is the primary focus of the laboratory classes and will be put into practice on the Borland field school
  • Learning how to write up geological field observations in the form of a report. Initial training will follow the Maerewhenua field school so that you can write a complete report following the Borland field school
  • Using field examples to improve your knowledge and understanding of the basics of geology as taught in GEOL112
  • Learning something of the geology of the South Island, including the stratigraphy and the geometry (structure) of the Maerewhenua and Borland areas

Paper title Field Studies and New Zealand Geology
Paper code GEOL252
Subject Geology
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) First Semester (19 February 2018 - 20 June 2018), Summer School
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,038.45
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,492.80

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GEOL 112 or GEOX 112
Pre or Corequisite
EAOS 111 or EAOX 111
Schedule C
Paper Structure
Two 6-day field schools (Maerewhenua and Borland) and 6 laboratory sessions in Dunedin.

Assessment is 100% internal, made up of field school maps/reports and lab exercises/tests. There is no final external exam.
Domestic students intending to take GEOL 252 in 2018 (Summer School or first semester) must fill out: GEOL252-Field-orientation-and-safety-2018.docx by the end of November 2017. International students should fill out this form as soon as possible (but are not required to make this deadline).

Background requirements:
For students from overseas (study abroad or exchange) or transferring: you must have passed approved classes/courses that cover appropriate introductory geology (see the GEOL 112 page for example), and we must be able to check the details of those courses from your official transcript. Normally we also check your class/course content from the relevant university or college website. If web details are not available, you may need to provide details in hard copy.

Enrolments for this paper are limited, and it requires departmental permission. View more information about limitations of enrolment.
Teaching staff
Summer School: Dr Mike Palin and Ray Marx

First semester: Dr Chris Moy, Dr James Scott, Dr Steve Smith, Prof James White, and Ray Marx
Strongly recommended:
  • Edbrooke, S.W.; Heron, D.W.; Forsyth, P.J.; Jongens, R. (compilers) 2015 Geological map of New Zealand 1:1 000 000. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science geological map 2 2 maps (also available as a free web map service at
  • Coe, A. (ed.); 2010. Geological Field Techniques. Wiley-Blackwell
  • Fry, N. The Field Description of Metamorphic Rocks. Wiley
  • Jerram, D. & Petford, N. The Field Description of Igneous Rocks. Wiley
  • Lisle, R., Brabham, P & Barnes, J. Basic Geological Mapping. Wiley
  • McClay, K. Mapping of Geological Structures, Wiley
  • Tucker, M.E. Sedimentary Rocks in the Field: A Practical Guide. Wiley
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to:
  • Plan and carry out fieldwork in a safe, environmentally friendly and efficient manner
  • Describe outcrops, contact relationships, structures and lithologies in the field
  • Produce a clear and well-organised field notebook that contains accurate field observations, measurements and preliminary interpretations
  • Trace lithologic contacts, faults and other features and place these on topographic base maps and imagery
  • Construct basic - but accurate - geologic maps, cross sections and stratigraphic columns informed from field mapping and outcrop observations
  • Write clear and succinct geologic reports that accurately convey relevant field observations and basic interpretations
Teaching Arrangements
There are two 6-day field schools for this paper: Maerewhenua field school and Borland field school

Summer School:
Both field schools run in the Summer School teaching period.

First semester:
Maerewhenua runs in February before the semester starts. Borland runs the week before mid-semester break.

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First Semester (19 February 2018 - 20 June 2018)

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
P1 Thursday 14:00-16:50 9-12, 15-18

Other Teaching

Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 08:00-21:50 8
Wednesday 08:00-21:50 8
Thursday 08:00-21:50 8
Friday 08:00-21:50 8
Saturday 08:00-21:50 8
Sunday 08:00-21:50 8

Summer School

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 09:00-11:50 6
Tuesday 09:00-11:50 6
Wednesday 09:00-11:50 5-6
Thursday 09:00-11:50 5-6
Friday 09:00-11:50 5

Other Teaching

Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 08:00-21:50 5
Wednesday 08:00-21:50 4
Thursday 08:00-21:50 4
Friday 08:00-21:50 4
Saturday 08:00-21:50 4
Sunday 08:00-21:50 4
B1 Monday 08:00-21:50 7
Tuesday 08:00-21:50 7
Wednesday 08:00-21:50 7
Thursday 08:00-21:50 7
Saturday 08:00-21:50 6
Sunday 08:00-21:50 6