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Origins - the Development of Geology in Northern England - CED00019M

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  • Department: Centre for Lifelong Learning
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Annette McGrath
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19

Module aims

Origins is a grounding module for students in analysing and interpreting regional geology at postgraduate level, and will offer contextualised academic skills. Beginning with a compulsory 5-day residential week, this module will integrate theory, concepts, research and physical practice through its hands-on approach to geological study. It will use Yorkshire and northern England as a lens through which to understand how landscapes and environments - and the scientific interpretation of them - evolve through time.

The module aims to:

  • Introduce the key tenets and sub-disciplines of geology, focussing particularly on the geological evolution of northern England;
  • Introduce students to postgraduate-level field and laboratory geological analysis, and the skills and techniques required to interpret geological features accurately;
  • Describe the main geological units and structures present in Yorkshire, including fossils, and their composition, distribution and formation;
  • Place these features and their geological histories in a broader context, by comparing them with those of different regions in northern England;
  • Explore the geological history of Yorkshire and northern England and its global significance in the development of Earth Sciences;
  • Introduce students to some of the key figures involved in the description and understanding of the geology of Yorkshire and northern England, and how their discoveries changed (and continue to change) the way we understand the Earth.

As much of the region is dominated by sedimentary rocks, acquisition of the skills to analyse and understand these will be a key aspect of the module. Subsequent modules will then develop these skills in the context of particular regions and periods of geological time.

Module learning outcomes

By the conclusion of the module the student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of key geological processes in the evolution of northern England;
  • Describe and identify the key rock types of Yorkshire and northern England;
  • Distinguish and interpret different sedimentary rock types and structures;
  • Recognize the value of fossils in stratigraphic and palaeoenvironmental analysis, and to be able to identify key fossil groups;
  • Identify appropriate techniques for analysing sedimentary rocks in a palaeoenvironmental context;
  • Demonstrate and illustrate knowledge of Yorkshire geology, important localities, and scientifically significant discoveries.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

The tutor will give regular individual feedback throughout the module on work submitted.

The assessment feedback is as per the university’s guidelines with regard to timings.

Indicative reading

  • Geological History of Britain and Ireland. Woodcock & Strachan (2012).
  • British Regional Geology: Northern England. Stone et al. (2010). 
  • British Regional Geology: The Pennines and adjacent areas. Aitkenhead et al. (2002). 
  • Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (2009), Nichols, G.
  • Structural geology (2007). Twiss and Moores.
  • Invertebrate palaeontology and evolution (1998). Clarkson, E. N. K. 4th Edition.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

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