Physical Geology

University of the South Pacific

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Physical Geology

  • Host University

    University of the South Pacific

  • Location

    Suva, Fiji

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites


  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credits

    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    This course takes off from where you left geology in ES106. A major component of the course is the detailed study of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, including their classification, petrogenesis, distribution, mineralogical composition and field relations. Tectonics, geological structures and orogenesis, together with coverage of basic structural field geology (faults, folds, and unconformities) are studied in the second half of the course. A complementary field and laboratory course places emphasis on field, hand specimen and microscopic studies of minerals, rocks and structures. Emphasis is placed wherever possible on examples and rock types from the Pacific Islands and similar geological environments. The course requires attendance at a five-day field school held in Orientation week prior to the commencement of lectures.
    Week 1-3: Mineralogy and Silicate melts
    * Mineral Polymorphism: types, stabilities, temperature and pressure effects, field diagrams, specific minerals (carbon, calcite/aragonite, Al2SiO5, SiO2).
    * Crystal structure determination ? X-ray diffraction technique.
    * Phase relations of silicate melts: binary systems (with completed solid solution, solid solution + intermediate, solid solution but not at lower temperature, with eutectic point)
    Week 4-6: Igneous Petrology
    Igneous rocks classification systems and relation to tectonic settings; basalts, andesites, ultramafics, mantle rocks, granites. Distribution of crystalline rocks and plate tectonic setting of the South Pacific. Mineralogies and petrography.
    Week 7-8: Sedimentary Petrology
    * Origin of sedimentary rocks/sedimentary environments; distribution; common minerals; optical properties; diagenesis; particle morphology; sedimentary structures.
    * Sandstones, conglomerates, breccias, mudstones: classification systems cementation, particle size, deposition environment, structures.
    * Carbonate sedimentology: limestones and dolomites: mineralogy, textures, classifications, carbonate platforms, silicification, dolomitisation.
    * Sedimentary phosphate deposits and sedimentary ironstones (more emphasise will be given that is relevant to the South Pacific/Fiji sedimentation).
    Week 9-10: Metamorphic Petrology
    Metamorphism, regional and tectonic processes (including thermal alterations ? limestones and marbles), factors influencing metamorphism, deformation types, ma

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.