The course in Earth Sciences and Geology at Cambridge University is an introduction to the whole field of earth and planetary geology covering the nature
and properties of the Earth, particularly of the mantle and the crust. Study focuses on the Earth’s interior and also in its oceans and atmosphere; biological, physical, and chemical methods of dating to establish rates of geological and global environmental change; and major economic considerations.
Most students are untutored in geology and many who do not intend to become geologists. It is a general introduction to the planet, an overview of what we know and of what we think we do not understand, and is a fully interdisciplinary field with ample room for geologists, biologists, climatologists, chemists, mathematicians and many others.
Investigating the Earth is important in today’s changing world, and at the end of the first year students will have an appreciation of the science behind climate change, a broad understanding of the history of life, a feel for all the major events that have gone on over the past four-and-a-half billion years,
In short a basic knowledge of the Earth as a system: a series of interlinked biogeochemical cycles and physical phenomena.
Emphasis is placed on practical and field work including general identifications and interpretation of rocks, interpretation of geological maps of large areas, and the use of fossils, sediments and rocks in determining internal and external changes.
Much of the course is concerned with application of principles of physics, chemistry, and biology to gain an understanding of the behaviour of Earth and the planets, so that a school background in some of these subjects is necessary. Previous knowledge of geology is not necessary. Fieldwork is carried out in the Easter Vacation during a 1 week trip to Athens, and is an essential part of the course.
- Petrology, Mineralogy, Volcanology
- Climate Science and Oceanography
- Surface Processes and Sedimentology
- Geophysics, Tectonics, Seismology
- Geology in the Field
Teaching is carried out via the faculty and also by indicudual college tutors. There will be lectures, seminars, supervisions, practical classes & Fieldwork. At the end of the year assessments will take places as a theory examination and practical examaniation of 3 hours each. There are 4 compulsory question in the practical examination.
- Q1 Identification of 15 hand specimens of rocks, minerals, fossils or of photographs of geological features.
- Q2 Microscopic description and identification of rocks.
- Q3 Description, identification and interpretation of fossil material.
- Q4 Interpretation of a geological map.
Part II Geological Sciences.provides a geological education either for students intending to complete their undergraduate training in Geology at Cambridge or for those planning to continue to Part III Geological Sciences. Students will graduate after 3 years with a B.A. Degree, providing a fully accredited honours geology degree for entry to professional careers or further geological training. Most students use Part II Geological Sciences as a precursor to Part III Geological Sciences (fourth year) which offers a full geological education up to the active research level.
Geological Sciences B course deals with the subsurface processes of the lithosphere and asthenosphere.
- Igneous and metamorphic petrology
- case studies of volcanic and mountainous settings.
The B.A. Degree is earned after passing Part IIB, and the M.Sci. (Master of Natural Sciences) degree after Part III. The four year route is intended for students planning a career, further training or research within Earth Sciences, or for students wanting the intellectual challenge of an advanced course in this field. Part II Geological Sciences will have taught cores on the scientific and technical fundamentals of the subject in the first term, followed by a choice of options in the second and third terms covering a wide spectrum of the subject. Fieldwork is an essential part of the course.
Project work (essentially a field mapping project) is carried out in the Long Vacation preceding the Part II year and during the first term and many students find this the most enjoyable and the most rewarding part of the course. Students will be able to pick a topic of their choice and will have access to supervisors specialising in this subject. More details can be found at www.esc.cam.ac.uk/teachi
The research project may be based on fieldwork or Industry placements (typically conducted during the preceding Long Vacation), or a laboratory work and/or data analysis. More details of the coursework and course requirements can be found at http://www.cam.ac.uk/about/natscitripos/ps/structure/part3.html
Field trips are an important part of Geogolgy and there are at least 6 trips around the globe during the course:
- Part IA – Arran
- Part IB – Cumbria
- Part IB – Southwest England
- Part II – Skye
- Part II – Greece
- Part III – Spain
van Andel, T.H., 1994, “New Views on an Old Planet”, 2nd edition. CUP.
Press, F. and Siever, R. 1986, “Earth”, 4th edition. Freeman.
Skinner, B.J. and Porter, S.C. 1995, “The Dynamic Earth”. Wiley.
Holmes’ “Principals of Physical Geology” edited by D. Duff, (4th edition), Chapman and
Hall, 1994 (do not get older editions).
Putnis, Andrew. “Introduction to Mineral Sciences.” (Cambridge University Press)
Hans-Rudolf Wenk and Andrei Bulakh. “Minerals. Their constitution and origin.”
(Cambridge University Press)
MacKenzie, W.S. and Guildford, C. “Atlas of Rock-Forming Minerals in Thin Section.”
Ron H. Vernon. “A practical guide to rock microstructure.” (Cambridge University Press)
“The Practical Study of Crystals, Minerals and Rocks” (Cox, Price & Harte, McGraw-Hill)
“Mineralogy for Students” (Battey, Longman)
“Principles of Physical Geology” (Holmes, Chapman & Hall). Kearey P. & Vine F.J., 1996,
Global Tectonics 2
nd edition. Blackwell 16 of 44
IA Guide 2012-2013
Deer, W.A., Howie, R.A. and Zussman, J, 1992. “An Introduction to the rock forming
minerals”. Pearson, Prentice Hall.
“Mantle convection in the Earth and planets”. Schubert, G., Turcotte, D.L. and Olson P.,
2001. (Cambridge University Press)