Structural Geology Lab Syllabus
2017 - GEOL 3310
Thursday 2:30-4:30, DSC 280
Instructor: Harmon D. Maher Jr.
Goals: The goal
of this lab is to teach participants basic geologic skills of
visualizing/thinking in 3-D, of map and cross section interpretation and construction,
and of structural analysis. Specific goals for each of the 10
labs are listed below.
This is a work in progress, and I reserve the right to change some of these labs substantially.
Lab mechanics: Remember
that these labs build on each other. You will need the skills
you learn in the earlier labs to complete later labs. Therefore,
make sure you understand the material of earlier labs.You will
need a good scale (ruler with cm and inches), colored pencils,
and a calculator, and will use trig functions extensively! Some
labs will require write-ups. Since writing skills are necessary
for effective communication they are an important component of
your work. I reserve the right to change the order of the labs,
or modify content of individual labs in order to respond to class
needs. Unless otherwise noted the labs will be due a week after
they are handed out. Late labs will be accepted if I haven't
graded the assignment yet. Otherwise they will be accepted, but
the highest grade possible is the equivalent of a low C (i.e.
just passing). No labs will be accepted however, after the last
day of lecture.
230 points are possible. >190 = A+, 190 to >180 = A, 180
to >170 =A-, 170 to < 160 = B+, 160 to < 150 = B, 150
to > 140 = B-, 140 to < 130 = C+, 130 to < 120 = C, 120
to > 110 = C-, any lower you don't want to be, but you can
continue the pattern.
Field Trip: A
weekend field exercise is required for the course, and is the focus of
the last and biggest lab. The date and locality is TBA, soon.
email@example.com, 402 554 2662.
Lab 1: Reading geologic
maps (20 pts.):
- understanding strike and dip, trend and plunge,
fold and fault symbology.
- recognition of stratigraphic vs. unconformity
vs. intrusive vs. fault contacts.
- distinguish effect of topography versus effect
of structure on map pattern.
- recognition of structural trends and patterns
(e.g. fold patterns).
- development of basic geologic history of
- critical review of geologic maps.
Lab 2: Structure
contour construction (20 pts.):
- know the definition of a structure contour.
- be able to hand contour data.
- be able to calculate surface traits (e.g.
local strike and dip) from structure contours.
- construct map pattern of a contact from structure
and topographic contours.
- be able to use Surfer (or equivalent software)
to contour data.
- be able to interpret the structure contours
Lab 3: Image
interpretation and map construction
- know sources for imagery that can be used
as base maps.
- know about GPS, and lat-long and UTM locations
- know about distorted versus rectified images.
- recognize an array of geologic features on
- use Illustrator or equivalent software to
create an interpretative overlay map from an image.
- properly use solid vs. dashed vs, dotted
Lab 4: Constructing
- be able to construct a topographic profile.
- know about vertical exaggeration and pros
- be able to transfer info from map to the
cross section profile.
- extrapolation of surface to depth in a geologically
- understanding the concept of structural style.
Lab 5: Structural Analysis
(2 weeks, Arbuckles) (30 pts.):
- understand the geometry of the stereographic
- understand the projections uses in structural
- be able to plot by hand strike and dip and
trend and plunge on a stereonet.
- be able to use a program to plot and contour
- be able to interpret the patterns on such
Lab 6: Shear strength analysis lab (20 pts.).
- be able to design an experimental protocol
that investigates factors that influence slip on a surface.
- be able to acquire the relevant data.
- to be able to graph and interpret the results.
- use Excel or a similar program to find the
best-fit line that describes the data.
- understand the sources and character of errors
- to be able to produce a written report clearly
communicating the results.
Lab 7: Strain
measurement lab (10 pts.).
- understand basic methods of strain analysis.
- understand concepts of strain partitioning.
- compute compaction strain from images.
- conduct a Frye analysis on a deformed specimen.
- understand and interpret the results.
Lab 8 : Description
of structures in hand specimens
- recognize an array of brittle versus ductile
structures in specimens.
- recognize types of tectonites.
- be abe to describe these structures with
the appropriate terminology.
- be able to deduce a geologic history from
Lab 9: Exploring
the Toadstool Geologic Park GIS database
- learn the utility of GIS for structural mapping
and analysis purposes.
- learn to navigate in ArcMap software.
- learn to classify geologic information using
- become familiar with Toadstool Geologic Park
- prepare for the structural geology field
trip to Toadstool.
Lab 10: Mapping project (60 pts.):
- location in the field by inspection.
- collect location (GPS) and geologic data
in the field.
- plot data on the base map using GIS.
- interpret the geology and create a geologic
map and cross section.
- plot data on stereonets and analyze it.
- develop a geologic history.
- summary report.
Copyright Harmon D. Maher Jr., This may be
used for non-profit educational purposes as long as proper attribution
is given. Otherwise, please contact me. Thank you.