Structural Geology

7.244 Course Outline, Fall 1998

Instructor: Jeff Young, Room 336 Wallace Building

T.A.: Janice Liwanag, 359 Wallace

Text: Davis, G.H., Structural Geology of Rocks and Regions. 2nd Ed., John Wiley & Sons, 1996.

10% Maps and Miscellaneous Assignments
5% Field Trip Assignment / Assignment
25% Lab Assignments
30% Lab Final (based on lab & map assignments - 3 hrs.)
30% Lecture Final (based on lectures - 2 hrs.)

Lectures: Slot 9 (Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30 a.m., Room 217 Wallace Building)

Labs: Slot 23 (Tuesday, 2:30 p.m., Room 245 Wallace Building)

Field Trip: Sunday, October 4th (8:00 to 4:30)


    1. Introdution to structural geology ; primary and non-tectonic structures; unconformities
    2. Force, stress, deformation and strain in geological materials; Mohr diagrams
    3. Factors affecting deformational behaviour. Composition, lithostatic pressure, porewater pressure, temperature, time strain rate, strength anistropy, etc. Experimental and field examples.
    4. Brittle deformation; tensile cracking and shear fractures; joint and vein sets and systems
    5. Ductile deformation; simple shear, pure shear; homogenous and heterogenous, deformation processes and microstructures
    6. Faults: fault nomenclature, net slip, apparent movement, classification schemes. Normal faults, thrust faults, strike slip faults. Repetition and omission of strata. Fault plane features and physiographic features associated with faulting. Stable sliding and stick-slip fault mechanisms and earthquakes.
    7. Folds: fold nomenclature, classification based on closure, symmetry, orientation and style. Mechanisms of folding. Small scale structures associated with folds. Fold systems. Introduction to polyphase folding.
    8. Cleavage: penetrative cleavage, spaced cleavage, microlithons. Schistosity, slatey cleavage, fracture cleavage, strain slip cleavage, pressure solution cleavage. Cleavage refraction. Relation to other structures.
    9. Lineations: mineral lineations, mineral aggregate lineations, S-intersection lineations, crenulation lineations, fold axis lineations, relation to other structures.
    10. Boudinage, and pinch and swell structures.

Map Assignments:

The expression and interpretation of geological structures on maps and cross sections are important components of any course in structural geology. We will deal with these components through a series of map interpretation exercises, assigned in lectures. Each assignment will require the preparation of a cross section and interpretation of the geologic history.


The laboratory sessions will be three hours. They will consist of an instructional session (with handouts) followed by an assignment. Some assigments may be due before leaving the lab. Otherwise they will be due at the beginning of the following lab. Assignments will be graded and returned, usually the following week. The following is a list of topics that are planned for the weekly laboratory portion of the course (not necessarily in the order listed below).

    1. Orientation of planar and linear geologic features. Definitions of strike (strike lines), true dip (true dip line), apparent dip (apparent dip lines) of planar features; plunge and pitch of linear features. Includes orthographic and trigonometric relationships of the above features.
    2. Plotting of orientation data on stereonets.
    3. Stereonet solutions to angular problems involving apparent and true dip, orientations of lines of intersection between two planes, dihedral angles between two planes.
    4. True thickness and apparent thickness of beds.
    5. Outcrop patterns produced by dipping layered sequences, faulting sequences, angular unconformities, and folds. Three point problems.
    6. Cross sections.
    7. Drill hole problems.
    8. Translational fault problems.
    9. Angular unconformity restoration problems.
    10. Rotational fault problems
    11. Structure contour problem, faulted folds.
    12. Review.

Laboratory Requirements:

    1. Set of triangles (30-60o and 45o - 10 inch)
    2. One 6 inch protractor, or Douglas proctractor
    3. Selection of pencils - 2H and 4H
    4. Set of coloured pencils
    5. One good quality set of compasses and dividers
    6. Eraser
    7. Unlined paper - 8.5" x 11"
    8. Metric graph paper - 8.5" x 11"
    9. Metric scale

    10. Tracing paper or onion skin
    11. Scotch tape
    12. Flat head tack