General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Field Geology
Language English
Module lecturer Wojciech Stawikowski
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position adiunkt
Faculty Faculty of Geographical and Geological Sciences
Semester 2024/2025 (summer)
Duration 45


FIELD TRIP TO THE MOUNTAINS - 4 days in the second half of May or in June 2025 (the detailed term to be agreed with the course participants)

Lectures: between March and May 2025 (7 meetings)

Module aim (aims)

The general aim of course is to practically introduce in an easy and comprehensible way the main methods and goals of modern geological fieldwork. The field activity of a geologist, and more genenerally geoscientist is shown as an example of modern fieldwork in natural sciences. As the course is established on the basic level, it is addressed not only to the students of geology (international and Polish ones), but also to the students of other natural sciences (geography, environmental sciences, biological sciences) as well as other disciplines (archaeology, tourism, etc.). The course presents different scopes of fieldwork from the most important one, which is the basic field documentation of rock expusures and geological mapping through deposit prospecting and exploitation, up to environmental protection and geotourism. These objectives refer to different topographic areas (from the mountainous and highland regions built of lithified crystalline and/or sedimentary rocks to the lowlands covered by young, soft deposits). The biggest stress is laid on rocky, mountainous environments. In a friendly way, the classes combine basic and condensed theoretical knowledge with practical exercises, in-class and, most importantly, open-air ones. Its main part is a field practicum (field trip to the mountains), aimed to give a student the possibility of trying to practice geoscientific fieldwork while visiting an attractive mountainous region in Poland. The additional purpose of the Field Geology course is to develop scientific English vocabulary of the participants, with a special concern to its practical use, trained during the group tasks.
The major component of the course is a 4-day field trip to the Polish mountains (Sudetes), the area with an intruguing geological history and fascinating rocks and minerals. This field trip will be an great opportiunity to visit numerous attractive Polish geological exposures (with practical work there). The students will have a chance to observe the landscape in relation to geology of the area, to visit places connected with mineral and rock resources exploitation, today and in the distant past (even several hundred years ago), to visit the geotouristic attractions (some of the most beautiful geosites in Poland). Generally, the course is an occasion to meet beautiful Polish nature.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Basic knowledge in Earth sciences (at the secondary school level).


7 weeks of classroom meetings (100 minutes each - 15 class hrs) plus 4-day field trip to the mountains (30 hours)
Week 1 Introduction to field geology; objectives of fieldwork in geology and other geosciences, role of fieldwork in modern basic and applied geology, elements of geologist’s field equipment, rules of save and efficient fieldwork.
Week 2 Basics of geological mapping in the field, pt. 1 - modern methods: preparatory materials (aerial and satellite images, topographic maps, archive materials), application of GPS and other airborne techniques in field geology, techniques of mapping in mountainous and lowland areas, vegetation as an indicator in geological fieldwork. Strategies of geological mapping.
Week 3 Basics of geological mapping in the field, pt. 2 – map construction techniques: orientation data in geology (attitude notations and symbols), geological compass. Exercises on presentation of orientation data (numerical notations, graphic presentation of orientations).
Week 4 Geological structures at the maps and in the field: geometrical fundamentals of geological maps and cross-sections (structure contours, intersection line, intersection module). Organization of geological fieldwork documentation. Rules of geological notebook, techniques of outcrop description and rock sampling.Graphical exercises on presentation and interpretation of uniformingly-dipping strata at geological maps (horizontal, inclined and vertical bedding).
Week 5 Igneous rocks in the field: description of igneous rocks (composition, classification, textures); volcanic,  and plutonic rocks and bodies in the field. Types of igneous features. Rules of drawing geological cross-sections.
Week 6 Sedimentary rocks in the field: description of sedimentary rocks (composition, classification, structures, textures); identification and description of mesoscopic features in organogenic, chemical and clastic deposits, loose and lithified sediments. Paleontological record – field observations, sampling strategies, role in stratigraphy. Week 7 Metamorphic rocks in the field: mesoscopic description (composition, classification,textures); deformation structures in metamorphic rocks (foliations, lineations etc.). Tectonic features in the field, identification and measurements of small-scale tectonic structures (folds, faults, joints etc.), interpretation of large, map-scale tectonic structures (folds, faults, shear zones etc.). Summary of the classroom part of the course.
4-day field trip Field exercises: field excursion to the Sudety Mountains (SW Poland) - preferentially to the Karkonosze Mountain Range.
Objectives: visits in the natural outcrops and artifical exposures; routes in the mountains (in the Karkonosze National Park and in the Izera Mountains), field description of rocks (with a special concern to magmatic and metamorphic rocks), observation of landforms shaped by past and current geological processes, recognition and intepretation of basic geologic structures, outcrop profiling, sampling in rock exposures, practical measurements geological structures orientation with a geological compass, synthesizing knowledge acquired by field observations, the use of the topographic maps and GPS data, geotouristic aspects of the visited exposures.

Reading list

Supportive literature (not compulsory, but helpful):
Allaby M. (2008); A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. Oxford University Press
Bennison G. M., Moseley K. A., (1997). An introduction to geological structures and maps. Arnold.
Coe A. /ed./ (2010); Geological Field Techniques. Wiley-Blackwell. Compton R. R. (1985); Geology in the Field; Wiley and Sons.
Foster R. J. (1983); Physical geology. Merrill Publ. Comp.
Jerram D. & Caddick M. (2022);The Field Description of Metamorphic Rocks. Geological Society of London.
Jerram D. & Petford N. (2010); The Field Description of Igneous Rocks. Wiley and Sons.
Lambert D. & the Diagram Group (2007); The Field Guide to Geology. Checkmark Books.
Lisle R. et al. (2011); Basic Geological Mapping. Wiley and Sons.
McClay K. R. (1991); The Mapping of Geological Structures. Geological Society of London.
Tucker M. E. (2010), Sedimentary Rocks in the Field. Wiley and Sons.
In Polish (for Polish participants): Czubla, Mizerski, Świerczewska-Gładysz, (2017). Przewodnik do ćwiczeń z geologii. (Practical guide to geology). PWN.
Mizerski W. (2018) Geologia dynamiczna (Dynamic Geology). PWN.