Field and Laboratory Course in Quarternary Geology

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Methods used in physical geography and quaternary geology are constantly developing, and new technology is providing better and more advanced tools for studying geomorphic processes and sediments on the Earth's surface. The objectives of this course are to introduce different methods used for conducting research projects in physical geography and quaternary geology, and to enable students to meet the practical challenges associated with field- and/or laboratory-based research.

The course will introduce different methods for studying landforms and sedimentary deposits (quaternary geological mapping, drone photogrammetry, ground penetrating radar, LiDAR, echo sounder, CHIRP etc.) and demonstrate how geological samples are collected in the field (sediment cores, soil samples etc.). Samples collected in the field will subsequently be analysed in the sediment laboratory using key methods (magnetic-, geochemical-, and physical sediment parameters, etc.) to characterise sediments deposited by different geomorphological agents. The students will also get an introduction to processing and visualisation of geographical information and geophysical data collected during field work (ground penetrating radar data, drone photographs, bathymetric data, map data, etc.). Some key statistical methods and visualisation of quantitative data will also be covered. Software used in the course includes ArcGIS Pro, RadExplorer, R, PiX4D, and Excel.

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:

  • has an overview of the most important field methods used in quaternary geology and physical geography.
  • has knowledge about which techniques are suitable for analysing different sediment types in the laboratory based on given research questions.
  • knows how to retrieve and present geophysical data collected in the field.
  • knows how to present and interpret geographical data in the context of a research project.


The student:

  • can plan and carry out fieldwork based on given research questions.
  • can use different types of sampling equipment to retrieve lake sediment cores.
  • can process and interpret information obtained with various geophysical methods.
  • can interpret quaternary geological maps, seismic profiles and time series.
  • can present and discuss data collected using different field methods.
  • can interpret the genesis and depositional environment for different types of geological samples.

General competence

The student:

  • can assess which field techniques that are suitable to solve various quaternary geological research questions.
  • can plan and carry out field work in accordance with current health and safety guidelines.
  • can plan and carry out work in the laboratory in accordance with current health and safety guidelines.
  • can demonstrate the ability to work individually and in groups in the field and in the laboratory.

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Bergen, + field trip to nearby area
Required Previous Knowledge
The student must have advanced knowledge in Earth Sciences or Physical Geography, and should be in the end of a bachelor's program to attend this course. 
Recommended Previous Knowledge
A bachelor in Earth Sciences, Physical Geography or equivalent. 
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
10 ECTS overlap with GEO313 (for students with exam from 2012 or later); 5 ECTS with GEO313 (for students with exam up to 2012). 
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods
  • Seminars/lectures: weekly (except weeks with field- and laboratory work)
  • Field excursion: Three days
  • Lab work: Five days
  • Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

    Reflection note, group presentation, poster presentation, and participation in seminars, field exercises and laboratory work.

    Compulsory requirements can only be taken once and are valid from the semester they have been completed and accepted.

    Forms of Assessment

    Portfolio assessment of:

    • Multiple choice test/quiz - 30 %
    • Poster - 20 %
    • Term paper - 50 %

    All parts of the portfolio must be accepted in the same semester.

    Grading Scale
    Grading scale A-F
    Assessment Semester
    Assessment in teaching semester only.