• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Geology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Andrew Berry
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

This course includes an on campus activity/ies. Check timetable for details. Contact course convener if you are unable to travel to Canberra.

This course provides an introduction to the chemistry, physics and climate of the Earth.  The course comprises four equally-weighted modules:

  1. Geochemistry: magmas, volcanoes, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary processes.
  2. Geophysics: plate tectonics, seismology, heat transfer, and Earth's magnetic field.
  3. Palaeoclimate: factors affecting Earth's climate in the past, present and future.
  4. Field Geology: interpreting changes in tectonics and climate from the rock record.

Mineral and rock identification, field techniques (mapping, cross sections, stratigraphy), data analysis, and numerical modelling will be taught in this course.  

NOTE: Graduate students will attend joint classes with undergraduates, but will be assessed under a different scheme, which will require a greater level of conceptual understanding.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Examine minerals and rocks and understand the mechanisms by which they formed.
  2. Develop a geological history (e.g. climate, tectonics) of a region from multiple lines of evidence provided by the rock record.
  3. Develop a conceptual understand relating the history of the Earth to processes that shape our planet today.
  4. Synthesise field observations with theory learned in lectures.
  5. Analyze the role of geological processes in natural hazards.
  6. Explain how different geophysical techniques constrain the structure of the Earth.
  7. Compare changes in past environments from different environmental archives and examine these changes in the context of potential impacts of future climate change.

Other Information

There will be a 5-day field trip to the South Coast of New South Wales. The field trip is usually run during the first week of the mid-semester break. The cost for this field trip is expected to be $350-$450, of which a $50 is due prior to the trip and the remaining balance due by the end of the semester.

Payments are to be made via Scienceshop

Indicative Assessment

  1. Assessed practicals (30) [LO 1,2,6,7]
  2. Field trip assignment (25) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Theory exam (45) [LO 2,3,5,6,7]
  4. Graduate students will be assessed at a higher level than undergraduates and will be expected to demonstrate greater conceptual insight and more advanced scientific understanding. (null) [LO null]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 3 x 1 hour lectures plus 1 x 3 hour practical per week
  • A 5-day field trip (pelase see other information section)
  • Approximately 25 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

In this course, students must typically participate in an approximately 5 day field trip. In order to participate, students must be able to:

  • Travel to the field location and stay in field accommodations such as basic shared cabins or dorm rooms
  • Safely traverse 2-4 km at a moderate pace and short distances (10-500m) over uneven ground
  • Manage an intense workload during the trip, which includes full days working in the field followed by 2-3 hours each evening completing tasks related to the day’s activities

Students who are unable to meet these requirements may be able to negotiate alternative assessment and participation requirements with the course convenor. Please refer to the trip information page for more information.

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with EMSC1008

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Understanding Earth by Frank Press and Raymond Siever

Assumed Knowledge

EMSC6107 Blue Planet


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8745 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person View

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