Advanced Field Course: Urban Geology

Module code: GL4106

Most humans now live in cities, and the construction and evolution of the urban environment require enormous amounts of geological resources to create and maintain the infrastructure - and deep geological knowledge to ensure that environmental hazards are minimised.

In this module, you'll explore both the ancient geology that underlies cities and the human-made geology that now forms part of the urban fabric. Both of these form part of the phenomena that comprise the proposed Anthropocene Epoch, in which human activities increasingly dominate Earth's geological processes.

Among the aims of this module will help you to develop the skills necessary to manage the urban environment of the future.

Topics covered

  • Analysis of the geology, both natural and human-made, of urban areas, by integrating field data with archived geological and topographic data
  • Manipulation of geographic and geological GIS data (both surface and subsurface) to produce topographic and geological models
  • Extraction of information from appropriate databases, such as the British Geological Survey's extensive archives
  • Delineation of areas with specific hazards associated with particular geological structures and deposits, such as flooding and landslides, and consideration of emergent hazards, such as those associated with pollution and climate change
  • Recognition and assessment of the use of selected geological resources of urban areas, such as building stones


  • 5 hours of lectures
  • 4 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 32 hours of fieldwork
  • 109 hours of guided independent study


  • Field assessment (15%)
  • Report (85%)