Advanced Structural Geology
Lab involved exploration of the software Move, which can do forwards and backwards geometric and kinematic modeling of brittle structures (especially related to structures that are important in the oil and gas industry).
There was a one-week field trip to the Lake Mead area over spring break.
1. be able to evaluate a modeling tool in terms of
- whether it can be used to solve the problem they want to solve
- what assumptions it makes
- what conceptual models it uses to solve problems
2. design and implement a study that uses a modeling tool to solve a problem that interests them.
And continue to improve the following skills:
1. taking notes on things that they do or observe (in some way that is effective for you)
2. writing papers that include discussion of methods used and the ways in which their results are influenced by the methods they chose
3. reading the geologic literature, especially for ideas for future work
In addition, the students have (1) weekly assignments in which they evaluate the modeling tool used in lab (including describing the assumptions behind the tool and the situations in which it would be appropriate to use it), (2) a mid-term project in which they use Move to evaluate a major cross-section which they constructed in the required structural geology course (of part of the Wyoming fold-thrust belt), (3) a description and interpretation of one stop on the spring break field trip, and (4) several note-taking checks, in which they are required to show the notes that they have been taking while working with the modeling software or in the field.
The course was designed to allow students to prepare for a senior thesis using a modeling tool, or to evaluate a tool that they were already using in their senior thesis work. The lecture parts of the course involved discussion of published papers, because at this advanced level, I wanted the students to interpret papers for themselves, rather than listen to my interpretations of them. All of the grading in the course was on written work, rather than exams, because I think that writing papers requires skills that I want my students to work on, and papers show weaknesses in critical thinking that are rarely revealed in exams.
References and Notes:
Bond, C.E., Lunn, R.J., Shipton, Z.K., and Lunn, A.D., 2012, What makes an expert effective at interpreting seismic images? Geology, v. 40, p. 75-78, doi:10.1130/G32375.1
Bond, C.E., Gibbs, A.D., Shipton, Z.K., and Jones, S., 2007, What do you think this is? "Conceptual uncertainty" in geosciences interpretation: GSA Today, v. 17, no. 11, p. 4-10.
Erslev, E.A., 1991, Trishear fault-propagation folding: Geology, v. 19, p. 617-620.
Pilkey, O.H. and Pilkey-Jarvis, L., 2007, Useless arithmetic: why environmental scientists can't predict the future: New York, Columbia University Press, 230 p.
Suppe, J., 1983, Geometry and kinematics of fault-bend folding: American Journal of Science, v. 283, p. 684-721.
Withjack, M.O., and Peterson, E.T., 1993, Prediction of normal-fault geometries; a sensitivity analysis: AAPG Bulletin, v. 77, n. 11, p. 1860-1873.