GEOL479-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021

Active Tectonics and Geomorphology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 22 February 2021
End Date: Sunday, 27 June 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 7 March 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 14 May 2021


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 field of tectonic geomorphology through computer-based laboratory exercises and field mapping. We will investigate how the signatures of active faulting can be identified and quantified from an analysis of surface deposits and topography. Topics will draw on the fields of structural geology, field geology, seismology, geomorphology, geodesy, geophysics, and geochronological dating techniques to understand the origin and evolution of landscapes in New Zealand and global case studies. Assessment will be based on field mapping exercises and in-class assignments.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be aware of the state-of-the-art of tectonic geomorphology
  • Students will be competent neotectonic mappers
  • Students will gain experience quantifying geological concepts using computational models
  • 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 2021

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Computer Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 12:00 - 14:00 Ernest Rutherford 211A GIS Comp Lab
22 Feb - 4 Apr
26 Apr - 6 Jun
Computer Lab B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 13:00 - 15:00 Ernest Rutherford 211A GIS Comp Lab
24 May - 30 May
Field Trip A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Saturday 09:00 - 17:00 North Canterbury 26 Apr - 2 May

Timetable Note

1 two-hour computer laboratory per week
1 one-day field trip (South Canterbury) in Term 2

Course Coordinator

Tim Stahl


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Canterbury Neotectonic Mapping (Due dates to be advised - Term 2) 50%
Computer laboratories (One per week) 50%

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Burbank, Douglas West. , Anderson, Robert S; Tectonic geomorphology; 2nd ed; J. Wiley & Sons, 2012.

McCalpin, James; Paleoseismology; 2nd ed; Academic Press, 2009.

Course links

Library portal

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,101.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, 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

  • GEOL479-21S1 (C) Semester One 2021