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INTRODUCTION TO THE GEOLOGICAL RECORD

Practical 1: Geological Maps


Outline
This practical is designed to introduce you to the interpretation of geological structures
and history from the information contained on geological maps. Training problems will be
presented in simples stylised maps that are easy to produce and to draw on.
The Practical is divided into two parts:
1.

Introduction to Geological maps: dipping strata, folds, faults, unconformities and


igneous intrusions. Topographic and structure contours. Dip calculations from
exposure data. Completion of outcrop from dip measurements and borehole data.

2.

Outcrop patterns. True and apparent dip and thickness. Unconformities. Crosssections.

PART 1: Introduction to Geological maps


Maps P1A and P1B and P1C are of three areas in East Lothian and may be suitable for the
extraction of coal by open-cast mining. This is largely an area of rolling green fields with
few exposures of bedrock.

A.

Determination of Dip from Structure Contours, Map P1A

Map P1A shows the outcrop of a 2 metre thick coal seam - the exposure is evident as a
shallow trench produced by destitute mining families foraging for coal during the 1926
strike. You are asked to do the following:

B.

Draw a set of structure contours on the top of the coal seam. For maximum
accuracy, start with the most widely spaced intersections between a topographic
contour and the coal seam.
Determine the amount and direction of dip.
Assuming that the economic depth limit for removal of over-burden in this area is
50 metres, draw a line representing this limit and shade the area from which coal
may be extracted. To do this you need to add 50 to the value of each coal
structure contour so that you can draw the outcrop of the plane that lies 50 metres
above the coal.

Construction of outcrop from a dip measurement, Map P1B

Map P1B has a single small exposure of the coal seam in the side of a stream and there is a
bedding plane on the top of the coal from which a good dip measurement has been
obtained. You need to do the following:

Construct a set of structure contours. To do this you need to calculate their


distance apart and draw them accurately using the dip symbol as a starting point.
Draw the outcrop of the coal seam on the map and draw the location of the line
that represents the 50-metre depth-extraction limit.

C.

A 3-point problem: construction of outcrop from bore-hole data, Map


P1C

Map P1C is of an area where there are no surface exposures. However, the coal mining
company has drilled some proving holes and encountered the 2 metre thick coal seam at a
depth of 50 metres I bore-hole A, a depth of 25 metres in each of bore-holes B and C. You
are asked to do the following:

Construct a set of structure contours for the coal, based on the bore-hole data.
[Draw a construction line from the bore-hole where coal occurs at the lowest
elevation to that where the coal occurs at the highest elevation and divide the line
into 25 metre intervals.]
Draw the outcrop of the coal seam on the map and draw the location of the line
that represents the 50-metre depth-extraction limit.

D. GLG Map #4: A simple angular unconformity

Colour code the contacts between rock formations.


Draw and label structure contours for each contact.
Draw a cross-section along the line X-X. Draw the section axes first, then the
topography and finally plot the formations. Please provide a key.
Determine the amount and direction of dip of each of the rock formations.
Write a few sentences briefly describing the geological history of the area in terms
of subsidence, sedimentation, uplift, tilting and erosion. Watch out for the
complex tilting history of lower formation!
Draw on the line where the coal seam is in contact with the sandstone at the
unconformity plane.

E. Completion of outcrop from partial exposure, Map P2


Map P2 shows a sequence of beds with isolated exposures. Draw structure contours on the
contacts between the beds and complete the outcrop boundaries.