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GEOL112 Dynamic Earth: A New Zealand Perspective

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Discover Earth's past, explore its present, and help shape the future; learn about dynamic processes that shape our planet. Field trips around local Zealandia - Earth's youngest, most active continent.

This paper explores the dynamic processes that shape planet Earth. A broad overview of plate tectonics, Earth structure and natural hazards is followed by lectures on Earth materials, resources and the geological history of Zealandia. Throughout the paper, emphasis is placed on examples from New Zealand. Complementary lab sessions allow students to develop a range of essential practical skills. Fieldtrips are used to explore local geology and reinforce concepts from lectures and labs. This paper complements EAOS 111 and is essential for entry into Geology 200-level core courses.

Paper title Dynamic Earth: A New Zealand Perspective
Paper code GEOL112
Subject Geology
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Schedule C
Teaching staff

Co-ordinator: Dr Mike Palin
Teaching Fellow: Dr Sophie Briggs
Various academic staff from the Department of Geology

Paper Structure

The paper consists of lectures, laboratories and fieldtrips. Lectures cover four key themes:

  • Geological relationships
  • Earth materials and rock types
  • Earth resources and hazards
  • Earth history and geology of Zealandia

Laboratories focus on the development of essential practical skills in Geology.

Assessment is approximately an even split between internal (ongoing during the semester) and external (final exam).

Teaching Arrangements

Four 1-hour lectures and one 3-hour laboratory per week.
Fieldwork: Three weekend day trips to Sandymount, the Dunedin Volcano and Brighton/Fairfield. One additional field trip in lab time to visit local landslides.



  • Physical Geology First University of Saskatchewan Edition (v1, January 2019).
  • A Continent on the Move: New Zealand Geoscience into the 21st Century. Graham, Ian (Chief Editor) 2008. Geological Society of New Zealand and GNS Science, Wellington. 388Earth.
Course outline

GEOL 112 syllabus (previous syllabus indicative of content next time the paper is taught)

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of GEOL 112 students will:

  • Understand and apply fundamental geological principles to a range of problems
  • Understand the impact of the geosciences in a global and societal context
  • Have developed knowledge of a diversity of subjects that form core topics in the geosciences
  • Have developed knowledge of the geological and tectonic history of Zealandia
  • Be able to analyse and creatively integrate diverse geological datasets
  • Be able to identify and classify basic geological materials, including rocks, minerals, fossils, structures and landforms
  • Be able to interpret and create topographic and geological maps at a proficient level
  • Have an understanding of the principles of geological fieldwork and how fieldwork is carried out in a safe and socially acceptable manner

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Tuesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Thursday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 14:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41
A2 Tuesday 14:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41
A3 Wednesday 14:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41
A4 Thursday 14:00-16:50 28-34, 36-41