Structural geology

Howell Bosbyshell

West Chester University of Pennsylvania
Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


Determination of the sequential development and the forces involved in the various structural features of the earth.

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Course Context:

An upper-level undergraduate course with prerequisites of lower-level field geology and mineralogy. The course consists of two hours lecture and two hours lab per week and includes at least two one day field trips; some years a two day field trip is required.

Course Goals:

Students should become proficient in 3- and 4-dimensional visualization and thinking.
Students should become proficient in basic techniques in structural geology including data collection in the field, orthographic projection, stereo projection, and structure sections.
Students should be able to perform structural analysis and interpret various deformational structures, at many scales of observation.

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

Activities are intended to develop students abilities to think , visualize and deal with three dimensional data, primarily through graphical methods (primarily through the application of plane geometry and stereographic projection). The course builds on basic knowledge and activities later in the semester utilize skills and concepts introduced previously.

Skills Goals

oral communication

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

Each student will prepare a 10 minute PowerPoint presentation describing the structural geology associated with some portion of the boundary between two tectonic plates, ancient or modern, anywhere on Earth. The talk will be a summary of the current state of knowledge concerning the boundary of your choosing and should include maps and cross-sections showing important structural features, a description of plate motion, and outstanding questions. To facilitate a quality job, a detailed outline and citation list for your talk will be turned in 2 weeks prior to the presentation.


Student learning is assessed through three take-home exams, through the use of personal response systems and through lab and field-trip assignments.