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 2022/2023 (summer)
Duration 45


Module aim (aims)

The aim of course is to introduce in an easy and comprehensible way the methods and goals of modern geological fieldwork. The field activity of a geologist/Earth scientist is shown as an example of modern fieldwork in natural siceinces.  The course presents different scopes of fieldwork from the most important one, which is the basic geological mapping through deposit prospecting to environmental protection and geotourism. This objective refers to different topographic areas (from mountainous and highland regions built of lithified crystalline and/or sedimentary rocks to lowlands covered by young, soft deposits). In a friendly way, the course combines basic theoretical knowledge with practical exercises, both laboratory and open-air ones. Its main part is a field practicum (field trip), aimed to give a student the possibility of trying to practice geological fieldwork. 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) and other disciplines (e. g. archaeology, tourism). The additional purpose of 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 important component of the course is a 4-day field trip to the Polish mountains (Sudetes). This field trip makes the possibility to visit numerous geological exposures (with practical work there), 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 distantpast, to visit the geotouristic attractions (some of the most beautiful geosites in Poland).

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 (15 hrs) plus 4-day field trip (30 hours)
Week 1 Introduction to field geology; objectives of fieldwork in geology, 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, part 1 - modern methods: preparatory materials (aerial and satellite images, topographic maps, archive materials), application of GIS and airborne techniques in field geology, techniques of mapping in mountainous and Quaternary cover areas, vegetation as an indicator in geological fieldwork. Strategies of geological mapping.
Week 3 Basics of geological mapping in the field, part 2 – map construction techniques: orientation data in geology (orientation notations and symbols), geological compass. Exercises on presentation of orientation data (recalculation of 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, structures, textures); volcanic, pyroclastic and plutonic rocks and bodies in the field. Types of igneous features. Laboratory (1 h): Drawing of geological cross-section.
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, structures, 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 (labs): field excursion to the Sudety Mountains (SW Poland) - preferentailly to the Karkonosze Range.
Objectives: visits in the natural outcrops and artifical exposures; routes in the Karkonose National Park and in the Izera Mountains, field description of rocks (with special concern to magmatic and metamorphic rocks), recognition and intepretation of geologic structures, outcrop profiling, sampling in the rock exposures, practical measurements of orientation of geological structures with geological compass, synthesizing knowledge from field observations, use of the topographic maps and GPS data, geotouristic aspects of visited exposures.

Reading list

Supportive literature (not comulsory, 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.
Fry N. (1991); The Field Description of Metamorphic Rocks. Geological Society of London.
Jerram D. & Petford N. (2010); The Field Description of Igneous Rocks. Wiley and Sons.
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.
The Field Guide to Geology (2007). David Lambert and The Diagram Group.
In Polish: Czubla, Mizerski, Świerczewska-Gładysz, (2017). Przewodnik do ćwiczeń z geologii. (Practical guide to geology). PWN.
Mizerski W. (2018) Geologia dynamiczna (Dynamic Geology). PWN.