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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.

Summary 2021

Unit name Earth's Surface
Unit code KEA208
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Earth Sciences

Sebastien Meffre

Teaching staff

Dr Sasha Stepanov, Dr Martin Jutzeler

Level Intermediate
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No



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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





Teaching Pattern

3 x 1-hr lectures and 1 x 3-hr lab work weekly throughout semester 1, plus 5 days of field work before semester 1


ATT1 - 2-hr theory exam (30%)

ATT2 - Practicals (30%)

ATT3 - 10 quizzes  (15%)

ATT4 - Excursion Report (10%)

ATT5 - Compulsory excursion held in the week before start of semester, by field tests and report (15%)

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