Understanding geological maps

tutor: Mike Horne FGS

for the Centre for Life Long Learning

University of Hull

This course ran in 2001, 2005, 2008 and 2011.

  We can get an enormous amount of information from a geological map:
 -  where to find different types of rock and their fossils
 - a greater understanding of landscape
 - predictions of structures and rock types at depth
 - discover the geological history of an area
This course will show you how a geological map is made, what all the symbols mean, how to draw a cross section and how to unlock the information from a two dimensional plan to get a four dimensional understanding.

The key to understanding geological maps is being able to think in four dimensions

The course offers the opportunity to study the geological maps in the University's collection.

The "rock cycle",
The laws of 'superposition' and 'cross cutting relationships'
Introduction to stratigraphy and  structural geology.
How to make a geological map
Symbols used on geological maps
Drawing a topographic cross section
Use of dip and strike in creating a geological cross section
Unraveling the geological history of the area on a map
Prediction of geology at depth
Drawing a geological cross section
A half day field trip to see the effects of the geology on the landscape
(The tutor will try to include other related items of interest to the class.)


This course is for those interested in Earth Sciences, geology, stratigraphy, soils and landscape interpretation.
Students on previous courses have requested a course on this topic.
Previous experience would be an advantage - students are welcome to contact the tutor to discuss suitability

Students will be asked to interpret the geology shown on the maps provided, describe the geological history of the area and draw cross sections from cartoon and real geological maps. These will be used for the assessment.

Things that will be useful for the course -

Things that might be useful for the course -

Things that will be useful for the fieldwork -

Things that might be useful for the fieldwork -

recommended reading

Barnes J W & R J Lisle 2004. Basic Geological Mapping (4th edn). John Wiley & Sons, Chichester. isbn 0-470-84986-X. 184pp.

Bennison G M 1969. An introduction to geological structures and maps. (2nd edn) Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd., London.

Bennison G M 1990. An Introduction to Geological Structures and Maps. Routledge, Chapman and Hall Inc.

Edmonds E 1983. The Geological Map. [British Geological Survey] 36pp.

Gass I G et al. 1972.Field relations. Course S23, block. The Open University, Milton Keynes.

Hamblin W K & J D Howard 1980. Exercises in physical geology. Burgess Publishing Company, Minnesota. 222pp

Jason I (ed) 2004. Britain beneath our feet. British Geological Survey Occasional Publication number 4. Keyworth. 114pp. isbn 055272470-9

Lisle R J 2004. Geological structures and maps - a practical guide (3rd edn.). Elsevier, Oxford 106pp. isbn 0750657804. (UKL 20.99)

Lovell J P B 1977. The British Isles through geological time George Allen & Unwin, London.

Maltman A, 1996. Geological Maps an Introduction, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Penguin Dictionary of Geology.

Thomas J A G 1979. An introduction to geological maps. (2nd edn). George Allen & Unwin, London.67pp.

Winchester, Simon 2001. The map that changed the world. Penguin Books isbn0-140-28039-1 339pp (UKL 6.99)

Woodcock N 1994. Geology and environment in Britain and Ireland. UCL Press, London. isbn 1-85728-054-7.

Maps from the British Geological Survey

Holiday Geology Guides from the British Geological Survey

Fieldwork excusrion.

Travel from Hull via Cottingham and Skidby over the Yorkshire Wolds to the North Cave Wetlands. There we will see gravels over Lower Lias Clays. From there travel to South Cave Station Qauarry to see the Kelloways Rock, Kelloways Sand and Oxford Clay. Then to Sands Top Quarry at Newbald. The to Rifle Butts SSSI and the Kiplingcotes Valley.

The aim of the excursion is to try to relate the geology we see on the map to the landscape.

The journey from Hull to North Cave and Newbald

Generalised Geology around the Cave and Newbald area

contact Mike Horne

copyright Mike Horne - October 2016

Hull Geological Society Home Page                     Geology Courses Homepage