• Class Number 6366
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Louis Moresi
    • Dr Chengxin Jiang
    • Dr Romain Beucher
    • Carlos Carrasco Godoy
    • Catherine Wilsbacher
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

This course is designed to develop an advanced understanding of deformation processes and structures produced by displacement and deformation in the Earth's lithosphere at scales ranging from the tectonic plate scale, down to the crystal lattice scale. Emphasis is placed on understanding (1) the geometry and types of structures produced by complex crustal deformation histories involving contractional, extensional and wrench regimes, (2) the deformation processes which control the microstructural evolution of deformed rocks, (3) factors influencing the strength and mechanical behaviour of the Earth's crust and underlying mantle lithosphere, (4) deformational controls on crustal-scale fluid flow and applications to understanding ore genesis and earthquake processes, and (5) the large-scale geodynamic processes controlling plate motions and crustal deformation.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Recognise, map and interpret the geological structure of deformed continental regimes, from mildly deformed upper crustal regimes to complexly deformed, deeper crustal regimes.
  2. Interpret the relative timing of formation of structures, the kinematics of deformation, and progressive deformation histories.
  3. Predict the geometry and location of structures at depth or in areas of poor outcrop.
  4. Apply an understanding of structural geology in the mining and resource exploration environment.

Research-Led Teaching

This course develops research skills of the individual student through their involvement in their own research project. The student will investigate aspects of structural geology and tectonics in respect to the evolution of an individual mountain belt, choosing one or more transects to illustrate overall cross-sections and structural relations between different rock entities.

Field Trips

At this time, we do not plan to offer any in-person field-training and we will be limited to virtual lab-based "fieldwork"

Additional Course Costs

There will be no additional class costs.

Examination Material or equipment

Students will take the examination online using a Wattle quiz, so they will need access to a computer during the times in question.

Required Resources

We will have a number of on-line exercises for you to complete so we expect you to have access to a laptop or tablet (with keyboard) for labs and homework.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

  • Students will be given verbal feedback to the whole class, to groups, and to individuals. This will address their general performance in the course.
  • In exceptional cases a student might receive written feedback, for example in respect to the need to ensure practical reports reflect individual effort.
  • Collaborative activity in small identified groups will be encouraged. However students must ensure that they submit their own work, not the work of others.
  • There will be an assessment exercise approximately every three weeks during the course.
  • The marks for the assessment exercises will provide feedback on progress and prowess.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 General Information The course will involve three hours per week in lectures, with one two hour practical. The lectures will provide online interaction using ZOOM. The lecture material is broken into five sections that cover different aspects of tectonics, deformation and structure. Labs broadly follow the lectures but, for logistical reasons, run as a parallel activities that can span multiple weeks. There will be 5 short quizzes during the semester that will help you to calibrate your knowledge from the course material for each module and which you can use for revision. The first of these quizzes will be a refresher on plate kinematics which you will be allowed to re-take after an optional tutorial. (20% on these quizzes) Lab-based assessments will be worth 20% of the course in total. One assessment will be an exercise on interpreting sandbox models that you will be running in the lab. The second will be a mapping exercise. There will be a poster presentation and report that together make up 20% of the course assessment. The final exam will be worth 40% of the course.
2 Module I. Introduction to Global Tectonics This module introduces the concepts of global-scale tectonics, plate motions, the nature of plate boundaries and the geological structures characteristic of large-scale deformation of the crust.
3 Module II. Structures in the Earth In this module, we will lead you on a journey through typical structural features of the Earth's crust, how to recognise and name them and how to connect them to tectonic processes. This module aims to develop student intuition and proficiency in 3- and 4-dimensional visualization and thinking and teach the fundamentals of rock deformation using natural examples. You will be given an overview of the geometry and type of structures produced by complex crustal deformation histories involving contractional, extensional and wrench regimes over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. You will learn how to recognise structural features using satellite imagery, geological maps and will learn how to construct geological profiles.
4 Module III. Theoretical underpinnings: stress, strain and geometry The theory of stress and strain, an introduction to continuum mechanics as relevant to structural geology and tectonics. In order to understand geological structures in more detail, we need some background understanding of how stresses and strains work, how they are measured, and how you can use these concepts to interpret what you see in the field.
5 Module IV. Brittle Deformation When rocks undergo rapid, localised deformation, refer to the process as "brittle deformation". Typically brittle features in the Earth's crust are faults and we can understand much about the stress and deformation if we understand faults, their rupture and associated seismic energy release.
6 Module V. Ductile Deformation: Folding, shearing and associated structures Ductile deformation occurs when rocks are able to accommodate large deformations without fracturing. You will learn how to recognise elements of ductile deformation such as folding, shearing and stretching. We will take you though the fundamentals of modern fold theory. We will see how folds represent important windows into local and regional deformation histories. You will learn how to describe geometry and different styles of folding and will understand how we can use them to derive important information about the type of deformation. You will then learn about structures associated with folding and see how they can be used to map and understand the deformation history.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Quizzes 20 % * * 1,2,3,4
Lab reports on experimental sandbox exercise 10 % * * 2,3
Lab based mapping exercise 10 % * * 1,2,3
Presentation of a poster / digital poster 20 % * * 1,2,3
End of semester exam 40 % 04/11/2021 02/12/2021 1,2,3,4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Students are expected to attend lectures and practicals to benefit from discussion of required readings from the course textbook.


Please note, that where a date range is used in the Assessment Summary in relation to exams, the due date and return date indicate the approximate timeframe in which the exam will be held and results returned to the student (official end of Semester results released on ISIS). Students should consult the course wattle site and the ANU final examination timetable to confirm the date, time and venue of the exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4


There will be 5 short quizzes during the semester that will help you to calibrate your knowledge from the course material for each module and which you can use for revision. The first of these quizzes will be a refresher on plate kinematics during the practical time in week 1 which you will be allowed to re-take after an optional tutorial. The quizzes will be otherwise be released on the last Wednesday of each module and will be due for return on the following Monday.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 2,3

Lab reports on experimental sandbox exercise

We will be undertaking a linked series of experiments using a sandbox apparatus in which complicated structures are developed from a simple pattern of forces. The labs will be team exercises and the schedule depends on class numbers. You will write up the experiments and connect them to examples from the geological record. The lab report will be due on the Friday of week 7 of the semester (after the mid-semester break).

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Lab based mapping exercise

You will be undertaking "mapping" and virtual field exercises in the practical classes to give you the skills to interpret geological structures in terms of the fundamental concepts from the lectures.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Presentation of a poster / digital poster

An individual research project that you will present as a poster (format depends on whether in-person poster presentation will be possible).

Assessment Task 5

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 04/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 02/12/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

End of semester exam

The final overall theory exam for the course will take place during the examination period after the end of semester II. This final examination is worth 40% of the total mark. The content of the examination will be restricted to the subject matter discussed during the course and background material that has been assigned by the lecturers.

The date range in the Assessment Summary indicates the start of the end of semester exam period and the date official end of semester results are released on ISIS. Please check the ANU final Examination Timetable http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/examination-timetable to confirm the date, time and location exam.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments should be submitted by the due date. They will be marked and returned with comments and feedback with maximum possible expediency.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Under exceptional circumstances an assignment will be allowed to be submitted or resubmitted after the due date, but this will require a request for special consideration, accompanied by a medical certificate where relevant.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Prof Louis Moresi

Research Interests

Prof Louis Moresi

By Appointment
Dr Chengxin Jiang
612 53406

Research Interests

Dr Chengxin Jiang

Dr Romain Beucher

Research Interests

Dr Romain Beucher

Carlos Carrasco Godoy
612 53406

Research Interests

Carlos Carrasco Godoy

Catherine Wilsbacher

Research Interests

Catherine Wilsbacher

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions