IB Geological Sciences A

The Geological Sciences A course concentrates on the surface environments of the Earth - the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere - together with their geological products. It encompasses the fields of sedimentology, palaeontology and oceanography. This course also covers tectonics on scales from lithospheric plates down to hand specimens, emphasizing the processes that form and deform sedimentary basins.


  Sea ice ©Nancy Weiner, INSTAAREvolution of the Hydrosphere

Discover how the linked circulation of the oceans and atmosphere influences global climate, compare icehouse and greenhouse worlds, and the distribution of deep sea sediments. Find out about the geochemical cycles of key elements and discover why the sea is salty.



Chevron folds at MillookMaps and Structures

This part of the course first develops your map interpretation skills. Then it covers geometrical description and mechanical interpretation of deformation structures - folds, faults and fractures - on scales from microscope slide specimens to mountain ranges.

Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea ©NASA#STS040-078-088Tectonics and Seismology

Investigate global tectonics and the mechanisms driving crustal deformation, find out how plate tectonics works on a sphere and learn how to diagnose earthquakes at plate boundaries. An explanation of seismic reflection profiling allows a look at deep crustal structure, particularly of continental rifts and margins.



Bora Bora atoll ©NASA#STS068-258-042Biogenic and Chemical Sediments

Sediments formed by organic influences or chemical precipitation obey different rules to clastic sediments. Explore these changing controls over geological time by looking at the main types of non-clastic sediment: limestones and dolomites, siliceous sediments, ironstones and evaporites.

Dunes in the Namib DesertClastic Sediments

Wind and ice, rivers and waves, tides and deep water landslides move sediment grains around and produce characteristic rock-types and structures. Recognising these formations and their depositional environments is an essential tool for interpreting outcrops and drill cores. The large scale architecture of these depositional settings is also explored.



Allosaur skullEvolutionary Palaeobiology, Micropalaeontology & Vertebrate Palaeontology

Find out how marine fossils can be used to understand geological time, palaeoenvironment, palaeoecology and evolution, and how biogeochemical cycles and global change is influenced by an evolving biosphere. Learn about the history and evolution of the vertebrates, in particular the synapsids (including mammals) and diapsids (including dinosaurs and birds).

Oil fire residues over Kuwait ©NASA#STS044-075-027Sedimentary Basins

Learn about the range of mechanisms by which sedimentary basins form, fill and die, and find out about the role of basin modelling in finding oil and gas, still the most commercially productive of the many applications of our geological expertise.





Taythes Gill, CumbriaFieldwork

If you intend to do third year Geological Sciences you will already have done the Cumbria Mapping Course before the start of your second year. Then, at Easter in Year 2, you go on the Southwest England Field Course. Most second year students attend the whole course. If you are not doing Geological Sciences B, you have the option of going on the Dorset abd Bude parts of this trip only.





Knowledge of Part IA Earth Sciences is assumed. In exceptional cases it may be possible to read Part IB Geological Sciences without having read Earth Sciences at Part IA. This needs carful discussion with the course coordinator and your college Director of Studies.


Last updated on 07-Oct-10 12:25