Geology

Overview

Geology is the greatest unifying science of them all, surprisingly it’s not just about rocks. It brings together elements of the Sciences, Mathematics, Geography and Engineering.

Geology today is all about resource management. To be able to manage the Earth`s finite resources with environmental empathy geologists need to be aware of the fundamentals of natural building blocks, i.e. minerals and rock types, together with the processes that help create the ever changing face of the Earth. Just a few of the applications to the wider world are engineering geology, hydrogeology, sub surface mining, extraction of petrochemicals, exploration and discovery of both metals and construction materials, waste disposal and renewable sources of energy.

Teaching and Learning

The teaching of Geology is very much a hands on approach, theory is always coupled with practical activities. The lessons will regularly include group work, enquiry, specimens and contemporary resources provided from the exam board. The students are provided with progress logs, in order to let them track and monitor their learning and aid them in their revision later in the year. Fieldwork and practical components are compulsory to the learning of the subject, students will obtain a Practical Endorsement qualification at the end of their first year and a minimum of four days’ fieldwork is required. Fieldwork in Geology is extremely varied and can involve solving problems about rock structure, rock identification and linking both to the environments in which the rocks have formed. It can be about fossils and geologic time, weathering and erosion or visiting localities where a society has utilised the natural geological environment in an economic sense, such as mining or geothermal energy plants. And many a geological investigation, in the laboratory or in the field, needs to be tested for validity using mathematical principles.

Curriculum

Geology follows the WJEC Examination Board syllabus. Over the two years the students will study a comprehensive coverage of the knowledge and understanding required for the study of the Earth, its structures, evolution and dynamics. The core aspects of this specification introduce eight geological concepts:

  • Elements, minerals and rocks
  • Surface and internal processes of the rock cycle
  • Time and change
  • Earth structure and global tectonics
  • Rock forming processes
  • Rock deformation
  • Past life and past climates
  • Earth materials and natural resources.

Facilities

Geology has its own specialised laboratory which is fully equipped to facilitate experiments and practical work. The department has the most extensive collection of rocks, minerals, fossils and maps in the South East of the UK.

Trips, activities and clubs

  • Autumn day trip to Dryhill Country Park for geological mapping and deformation exercises.
  • Residential trip to Dorset in the Summer Term, visiting the famous geological sites of Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, Stair hole and Kimmeridge Bay.
  • Opportunity to visit the Natural History Museum and students are encouraged to join as student members.
  • In the past we have organised trips to Iceland, New York, and Sicily.
  • Weekly Geology enrichment workshops for all studying Geology.
  • Lectures organised by the Geological Association and the Geological Society.

Staff

  • Mr P Angel MA BSc NPQSL (Head of Geology and Deputy Head of Sixth Form)
  • Miss K Richard BSc