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Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences

Content class: Sedimentary geology

Class: GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES (D.M. 270/04) (Offer 2017)
  • CFU: 12
  • SSD: GEO/02


Part 1 Objectives of the course are to enable the student to acquire the following skills: -a proper stratigraphic-sedimentological terminology; -the necessary basis for the analysis and understanding of sedimentary processes; -the necessary methodologies for the study and description of sedimentary bodies; -the ability to interpret the relationships between different rock bodies. Part 2 Objectives of the course are to enable the student to acquire the following skills: -the ability to reconstruct the evolution of the different stratigraphic and sedimentary environments. -properly use the compass for the determination of linear and planar elements; -determine the parameters of planar elements from the geological maps, -estimate the apparent vertical slip a of a fault; -draw geological sections of different geological complexity; -list the main steps of the geological story of an area throughout the interpretation of its geological map; -use topographic elements and trigonometry relationships for thickness determination and for depth assessment of rock bodies.


The student must have acquired the credits relating to the courses of Geologia Generale and Geografia Fisica e Cartografia. For the part 2 of the course are also required: - application of trigonometric relations skills related specifically to triangles; - knowledge of the fundamental principles of stratigraphy; - knowledge of the genetic mechanisms of the main categories of rocks and their nomenclature; - knowledge of the nomenclature relating to the main tectonic elements (folds, faults); - skill of drawing of cross sections from countour lines topographical maps; - skill to read topographical maps to identify with sufficient precision the characteristics of the relief.

Course Syllabus

Part 1 Depositional units. Stratification. Concept and principles of facies analysis. Sedimentary structures. Eustasy. Relative sea-level variations. Depositional sequences and sequence boundaries. Part 2 Identifying parameters of linear and planar elements: strike, dip direction and angle of dip of a plane; pitch, plunge and azimuth of a lineament. Type of attitude notations. The geologic Kompass: general construction characteristics and description of some types. True and apparent dips of planes; Calculation of attitudes using geometric methods: applications of the three-point problem; Notions of stratigraphic measurement: concept of real and apparent stratigraphic thickness of a rock body. Vertical and horizontal thickness. Calculation of stratigraphic thickness: analytic methods. Use of expeditious topographic instruments: The Monticolo tablet. Geological Maps: general informations, the main elements, the legend structure, stratigraphic columns and stratigraphic diagrams, geological sections. Examples of geologic-derived and of outer types of maps: structural, tectonic, palinspastic, paleogeographic, isopach, isocore, lithofacies, biofacies and geophysical maps. Reading and interpretation of geological maps: general informations and principles. Examples. The geological sections: introduction, performing methods. Examples.

Reference texts

Modulo 1 BOSELLINI A., MUTTI E., RICCI LUCCHI F. Rocce e successioni sedimentarie . Scienze della Terra UTET Modulo 2 BETTELLI G. & PANINI F.: Dispense per il corso (a disposizione degli studenti). BUTLER B.C.M. & BELL J.D.: Lettura ed interpretazione delle Carte Geologiche (Ed. Italiana a cura di Lupia Palmieri E. & Parotto M.), Zanichelli, Bologna, 1991. FOUCAULT A. & RAOULT J.F.: Coupes et cartes géologiques, S.E.D.E.S. - Doin, Edit., Paris, 1975.

Teaching methods

Traditional lesson ex cathedra. Exercises in the classroom, and field and laboratory activities.

Verification of learning

Practical tests will be done during the course in classroom, field and laboratory. The final exam is oral with a thirtieths vote.

Expected results

After completing the course, the student should be able to: 1) Knowledge and understanding: - use correct stratigraphic-sedimentological terminology; - know methodologies for the study and description of sedimentary bodies; - Measure, describe and interpret a stratigraphic section; - identify texture and composition of sedimentary rocks: - know the characteristics of sedimentary depositional environments: continental, marine-marginal, and deep sea: - know the principles and applications of sequence stratigraphy; - know and understand the main concepts about the parameters of linear and planar elements, the geologic maps and other derived maps and about some simple topographic instruments. 2) Ability to apply knowledge and understanding - Apply the methods of facies analysis and sequence stratigraphy in outcrop (field data, laboratory analysis, organization and representation of data) - Identify and interpret physical and biogenic structures and understand their significance in the interpretation of depositional environments. - Use the results for paleogeographic reconstructions and writing papers; - Derive from reading and interpretation of a geologic map all information about geometric characteristics of geologic bodies and structural elements ; derive the geologic history of the area. 3) Making judgements - evaluate the effectiveness of data collection programs, the degree of reliability of planar and linear elements and the limitations and interpretative level of geologic maps and geologic cross-sections. 4) Communication skills -present in a logical, concise and rigorous form, and with different instruments, objectives, concepts, data and procedures of sedimentary geology. - Use appropriate tecniques to collect and process data and information, and achive results. 5) Learning skills To deeper independently the topics studied in the course.