GEO4850 – Advanced structural geology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course focuses on structural geology of the upper crust. Subjects covered are mainly brittle deformation in formation of tectonic provinces and associated sedimentary basins and related deformation processes and mechanisms.

The following topics will be covered in lectures and lab: (1) An introduction addressing tectonic stresses impacting the lithosphere, as a fundament for deformation mechanisms (mechanics) of the upper crust and formation of various types of sedimentary basins, (2) Analyses of extensional fault systems, covering fault dynamics/growth, fault architecture, and methods for fault-seal assessment, (3) Strike-slip fault systems and their analysis, such as geometry, fault growth and fault architecture, (4) Contractional fault systems and their analysis, covering geometry and dynamics of fold-thrust belts, fold mechanisms, and architecture of reverse faults, (5) Analysis of salt and mud tectonics, for instance geometry of fault systems linked to dynamics of diapers and fold mechanisms, (6) faults and earthquakes, (7) fundamental observations in analysis of outcrop-scale faults, including considerations around importance of lithology, and (8) analogue experiments with design and learning value.

Subjects of lectures will be expanded on with seminars and exercises, covering (a) analyses of crustal-scale and basin seismics, (b) work on maps and cross-sections integrated with remote sensing observations of modern tectonic provinces, (c) analyses of various fault and fracture information in databases, images and stereo-plots, (d) analogue experiments, and (e) microtextural work on thin-sections. (e) There will be 5-7 days of field training.

Learning outcome

After finishing this course, students have gained a fundamental understanding of:

  • Common structures developed during mainly brittle deformation in the upper crust and the geometry/architecture of structures that develops during fracture and fault growth,
  • Analyses of various tectonic provinces (extension, strike-slip, contraction, diapirism) and their sedimentary basins,
  • Deformation mechanisms operating in faults and how they impact fluid flow,
  • Importance of kinematic indicators and fault dynamics,
  • Relationships between faults and earthquakes. 


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Formal prerequisite knowledge

HMS0504 – Field Safety OR MNHMS0015FS – Introduction to Field Safety (discontinued)

Recommended previous knowledge

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with GEO9850 – Advanced Structural Geology

5 credits overlap with G223 Structural geology II


The course is taught intensively over several week-long modules through the semester (block-module teaching). Seminars and exercises of 3 hrs a week will cover the entire semester. The course is summed up by lectures and 5-7 days compulsory field work (excursion) late in the semester. In total 80% of the exercises and the field report must be approved.  

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory. Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Studies administration, email address:

To attend the field trip/excursion it is required that the following course is passed:

You will need to provide documentation that you have passed HMS0504 when you attend the field trip/excursion.

General information about excursions at the Department of geosciences

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or field work, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.


All compulsory activity must be approved in order for the candidate to take the final exam.

Final oral exam that counts 80%, the field report counts 20%.

We reserve the right to change the form of teaching and exams according to the number of students. With many students participating, a 3-hours written exam will replace the oral exam. This will be decided between the teacher and students.

Language of examination

In this course may any written exam questions or assignment questions be available in English only.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


We reserve the right to change the form of teaching and exams according to the number of students. This will be decided between the teacher and students.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2019

Spring 2018

GEO4850 will change semester for teaching in 2019 from spring to autumn.


Autumn 2019

Spring 2018

Teaching language