Structural geology is one of the central disciplines in the Earth Sciences and underpins almost all aspects of the exploration and development of hydrocarbon and mineral resources. Through the past decade there have been huge advances in using subsurface data to build structural models and to predict the impact of faults and other structures on the migration of fluids. With this has come an increasing move towards exploring and producing hydrocarbons from structurally complex traps. This course has been set up – with its foundations set in the geophysical data used by the modern industries - to meet the demands of industry for ever more structurally trained graduates. This training has a strong IT component using industry-standard modelling and visualisation software. As modern applied structural geology involves understanding and using subsurface data-sets there is a very strong strand of geophysics in the course. Working alongside students who are specialising in geophysical methods, we provide in-depth training in the acquisition, processing and interpretation of seismic reflection data and well-logs. The course is delivered in collaboration with RDR, providing direct experience of industrial data-sets such as 3D seismic, core and production data. Project work can require using industry data-sets and involve industrial partners. The course runs for one year, starting at the end of each September and consists broadly of two-thirds taught material and one third project work.
12 months full-time; up to 4 years part time
The School of Earth and Environment provides a stimulating learning experience for students of earth, environmental science and environmental management. Our research was rated as grade 5 in the HEFCE Research Assessment Exercise. We have over 80 academic staff in the school covering a wide variety of research which is undertaken by four institutes within the School.
* Sustainability Research Institute is dedicated to the development and application of interdisciplinary environmental analysis in realisation of the principles of sustainable development:
* Institute of Atmospheric Science is dedicated to understanding the physical and chemical processes that govern the behaviour of Earth's atmosphere. Atmospheric processes are investigated using numerical models and field and laboratory experiments from the Earth's surface to the stratosphere.
* Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics is dedicated to understanding the structure and evolution of the Earth and neighbouring planets. Detection and measurement of resources in the crustal layer and understanding of geological hazard; measurement of gravity, magnetism, seismic waves and electrical properties, theoretical and computer modelling, and surface structural mapping.
* Institute for Geological Sciences researches the physical, biological and geochemical processes to understand controls on the modern environment (both land and sea) and how man is affecting that system.
What you study
The course commences at the end of September each year and is of twelve months duration. All modules are compulsory. Some are shared with students on the Geophysics MSc - taking you through the basics of seismic reflection and well log acquisition and interpretation. There are also basic modules in hydrocarbon geology and structural geology. The modules consist of lectures, laboratory practicals, and fieldwork.
After these comes the key content of advanced structural geology as applied to understanding the architecture and deformation of rocks within hydrocarbon reservoirs. This involves mini-projects using industry-standard software for structural analysis, seismic interpretation and 3D visualisation together with the use of outcrop analogues.
These methods continue into the dissertation project that follows the taught programme, although further support is provided through this period. In some circumstance the project work can involve secondment to an industrial partner. Seminars, given by students and the practical write-ups assess and improve presentation skills and teamwork.
A number of invited seminars and supported mini-projects will be given by visitors from industry.
How you study
Project work generally involves using industry data-sets and can be carried outwithin the offices of a sponsor company. The structural component of the course is delivered by structural geologists who work closely with industry using industry-standard software