Structural Geology

Martha Growdon

SUNY Oneonta
Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


An introduction to common structural features-folds, faults, foliations, lineations, unconformities, geologic contacts, their geometry and origin. Examination of basic concepts of stress and strain; laboratory application of basic geometric techniques used in structural analysis, including orthographic and stereographic projection, construction of cross-sections, and interpretation of structure from geological maps.

Course URL:
Course Size:

less than 15

Course Context:

This is an upper-division required structural geology course for Geology majors with prerequisites of "Geologic Data and Analysis" and "Mineralogy." The course has a required 2-hour laboratory and a required 3-day field trip.

Course Goals:

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
1) Interpret patterns on bedrock geologic maps;
2) Interpret structures in field outcrops;
3) Document field data with meaningful, well-organized field notes;
4) Interpret structural histories;
5) Manipulate structural datasets to produce and interpret equal area nets;
6) Recognize, draw, and restore balanced cross sections.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

These goals are addressed through lecture and lab activities and field trips that are designed around a term project with the goal of interpreting the structural history of an area. The students use real maps and data to construct stereonets, a strat column, and a balanced cross section. They use their work and field and class notes to write a paper synthesizing the structural history of the area.


I use a grading rubric on assignments in which there are 5 points possible for each question (or part of question if the parts are substantial). The mark, 0-5, indicates the level of completion, care, and correctness shown in the student's answer. The term project is graded in a sequence of steps, in which each piece of the step has an assigned value. The students can get back points at the end if they revised their steps before turning in the final project. There are also three practical exams.


Structural Geology Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 30.6MB Apr30 12)