Geologic Structures and Map Interpretation

Genet Ide Duke

Northeastern Illinois University
Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


Determination of the attitude and thickness of inclined strata and their bearing on outcrop patterns; preparation of geological maps from given field data; and
interpretations of aerial photos, topographic maps, and geological maps depicting folds, faults, unconformities and intrusive bodies; preparation of geological cross sections. Lecture 2 hours, lab 3 hours.

Course URL:
Course Size:


Course Context:

This is a mid-level structural geology course that is required for Field Camp. It is not a "normal" Structural Geology course in that Math pre-requisites are remedial-only, and Min-Pet 1 ("Rocks and Minerals" for minors and majors) is the highest level Earth Science pre-requisite. The course has a required laboratory and field trip.

Course Goals:

- Students should be able to work comfortably with geologic maps, being able to (1) identify all structural features, (2) identify stresses and stress directions, (3) analyze the region of the map tectonically.
- Students should be able to dentify small structural features in outcrop, hand specimen, or microscope,
and be able to make basic conclusions regarding stress regime of formation.
- Students should be able to use Google Earth to analyze regional geologic features.
- Students should be able to analyze faults, fault surfaces, folds, sequences of folding events, kinematics.
- Students should be able to create/draft geologic maps and structural sections from geologic maps.

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

Instruction, as well as course activities, including field, lab, and computer work, enable students achieve these objectives.

Skills Goals

-working in groups

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

Students are mixed into different groups at different times to learn to work with each other and peer-teach. This occurs at least once a week for at least a 3-hour stretch of lab time.

Attitudinal Goals

-building students' confidence in course- and discipline-related abilities.
-increasing student excitement/personal wonder about learning about the Earth

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

The structure of the course was such that the learning culminated with a long 2-day field trip in the Baraboos of Wisconsin, where they applied their knowledge. This building of knowledge truly increased their confidence, and traveling from the big city to this structural wonderland was exciting to almost all of the students.


Quizzes, papers, oral discussion, minute-papers, muddiest-point papers, peer-teaching where students teach with power point, peer-teaching where students work with others in small groups, lab notebooks, lab assignments, one-on-one hands-on assessment of skills, etc.


Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 215kB May12 12)