Introduction to Structural Geology and Tectonics

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Structural Geology and Tectonics examines the deformation of Earth¿s crust and lithosphere. The course aims to introduce undergraduate students to its basic principles, analysis methods and field characteristics. The overall goal is to provide a good understanding of how Earth¿s rocks deform at different levels of the lithosphere. Students develop a basic appreciation of rock deformation at different temperatures and pressures and at various scales and understand the difference between brittle and ductile deformation regimes. Students study diverse geometries and types of structures in the field and learn to relate them to the deformation regime, with emphasis on the regional geology of Bergen.

The course includes a basic explanation and quantification of stress and strain, the geometric description and classification of brittle and ductile structures including faults and folds in extensional, strike-slip and contractional tectonic regimes, aspects relating to the rheology of Earth¿s lithosphere at various temperature and pressure conditions, mountain building processes as well as strain concentration in shear zones. During field excursions in the vicinity of Bergen, students gain hands-on experience on a broad range of geological structures. In a series of practicals, students learn how to interpret geological maps, construct geological cross-sections and how to plot and use structural data to solve basic geological problems.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

The student

  • demonstrates a basic understanding of stress, strain and rheology of Earth's lithosphere
  • comprehend how to describe and classify brittle and ductile structures, including faults and folds
  • knows how mountain ranges and rift basins form
  • knows how to read simple geological maps and geological cross-sections
  • comprehends basic concepts in structural geology and tectonics with respect to the geology of the Bergen region

The student can

  • define stress and strain and can relate these to the geometry of folded and faulted regions
  • recognize various structures in different deformation regimes
  • measure, plot and interpret simple structural field data and can relate these to geological maps and profiles
  • discuss aspects of structural geology and tectonics with respect to the local geology of Bergen

General competence
The student can

  • undertake a basic structural field investigation
  • understand and evaluate simple structural data from reports, maps and publications
  • participate in basic discussion in structural geology and tectonics
  • know how to document structural data in a written report
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
10 ECTS overlap with GEOL104
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a program of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods
  • Lectures, 2 hours/week
  • Supervised exercises, 2 hours/week
  • 3 days field work
  • Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
    Mandatory participation in practicals and field days. Compulsory assignments are valid for 2 subsequent semesters.
    Forms of Assessment

    The forms of assessment are:


    • Practicals, 40% of total grade
    • Written exam (4 hours), 60% of total grade
    Grading Scale
    The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.
    Reading List
    The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.
    Course Evaluation
    The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.
    Examination Support Material
    Non-programmable calculator, according to the faculty regulations, millimeter paper, steronet and colour pencils.
    Course Coordinator
    The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact
    Course Administrator
    The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program.