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GEOL421 Sedimentary and Basin Studies

Advanced studies in sedimentology, stratigraphy and basin analysis at a variety of length and time scales.

This course deals with the interpretation of past climate, environmental, and oceanographic change from marine and lacustrine sedimentary records and explores the nature of stratigraphic successions within a range of sedimentary basins and the controls on sedimentation and sedimentary basin development.Course content is centered on discussing current, relevant, and key topics in Quaternary climate, oceanographic, and environmental change that are derived from marine and terrestrial sedimentary records. Equal emphasis is placed on providing an overview of the common techniques and proxies used to reconstruct Quaternary climatic and oceanographic change. We will also discuss geologic records used to interpret past sea level rise and introduce sequence stratigraphy.

The purpose of this class is to

  1. discuss a variety of current, relevant, and key topics on Cenozoic climate and environmental change derived from sedimentary records, and
  2. provide an overview of the common techniques used to reconstruct Quaternary climates, and
  3. discuss techniques for environmental geochemical analysis.

Paper title Sedimentary and Basin Studies
Paper code GEOL421
Subject Geology
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Full Year
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,282.09
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,357.07

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Not all 400-level GEOL papers will be available in any one year. Decisions will be based on enrolment numbers and will be discussed with students at the start of the academic year.
Students should have a background in sedimentology obtained from introductory geology and sedimentology/stratigraphy undergraduate classes.
Paper Structure
  • First semester: content focuses on Quaternary climate and environmental change.
  • Second semester: content focuses on techniques for environmental geochemical analysis.
30% Research Project (due at the end of the first semester)
60% Final Exam in the second semester
10% Class Participation
The final exam will be comprehensive and be given during the exam period in October/November.
Teaching staff
Dr Chris Moy
Dr Christina Riesselman
Dr Candace Martin
Professor Gary Wilson
Recommended reading:
Paleoclimates: understanding climate change past and present. Thomas Cronin, 2010, Columbia University Press.

The sedimentary record of sea-level change. Angela Coe, 2003, Cambridge University Press.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Students will gain understanding of the common techniques and proxies used to reconstruct Quaternary climate and oceanographic change
  • Students will develop skills to interpret environmental/climate/oceanographic change from marine sediment records and gain understanding in the basis behind physical and chemical proxies
  • Students will learn methods for determining controls on sedimentary basin development from geophysical modelling to sequence stratigraphic analysis

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
M1 Wednesday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41