You are on page 1of 24


Q: What is the significance of Geology in
A: Able to describe and apply the knowledge
in Geology for construction.
Lecturer: Abdull Halim
Lecture 1
Principle of Plate Tectonics
Objectives and Outcomes:
At the end of this lecture, students will be
able to explain the principle of plate tectonics
in relation to natural phenomena such as
volcanism, earthquake, tsunami, and
mountain building.
The Principle of Plate
Video Presentation on:
• Continental Drift
• Plate Boundaries
• Testing the Plate Boundaries
• Geomagnetic Reversal
• Earthquake and Tsunami

Credit Value and Assessment
Lecture 2.0
Tutorial 0.5
Practical 0.5
Assignment 15%
Lab reports 15%
Test 20%
Final 50%

Why Study Geology?
1. To understand the Structure composition of
the Earth and materials in it
2. To understand the History of the Earth
3. To use the knowledge in Geology to search
for useful materials and facilitate major Civil
Engineering projects.

Several disciplines in Geology

•Structural geology

Petroleum geosciences

Mean radius about 6370km
Clair out theory (1743) implies that the constituent
materials are distributed as a series of concentric
shells that increase intensity with depth.
Astronomical calculation indicate the density of the
earth = 5.5
What is the density of rocks at the surface
of the Earth?
g is not constant over the face of the Earth.
g is lower over continents than over the ocean.
g is related to the density distribution of rock masses.
Temperature increase with depth 3°C to 8°C per 100m.
Heat from deep sources.
Heat flux, mean 60mW. M
(between 30mW.m
Rocks melts at variable depths(100km or more beneath
continents, 10-20km beneath oceanic crust.

Gravimetry & Heat-flow
Model of Earth's Interior

In broad outline, accepted models of the Earth's
interior propose four main shells arranged
concentrically; i.e.. the inner core, the outer core,
the mantle and the crust.
- At its centre, the core has a high density (10-14
) with temperatures situated between 4,000
and 5,500 K and pressures of 1,370-3,600 kbar. It is
subdivided into a rigid inner core with high seismic
velocities and an outer core showing the behaviour of
a liquid. Its overall radius is of the order of 3,400 km.
The core appears to be mainly composed of Fe and
Ni - similar to chondritic meteorites.
- The mantle surrounds the core and extends
upwards as far as the Moho. At depths of about
100-250 km in the upper mantle, there is a zone
characterized by relatively low seismic velocities
and a well-defined drop in the rate of increase of
velocity with depth. It is supposed to correspond to
partially melted rock, although the material does
not display all the properties of a fluid. It is less
rigid than the overlying upper mantle and is known
as the asthenosphere.
- The crust is situated between the Moho and the
Earth's surface, and varies in thickness from 10
to more than 60 km. Seismic data and direct
observations from some deep boreholes suggest
that it is composed of two layers: a so-called
granitic crust of low density (2.6
) overlying
a basaltic layer of higher density (2.7-2.9
These layers are sometimes clearly differentiated
as distinct seismic facies.
The continents generally show both granitic and
basaltic layers, but the ocean basins are underlain
only by basaltic-type material; the boundary between
continents and oceans is marked by a transition
zone with crust of intermediate nature. The term
lithosphere is often used to group together the rigid
parts of the upper mantle above the asthenosphere
as well as the crust. Finally, the crust contains
discontinuous patches with low seismic velocity that
correspond to sedimentary basins.
Average elemental composition of the Earth’s crust
Sketch of SiO
The petrological or polarizing microscope
The main Lithospheric plate
- Continental areas above sea-level account for less than 30% of the
total surface of the globe. They are characterized by a complex
topography which results from the erosion of relief created by the long
geological history of the crust. The land-areas include highly eroded
ancient cratons, mountain chains of various ages - the oldest being worn
down by erosion and the youngest showing accentuated relief- and
basins filled with sediment which form low-lying plains.
- The continental shelf is a prolongation of the continents beneath sea-
level; the coastline is a transitory boundary on the scale of geological time.
The shelf is a gently sloping platform (gradient of 1-1.7 m per km, i.e. 0.1°)
which extends to a water depth of 150 m on average (varying between-50
m and-500 m). It occupies about 7.6% of the total surface covered by seas
and has a bottom topography very similar to the emergent coastal plains.
The distribution of levels on the Earth’s surface
The continental slope is the most striking morphological feature of the solid
Earth's surface; it borders the shelf over a distance of 300,000 km and has a
width of 20-100 km. In places, the depth range can attain 4,000 m. The
downslope gradient is fairly strong (an average of 70 m per km, i.e.. 4.5°),
but can reach 40° or 50°. It is broken up by transverse valleys (canyons)
which are particularly well developed offshore from the mouths of large
The continental rise is a gently sloping surface, sometimes up to 600 km wide,
which links the foot of the slope with the ocean floor. It is especially well
developed near the mouths of submarine canyons (i.e.. Ganges, Indus, Congo,
Amazon, Saint-Lawrence, etc..). The rise begins at depths of between 4,000
and 5,000 m.

- The ocean basins occupy the area beyond the foot of the
continental rise. The ocean floor has a complex topography, viz..:
Abyssal plains lie at depths of 5,000-5,500 m and show some well-
pronounced volcanic features which are sometimes isolated (e.g..
Clipperton, Madeira) or arranged in lineaments (Walvis Ridge,
Hawaiian Chain, etc..). Bordering the abyssal plains are more or less
extensive plateaux lying either near the edge of continents (Porcupine
Bank, Blake Plateau, Falkland Plateau) or in more isolated locations
(Kerguelen and Mascarene Plateaux). In these areas, the ocean floor
may show seamounts that rise above sea-level, but the plateaux
themselves are generally at a water-depth of a few hundred metres.
This represents a relief of several thousand metres with respect to the
deep ocean floor.
Midocean ridge is the most extensive mountain chain on Earth, being
60,000 km long, 2,000 km wide and showing a relief of more than 2,000
m. Along this axis, it is faulted by a rift - a trough 2,000 m deep and 10-
20 km wide -as well as transverse fractures which offset the ridge
laterally by distances of up to several hundred kilometres (transform
Ocean trenches are narrow, elongate depressions of great depth
(maximum of - 11,000 m). The most notable of these are found around
the Pacific Ocean, to the N.E. of the Indian Ocean and East of the
Antilles Arc. They all correspond to zones of high seismicity. When a
trench borders a continent (South America), the continental rise is
absent, the shelf is very narrow and the slope falls off sharply to great