Fall 2012

Meeting Time:         
MW 4:30-7:15 pm

Meeting Place:        Room Science C-340

Text:                       Earth Structure: An Introduction to Structural Geology and Tectonics, by van der Pluijm and Marshak, 2nd Edition 2010, hereafter “PM”

Instructor:               Prof. Charles L. Smart                                    
                                Department of Geology and Meteorology
                                E-mail address:


Office Hours:           After class, or by appointment, Room C-341


Class Equipment:      Each student needs a scientific calculator. The best calculator, by far, is the TI-30XA which costs about $12.

                                    All students also need a ruler, a protractor, a draftsman’s compass, colored pencils, thumbtacks, and 8.5x11 tracing paper


Field Equipment:      Rite in the Rain Geological Field Book 540F, backpack, boots or shoes w/ ankle support, water, bug spray, sun screen, + Class Equipment above.

                                    A Map Compass with clear rectangular base and rotating dial. Look in sporting goods stores and Walmart in the camping section.

                                    A box beam level (Home Depot about $4.50) and a clinometer (Home Depot $10). 


General Comments     In this course we will learn to determine the architecture of rocks observed in the field, and to explain them using a plate tectonic framework.  


There will be two Tests, worth 25% each. Quizzes on your homework and labs will be worth a total of 15% of your grade. Weekly field notes from your self-guided field work will be worth 10%.  The First Field Trip report will be worth 5%. A report on the Final Field Trip will make up the remaining 20% of your grade. Attendance at both Saturday field trips is required; there are no makeup field trips.


Test Locations:  All tests in the normal lecture room.


Attendance    Attendance is required.  Some portion of each homework and/or lab will be graded. Some of the material discussed in class will not be in the text.  Only by coming to class will you be able to get an accurate impression of what will be stressed on the tests and field problems.

Disabilities     If you have a disability and need any sort of special accommodations, please see me prior to the first weekly field work.


Topic groups                        Lecture                                                           Demos/Labs/Homework                             Lecture Reading


Part 1                          Interpreting what you see

1                                  Field work                                                                   Review of Rock recognition                           PM Chapter 1

                                                                                                                        D: Intro to field equipment                                                    

2                                  Primary Structures                                                      Primary Structure recognition                         PM Chapter 2

                                                                                                                        Review of Trig and Geometry


Part 2a                        Strain measurements in the laboratory


3                                              Stress                                                               Derivation of the Stress Equations                 handouts

                                                                                                                        Stress sign conventions

                                                                                                                        Determination of angle theta


                                                Stress                                                               Derivation Mohr Circle for Stress

                                                                                                                        Determination of center, radius,                     handouts

                                                                                                                        and 2theta; plotting


4                                  Rheology & Strain                                                      Compression, tension, bending                       PM Chapter 5

                                                                                                                        D:Folding sponges, breaking stuff

                                                                                                                        D: Chewing gum


Part 2b                       Brittle Deformation


5                                              Brittle failure                                                   Mohr Circle and Failure Models                     PM Chapter 6


6                                              Frictional Sliding,                                           D: Glass and ice;        

                                                Stress concentration                                        D: paper defects                                      

                                                                                                                        Apparent Dip: Geometric, trig, and Nomograph methods


7                                              Joints                                                               D:Folding a paperback book                           PM Chapter 7

                                                                                                                        Plumose Structures                                        



8                                              Faults                                                              Movie: Divergent margin coffee                     PM Chapter 8             

                                                                                                                        D:Cardboard Fault Models    

                                                                                                                                                                                          PM 179-182 Left


                                                                                                                        D:Stick-slip Ice and sandpaper         

                                                                                                                        Krall Fault Problems                                       handouts


9                                              Faults                                                              Stereo projections of Faults   





Part 3              Ductile Deformation



10                                            Folds and Folding                                           Convergent foam sheets                                 PM Chapter 10


                                                                                                                        Folding gum sticks


                                                                                                                        Krall Fold Problems                                        handouts


                                                Flexure Folding                                               Stacks of cards                                                Krall Fig. 8.15



11                                            Fabrics: Foliations and Lineations                  Stereo Projections: Folds and Lines               PM Chapter 11

                                                                                                                        Metamorphic Foliations

                                                                                                                        Strain and Failure Lineations


12                                            Competence Contrasts                                    Boudins

                                                                                                                        Warm and cold candy bars

                                                                                                                        Brunton Practice


13                                            Ductile Shear Zones                                        Mylonites, Grain-tails, Fish                             PM Chapter 12




FIELD TRIP 1 (Bring money for lunch)


Part 4              Tectonics and Regional Deformation


14                                            Metamorphism                                                USGS Northern NJ Geology                          PM Chapter 13

                                                                                                                        Area seen around Sparta, NJ


15                                            Igneous Structures                                          Proterozoic Granites                                       Field Trip 1 notes

                                                                                                                        Amphibolites, Migmatites                               PM Chapter 14



16                                            Divergent Margins                                          USGS Frenchtown, NJ Quad                         PM Chapter 15

                                                MORs , Rifts, Ophiolites                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                fault recognition, rift sediments, border breccias


17                                            Convergent Margins                                       Typical components in collisions                    PM Chapter 16

                                                                                                                        Nappes, Klippe, Molasse

                                                                                                                        Grenville Orogeny

                                                                                                                        Taconic Orogeny

                                                                                                                        USGS Eastern Pennsylvania, USGS New Jersey



17                                            Transform Boundaries                                    The subduction of the Pacific/Farallon MOR

                                                                                                                        Buoyant subduction, the Basin and Range

                                                                                                                        Work on field trip reports.                                         


18 Field Trip 2 final report and remaining photocopies of field notebook due.


19 Test 2


Field Skills (some assumed learned in your Intro to Geology labs.)

Rock recognition

Deducing chronology

Compass skills

Topo sheet skills

Reading Geologic Maps

Three point problems

Drawing cross sections

Vertical Exaggeration

Using the Brunton (demonstrated)

Using a GPS

Using Google Earth     


Field Trip Schedule  2012


Saturday, October 27th                      Field Trip to Sparta and                                  Grenville Orogeny, Taconic Orogeny

                                                            Delaware Water Gap                                      Mapping problems



Saturday, November 10th                   Field Final in Pennsylvania                             Team Mapping Final, Taconic Orogeny

                                                                                                                        Field Notes, Geologic Map, Cross Section, Legend, Photos, Report

Snow date

Saturday, November 17th