• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Environmental Studies, Physics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Louis Moresi
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings
  • STEM Course

This course teaches the concepts of structural geology and tectonics using examples from the unique geological history of the Australian plate and its boundaries. It develops a broad understanding of the processes that shape the continental crust and the forces that drive geological deformation. Basic principles of rock mechanics at scales ranging from a single crystal to continental-wide give a quantitative understanding of the connection between stress and deformation. The course connects geological mapping to geophysical imaging to provide the essential tools for understanding how, when and why structures form in the crust and how they relate to the formation of important mineral deposits, sedimentary basins, fault systems and their associated earthquakes. There are opportunities to undertake mapping exercises in the field or with digital geology tools, as well as an introduction to laboratory analogue experiments and computational models.

Honours Pathway Option (HPO):

Honours Pathway students will be required to synthesise a computational modelling exercise with theoretical concepts from the course material or complete an in-depth, critical review of a complex issue in structural geology.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe the broad geological history of the Australian plate and place its major structures in their tectonic context.
  2. Explain the relationship between plate kinematics, plate tectonics forces and the deformation patterns in the continental crust.
  3. Evaluate how observational data collected during laboratory experiments and field work (in person or virtual) supports or refutes theoretical concepts in structural geological and tectonics.
  4. Predict the geometry and location of structures at depth or in areas of poor outcrop through the use of geological and geophysical observations.
  5. Interpret the relative timing of formation of structures, the kinematics of deformation, and progressive deformation histories in geological settings and laboratory / computer analogues.
  6. Synthesise field observations and theoretical / laboratory-derived concepts to interpret a geological cross section within its tectonic context.
  7. Independently develop laboratory analogue experiments that represent archetypal geological structures.
  8. For HPO students only: Integrate computational modelling results or independent literature review with advanced concepts in tectonics/structure.

Other Information


Indicative Assessment: Students taking an HPO will either submit an extended computational modelling exercise, or, submit an additional literature review, both equivalent to 20% of overall assessment. The regular assessment will be scaled to 80%.  

Minimum Requirements: The HPO is open to all students. Students wishing to engage with the extended modelling option should have some background in python programming.

Opt-in/Out: Students opt-in to the HPO by submitting the relevant assessment. Once it has been submitted, it is not possible to opt-out.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Short-question format quizzes. (20) [LO 1,2,4,5]
  2. Written submission of laboratory-based exercises. (10) [LO 1,2,5,6]
  3. Report on linked laboratory exercises. (10) [LO 3,4,5,7]
  4. Field mapping exercise (20) [LO 5,6,7]
  5. Final theory exam (40) [LO 1,2,4,5]

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.


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 and 1 x 2 hour workshops/labs per week. An optional drop-in session will be available after the practical.
  • Field trip — one half day field trip during the semester (in one of the workshop slots).
  • Approximately 70 hours of self-directed study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

This course includes a field trip. For more information on Field Trips please see: https://students.science.anu.edu.au/program-admin/college-science-field-trips .

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed EMSC2012 or EMSC2023. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed GEOL3002 or EMSC6030.

Prescribed Texts


Assumed Knowledge

Basic understanding of the principles of structural analysis.


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
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7793 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person N/A

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