Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
CT0592 (AF:337058 AR:177749)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Class 2
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This practical course is designed to give a basic understanding of how to interpret topographic and geological maps. The module aims to develop the students’ skills of understanding geological processes and their evolution through time from their cartographic representation and in the field. The geological processes dealt in Module 4 through practical exercises are theoretically covered by Module 3, which is dedicated to the Earth System, with special emphasis on tectonism, volcanism, and processes operating on the surface of the Earth and the resulting landforms and features.

The final aim of the whole course of “Earth Sciences - Principles and Laboratory”, comprehensive of the four modules, is to provide an overview of the Earth Sciences basic principles and, on a broader perspective, increase knowledge of the physical world. In this way, the graduate student in Environmental Sciences will acquire the competences needed to communicate with the Earth Science specialists during his/her future professional career.
Upon successful completion of the course, both in the classroom and in the field, students will be able to acquire knowledge on: i) the main cartographic systems and geographic projections; ii) how to read and interpret topographic and geological maps; iii) the identification of diverse lithologies in the field and their related sedimentary depositional systems; iv) the methodology of measurements of strata and fractures; v) the identification of main landforms, together with the processes of erosion, transport and deposition they record; vi) the identification of the different bedrock and Quaternary units and the basic principles of their representation in geological maps; vii) the sampling of geological materials.
The lab activities of Module 4 are closely tied to the lectures of Module 3 and it is then necessary to attend both modules in parallel. It is also strongly recommended to attend the Modules 1 (theoretical lectures) and 2 (laboratory exercises) of the “Earth Sciences: Principles and Laboratory” course in the same term.
The course is comprehensive of practical work in classroom and a one-day field trip in the Dolomites. The contents can be subdivided in the following sections.

Topographic maps:
• Reference systems, projections, geographic and UTM grid coordinates;
• Elevation contour lines, steepness of slopes, planimetric and topographic distances, topographic profiles;
• Landscape description (natural and human constructed features) from topographic maps.

Geological maps:
• Definition of lithostratigraphic and chronostratigraphic units;
• Layout, symbols and legends of geological maps;
• Intersection of geological surfaces and topography (vertical, horizontal and dipping geological boundaries);
• Identification of folds and faults in geological maps;
• Identification of quaternary landforms and deposits in geological maps;
• Description of geological sections.

Activity in preparation to the fieldwork and field trip in the Dolomites:
• Field equipment and risks associated to field work activities (Mrs. Flavia Visin);
• Determination of a cartographic point in the field;
• Identification of lithologies and geological units in the field;
• Identification of sedimentary and tectonic structures in the field;
• Geologic compass and measurements of geological surfaces;
• Identification and description of morphologies and quaternary deposits in the field;
• How to sample geological material and compile its own field book.
Referral texts:
Sauro U., Meneghel M., Bondesan A., Castiglioni B., Dalla carta topografica al paesaggio: Atlante ragionato. IGM LAC, Firenze, 2011. ISBN: 9788879144513 e 9788879144520

Venturini, C., Realizzare e leggere carte e sezioni geologiche: un approccio alla geologia di terreno e alla sua rappresentazione cartografica. Dario Flaccovio Editore, Palermo, 2012. ISBN: 978-8857901534

Abbà, T., Conoscere la geologia del Veneto. Editore: Linea Grafica-Duck Edizioni, 2020. ISBN: 978-8889562833

Optional textbooks:
Bennison, G.M, Olver P.A., Moseley K.A., An Introduction to Geological Structures and Maps. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London and New York, 2011. 8th Edition, 184 pages, DOI . eBook ISBN 9780203783795

Coe A.L. (Editor), Geological field techniques. Wiley Blackwell, 2010. ISBN: 9781444330618 e 9781444330625.
Attendance. Participation in the two field trips and in practical classes of Modules 2 and 4 (at least 70%) is mandatory for admission to the final exam. A sign-in sheet will be provided at the start of each laboratory session so that attendance will be taken every class period. In addition, it is also mandatory to deliver the topographic maps with measurements of the strata attitudes taken during the field trips.

Exam. Assessment strategy of Modules 3 and 4 will be carried out through written and oral examination. The written/practical examination consists in an evaluation of the geological and topographic map understanding and of the field activities. If the written exam will be positively evaluated, the student will be admitted to the final oral exam; questions will be drawn from the topics and concepts that were covered during Module 3.

Evaluation/Grading. Overall, examinations of Modules 1+2 and 3+4 will concur to the final mark of the entire course of “Earth Sciences: Principles and Laboratory”.
This course will be taught in the classroom in a lecture format along with laboratory exercises. The lecture and lab sessions will complement each other, but the lecture focus on general geological mapping topics, while the lab exercises will show the students how to apply that knowledge in practice. The laboratory session of Module 4 is closely tied to the lecture of Module 4, and in the lab the students will learn to make observations and directly experience many of the principles addressed in lecture.

This will be followed by a one-day field trip in the Dolomites; together with the field trip organized during Module 2 in the Euganei Hills, the field activity will give students “hands-on” experience with materials and concepts introduced during lectures.

The lectures and the supplementary materials for practical exercises and field excursion (e.g. topographic basemaps) will be available in pdf format on the University Moodle platform. In addition, the Mineralogy/Geology Laboratory of the Department has a rich collection of national geological and topographic maps that can be used in preparation to the examination.

written and oral

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Natural capital and environmental quality" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 20/04/2020