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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/78]  GEOLOGY [78/00 - Ord. 2020]  PERCORSO COMUNE 9 80


Provide basic knowledge of geology. Concepts of plate tectonics and orogenic systems, knowledge of physiographic elements of higher order at the global scale. Concepts of facies of main depositional environments and stratigraphic principles. Notions of deformation, the geometrical elements of fragile and ductile structures. Describe and classify macroscopically igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.


No prerequisites necessary as the course is introductory and provides all relevant information for learning.


Endogenous processes and their surface manifestations
- Earthquakes and wave propagation of seismic waves. Internal structure of the Earth. Compositional and rheological layering.
- Crust, mantle and core. Geothermal and pressure gradients. The concept of lithosphere and asthenosphere.
- From Wegener's continental drift to plate tectonics.
- Terrestrial heat. Vertical lithospheric movements and the concept of isostatic equilibrium.
- Horizontal lithospheric movements and expansion of the ocean bottoms.
- Elementary tectonic plate structures.
- Continental rift and passive margins.
- Mid-oceanic ridges.
- Subduction and active margins.
- Orogenetic chains (Collision, Subduction, ...).
- Magmatic rocks.
- Principal minerals of magmatic rocks.
- Effusive rocks and their geodynamic settings.
- Intrusive rocks and their geodynamic settings.

Exogenous processes and production of sedimentary deposits
- The rock cycle.
- Physical degradation and chemical weathering of rocks.
- Erosion, transport and deposit (selective and massive processes).
- Diagenesis and lithification.
- Composition and texture of sedimentary rocks.
- Classification of sedimentary rocks.
- Main sedimentary rocks (siliciclastic, carbonate, evaporites, siliceous, ...).
- Principal sedimentary structures and the concept of sedimentary facies.
- Character of sedimentation in the main depositional environments (continental, paralic and marine).
- Depositional architecture (concept of available space, eustatism, subsidence, …)
- Transgression, regression and sedimentary cycle. Depositional sequences
- Principles of stratigraphy (superposition principle, the law of Walther, correlations, formational units, stratigraphic boundaries, ...).
- The concept of geological time, chronostratigraphic scale.

Deformation and metamorphism
- Fragile and ductile deformation.
- Geometric elements of faults and folds.
- Metamorphism and metamorphic rocks.

Geological cartography
- General information on geological maps.
- Geometrical relationships between geological surfaces and topographic surfaces.
- Reading of geological maps in the main tectonic styles (monoclinal, discordance and folds).

- Classification criteria for identification macroscopic and microscopic of the rocks. Compositional and textural classification, use of binary and triangular diagrams.
- Macroscopic identification of igneous (intrusive and extrusive), sedimentary and metamorphic rocks

Teaching Methods

Lectures and practicals.
In the case of pandemic emergency COVID-19, lectures could be given also via web streaming. For the same reason, indoor and outdoor practicals could be set on online/streaming platforms.

Verification of learning

Continuous assessments and oral final examination with vote. The student will demonstrate the basic knowledge of Geology.
The rating of the examination is awarded by a vote expressed in thirtieths.
To pass the exam, therefore to obtain a mark not lower than 18/30, the student must demonstrate to have acquired a sufficient knowledge of the geology topics and knowledge of the chronostratigraphic scale, should be able to recognize the main rocks and to use the geologist's compass.
To achieve a score of 30/30 cum laude, the student must show that it has acquired an excellent knowledge and deep understanding of all topics covered during the course.


- Marshak S.: La terra, ritratto di un pianeta. Ed Zanichelli
- Press F., Siever R., Grotzinger J., Jordan T. Capire la Terra. Zanichelli, Bologna.
- Pomerol C., LaGabrielle Y., Renard M. - Elements de geologie. Masson editrice
- Bosellini A., Mutti E., Ricci Lucchi F. Rocce e successioni sedimentarie. UTET, Torino.

More Information

Educational material available to students
- CD containing copies of the figures used in the course of lectures and activities
- Collection of rocks, thin sections and geological maps.

The University of Cagliari provides support for students with specific learning disability (SLD). More information can be found at:
Working students (part time students) are invited to agree with the teacher personalized activities to make up for absences from lessons caused by work activities.

Questionnaire and social

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