Basin Evolution and Palaeoenvironments Field Course - Wales

Module code: GL3114

Journey through 150 million years of early Palaeozoic Earth history expressed through the rock succession of Wales, the birthplace of the Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian systems. Examine major events in the Earth System's evolution, including the Cambrian radiation of animals, the early Palaeozoic icehouse, and the widespread development of terrestrial plants and animals from the late Silurian onwards. 

Study patterns of fossil and rock distribution that trace the earliest complex marine and terrestrial biospheres, follow the tracks of the first Silurian rivers to flow in meandering patterns on land, and witness the birth, evolution and death of a marine basin from passive margin to volcanically-active back-arc basin, before its inversion and demise in the Silurian.

Topics covered

  • Basin evolution
  • Geological signatures of passive margins, back arc basins and basin inversion 
  • Stratigraphical methods 
  • Field analysis of deep-water clastic sedimentary deposits
  • Field analysis of shallow marine clastic and carbonate facies
  • Palaeoecological and palaeoceanographic signatures of ancient marine faunas
  • Methods of palaeogeographical reconstruction
  • The Cambrian radiation of animals
  • The Early Palaeozoic icehouse and its geological expression
  • Terrestrialisation of plants and animals during the Silurian and Devonian

Learning

  • 5 hours of lectures
  • 75 hours of fieldwork
  • 70 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Notebook documenting field exercises (90%)
  • Oral presentation (10%)