• 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
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

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 students will learn a toolbox of methods that are used in global stratigraphy. These methods include Magnetostratigraphy, Biostratigraphy, Chemostratigraphy, Seismic Stratigraphy, and Cyclotratigraphy. 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.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of both clastic and carbonate petrology.
  8. Demonstrate an high level of understanding of how large sedimentary basins form

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. 5 tutorial exercises (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Weekly practical assignments (5 petrology practicals, with an assessed petrology quiz) (15) [LO 7]
  3. Theory exam (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Field Trip Report (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  5. Global Basins report (10) [LO 1,2,6,8]

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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 directed 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.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $4110
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5880
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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