• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Energy Change, Geology, Environmental Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Bradley Opdyke
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

Sedimentary basins are the source of all our fossil fuel resources, paleoclimate records and make our planet distinctive. This course will cover sedimentary basin development and the methods used to correlate sedimentary sections around the world. The architecture of large sedimentary basins (greater than 500 km across) will be investigated, with an emphasis on how and why they form. Correlation of rock units in time and space rely on global stratigraphic methods, with emphasis placed on 'event' stratigraphy such as Oceanic Anoxic Events and warm intervals from the sedimentary record like the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and other times of 'Extreme' climate that occurred during the past 100 million years. The skills learned in this course provide the building blocks of climate reconstructions.

This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Assess large scale sedimentary basin architecture using seismic stratigraphy, well logs, coring and in some cases outcrops.
  2. Describe depositional history of selected basins using case studies from the literature. Demonstrate an understanding of how magnetostratigraphy works.
  3. Evaluate how constructing stratigraphies using stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon is accomplished.
  4. Develop a working knowledge of how paleotemperature and atmospheric CO2 are reconstructed.
  5. Analyse and understand how extreme climate events such as the PETM and OAEs are reconstructed.
  6. Critically analyse how the stratigraphic record can inform us about future climate change and sea level rise, examples from Pliocene stratigraphic study.

Other Information

Indicative field trip costs are approximately $200 and are in addition to the standard course costs. Field trips payments are made through Scienceshop

Indicative Assessment

  1. 6 quizzes (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Weekly practical assignments (6 assessed, including the field trip) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  3. Theory exam (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Research paper (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

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 will consist of 2 x 1 hour lectures plus 1 X 3 hour practical per week.
  • A weekend field trip is planned to the South Coast of New South Wales during the first month of the course.
  • Approximately 56 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 6 units of 1000 level EMSC or CHEM courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed EMSC2014, GEOL2014 or EMSC3014

Prescribed Texts

There will be no set text, but a series of journal articles will be included in the course material.

Assumed Knowledge

Bachelor degree including Earth Science/Geology or Chemistry to a first year level


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

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4579 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person View

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