Field Course in Geological Mapping

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The creation, analysis and interpretation of geological maps are important skills in geology. Geological maps present the distribution of lithologic units and geological structures and their geometric relationships in a given area. The main course objective is to learn geological mapping techniques in an area of broad lithological and structural diversity, to create a geological map and to interpret and discuss the results in a regional tectonic context. The field area is on Elba Island, Italy, within the northern Apennine Orogen, where a wide range of rock types are tectonically closely juxtaposed, including an ophiolite complex, a variety of sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks as well as ore mineralisations. The Apennines of Elba Island allow unique insights into the upper crustal architecture of a young orogen and therefore provide a different perspective of what we can investigate in the deeply eroded Caledonian Orogen of Norway.

The course comprises two parts. The actual field mapping is preceded by a series of seminars, in which the course participant study geodynamic aspects of the Mediterranean region, the Apennine Orogen and the geology of Elba Island. The seminars also include the macro- and microscopic study of the different rock types to be found during mapping. The mapping on Elba Island takes place for two weeks in late April to early May, during which course participants will produce a geologic map of a small area. The mapping results are documented and discussed in a comprehensive field report together with the geological map and geological cross-sections.

Learning Outcomes


  • know how to produce the geologic and tectonic history of a geologic map
  • have a comprehensive understanding of the geodynamic evolution of the Mediterranean region since the Palaeozoic
  • comprehend the tectonic evolution of the Apennines and Elba Island
  • know aspects of accretionary orogens, ophiolite obduction and the formation of the Tyrrhenian Sea


  • can accurately locate in the field, using topographic maps, pacing and compass
  • are familiar with standard map symbols and map elements including scale and legend
  • can take and document structural field data and field observations
  • can apply outcrop mapping techniques and create a geological map
  • can construct geological cross-sections and can develop a geological history thereof

General competance

  • know how to plan and conduct a geologic field campaign
  • have developed team working and self-evaluation skills and the ability to write a comprehensive common report

Place of Instruction

Bergen and field course on Elba, Italy
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
  • Seminar, 2 hours/week, 6 weeks
  • 14 days fieldwork on Elba Island
  • Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
    Mandatory participation in seminars and fieldwork. compulsive assignments are valid for 2 subsequent semesters.
    Forms of Assessment

    The forms of assessment are:

    Evaluation of field report

    Grading Scale
    Passed / failed.
    Assessment Semester
    Spring. Assessment is only provided in semesters with teaching.
    Reading List
    [The reading list will be available within June 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.
    Programme Committee
    The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
    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