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GEOL344 Advanced Field Studies

Field mapping and documentation of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks; structural mapping and stereographic projection; geological methods used in industry. Includes 3 weeks of field classes in February.

This paper provides training and practical expertise in geological field mapping and advanced field techniques. The objective is to give students the planning and logistical skills, practical field skills and confidence to conduct independent geological fieldwork. The experience translates naturally to those carrying out independent field projects as part of GEOL 302 and to field work associated with work in industry, government institutions, research organisations and for higher degrees

Paper title Advanced Field Studies
Paper code GEOL344
Subject Geology
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester (5 February 2018 - 20 June 2018)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,038.45
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,492.80

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GEOL 251 and GEOL 252
Schedule C
Paper Structure
The paper has three field trips that occur in February before the first semester starts:
  • The Pounawea fieldclass focuses on field methods in structural geology and sedimentology. Students learn how to record, measure and interpret a variety of geological structures and how to use stereographic projection techniques to aid structural description, quantification and interpretation. Small-scale data are compiled to understand larger-scale geometry and to develop reasonable kinematic models. Sedimentological data are collected using graphic logging techniques with a focus on developing reasonable process and environmental interpretations and upscaling these within the geometrical framework from the structural analyses to constrain sedimentary basin stratigraphy, palaeogeography and environmental change. The class is assessed on the fieldclass.
  • The Hakataramea fieldclass provides a thorough training in geological mapping. Students learn how to design a mapping programme and how to conduct geological reconnaissance in addition to the very specific skills associated with location and marking information on a map. There is considerable emphasis on observing and recording all the constraints from geomorphology and exposed superficial and basement geology to best describe the subsurface geology. Cross sections and generalised vertical stratigraphy (GVS) are constructed in the field to generate 3D geometrical and stratigraphic models of the area. After the fieldwork lab classes are used to show students how to turn their field maps into a production-quality final map.
  • The Benmore Dam vein and fault exercise comprises a 1-day field trip to Benmore Dam (visited during and as part of the Hakataramea fieldclass), plus laboratory classes. This exercise extends field mapping skills to applications in the mineral exploration industry. The field day is followed up by laboratory exercises during lab periods that use the data collected in the field. Structural data collected at Benmore Dam by a variety of sampling and mapping techniques (including the use of drill-hole data in the lab) are investigated in three-dimensions. Training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allows students to incorporate this approach into their work. Students prepare a report for assessment.
Assesment is 100% internal based on three field trips and subsequent work.

Note: To pass GEOL 344 you must pass all three components:1) Pounawea, 2) Hakataramea and 3) the Benmore Dam exercise. Failing any one component will mean failing the paper as a whole.
Teaching Arrangements
Fieldwork: Three field schools/trips occur in February before the first semester:
  • Pounawea ~4 days: 5-8 February 2018 (Note: Waitangi Day is in the middle of this trip)
  • Hakataramea ~9 days, including one day at Benmore Dam: 14-22 February 2018
Lab classes in Core Logging, GIS and vector graphics run for the first few weeks of the semester.
Domestic students intending to take GEOL 344 in 2018 must fill out: GEOL 344-Field-orientation-and-safety-2018.docx by the end of November 2017.
International students should fill out this form as soon as possible.

Background requirements: For students from overseas (study-abroad, or exchange) or transferring: you must have passed approved classes/courses that cover appropriate second year geology field mapping (see GEOL 252 page for example), and we must be able to check details of those courses from your official transcript. Normally we also check your class/course content from the relevant university or college web page. If web details are not available, you may need to provide details in hard copy.
Teaching staff
Co-ordinator: Dr Doug MacKenzie
Dr Christian Ohneiser
Dr Marco Brenna
Mr Luke Easterbrook
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
Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Practical field geology training
  • Three-dimensional thinking and drafting skills
  • Teamwork
  • Ability to synthesise observations to critically assess models
  • Fundamental experience in interpretation of observations and inference of processes responsible

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First Semester (5 February 2018 - 20 June 2018)

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Friday 09:00-10:50 9-12

Other Teaching

Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 08:00-21:50 6-8
Tuesday 08:00-21:50 6-8
Wednesday 08:00-21:50 6-8
Thursday 08:00-21:50 6-8
Friday 08:00-21:50 6-8
Saturday 08:00-21:50 6-7
Sunday 08:00-21:50 6-7