GEOL479-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020

Active Tectonics and Geomorphology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 February 2020
End Date: Sunday, 21 June 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 28 February 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 29 May 2020


Active deformation is explored in this course, introducing the criteria by which active deformation can be identified and located. The emphasis is on the interaction between tectonic and other geomorphic processes in shaping the landscape and the way in which the nature of the underlying deformation can be identified and quantified from an analysis of topography.

This course explores the interactions between the tectonic activity that build topography and the surface processes that modify and destroy it. We will explore why the Earth’s surface has the shape that it does and how the nature of sub-surface deformation can be identified and quantified from an analysis of surface deposits and topography. The seminar-style first term will draw on the fields of structural geology, field mapping, seismology, geomorphology, geodesy, geophysics, and geochronological dating techniques to understand the origin and evolution of landscapes in New Zealand and beyond. In the second half of the term, we will use numerical models and GIS to interactively explore case studies in active tectonics. Assessment will be based on field mapping exercises and in-class assignments.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be aware of the scope and state-of-the-art of tectonic geomorphology
  • Students will be competent geomorphologic mappers
  • Students will gain experience quantifying geological concepts using computational models
  • Students will gain experience using GIS in geomorphology
  • Students will gain experience in project management and report writing
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Subject to approval of the Head of Department.

Timetable 2020

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Computer Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 11:00 - 13:00 - (23/3, 20/4, 4/5-25/5)
Ernest Rutherford 211A GIS Comp Lab (17/2-16/3)
17 Feb - 29 Mar
20 Apr - 26 Apr
4 May - 31 May
Field Trip A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Saturday 09:00 - 17:00 North Canterbury 2 Mar - 8 Mar

Timetable Note

Computer laboratory exercises and discussion

2 one-day field trips (North and South Canterbury) in Terms 1 and 2, respectively.

Course Coordinator

Tim Stahl


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Assignment 1 25% Field Trip Assignment 1: North Canterbury Neotectonic Mapping
Assignment 2 25% Field Trip Assignment 2: South Canterbury Neotectonic Mapping
Computer Laboratory Exercises 50% Computer Laboratory Exercises

North Canterbury Neotectonic Mapping  -  25%  -  Term 1
South Canterbury Neotectonic Mapping  -  25%  -  Term 2
Computer Laboratory Exercises  -  50%  -  Once a week

Course links

Library portal


Prerequisites: Subject to approval of the Head of Department.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,089.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment on the department and colleges page.

All GEOL479 Occurrences

  • GEOL479-20S1 (C) Semester One 2020