Courses & Units

Earth's Surface KEA208

Compulsory 5 day excursion in the week before the start of semester.


Have you ever wondered about the tale that can be told by a grain of sand? Or why some volcanoes erupt violently and others effusively? Learn how to unlock the secrets held in minerals and rocks in KEA208. After an introduction to Earth Sciences in KEA101 and KEA102, this unit offers you the opportunity to delve further into geological processes that occur at and near the Earth’s surface. There is a particular emphasis on the minerals and processes that form sedimentary and volcanic rocks. You will also be introduced to the petrographic microscope as a means of identifying and studying Earth materials at the microscale and to remote sensing as a means of mapping and interpreting the geology and geological history of the Earth's surface. This 12.5% unit also includes a five-day pre-semester trip on the scenic east coast of Tasmania, which provides an opportunity to hone your geological field skills.


Unit name Earth's Surface
Unit code KEA208
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Earth Sciences
Coordinator Professor Sebastien Meffre
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Intermediate


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 1 On-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 1 26/2/2024 22/3/2024 15/4/2024 2/6/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify minerals, mineral groups and textures in rocks formed at and near the Earth’s surface from their optical and physical properties in order to classify and differentiate rock types
  • Deduce the formation processes and settings for a range of sedimentary and volcanic rocks based on their mineralogy and texture
  • Appraise geoscientific information and surface/near-surface geological processes at a range of scales

Fee Information

The 2024 Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) rates are still being finalised by the Government and we will update the domestic fee information as soon as we have more details.





Teaching Pattern

Online pre-recorded lectures (2hrs per week), 12 x 3-hr lab work weekly throughout semester 1, 5 days of field work before semester 1

AssessmentExcursion Report (10%)|Field Trip (15%)|Quizzes (15%)|Final exam (30%)|Practicals (30%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.


Recommended text for excursion: 
Corbett, K.D., Quilty, P.G., and Calver, C.R., 2014, Geological Evolution of Tasmania: Geological Society of Australia (Tasmania Division), Geological Society of Australia Special Publication v 24,639 p.   
Purchase from (not available on-line) (Note that there is a student deal with GSA the publisher for this book) 
Lisle, R, J., Brabham, P., and Barnes J., 2011, Basic Geological Mapping (5th ed): 
John Wiley & Sons, 217 p 
Jerram, D., and Petford, N., 2011 The field description of Igneous Rocks (2nd ed) Wiley-Blackwell,238 p 
Recommended text for sedimentology & stratigraphy 
Nichols, G., 2009, Sedimentology & Stratigraphy (2nd ed):Wiley and Blackwell, 419 p. 
Collinson, J., Mountney N. and Thompson, 2006, Sedimentary Structures (3rd ed) Sedimentary Structures, Terra, 292 p. 
D. Copeland, P., 2012 Communicating rocks, Pearson Education Inc. 148 p.
Stow, D.V., 2005, Sedimentary rocks in the field: A colour guide. Manson Publishing 320p 
Tucker, M.E., 2011 Sedimentary rocks in the field: A practical guide.(4th ed) Wiley-Blackwell 275p.  

LinksBooktopia textbook finder

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