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UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION AND EXTERNAL STUDIES


&

SCHOOL OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE


DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY

SGL 308:
INTRODUCTION TO GEOLOGICAL MAPPING

WRITTEN BY

C.M. Nyamai, W.M. Ngecu and G. Kianji


DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY
UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI

Reviewed by:
Prof. W.M. Ngecu & Dr. D. Olago
Department of Geology

Edited by:
Dr. Bowa,
Faculty of External Studies (FES)

PUBLISHED BY NAIROBI UNIVERSITY PRESS


P.O. BOX 30197-00100 GPO,
NAIROBI,
KENYA.
2010
PRINTED BY COLLEGE OF EDUCATION AND EXTERNAL
STUDIES,
UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI,
P.O. BOX 30197,
NAIROBI,
KENYA.
2010
University of Nairobi, 2010.

ii

INTRODUCTION TO THE UNIT


Introduction to Geological Mapping is a third year earth science study unit offered by the
Department of Geology, University of Nairobi. The main aim of this unit is to introduce you
to the basic procedures of carrying out a field geological mapping exercise and how to
present the obtained field information data in a formal geologic report. As a student
undertaking this course, you are expected to have covered some basic mineralogy and
structural geology courses (e.g., SGL 201, SGL 202 and SGL 203). This knowledge in
general geology will assist you to identify common rocks, minerals and geologic structures
that you will encounter in the field.
The first lecture introduces you to the basic principles of geological mapping. Important
topics in this lecture include the uses of geological maps, the necessary field equipment,
planning procedures and production of geological maps. The second lecture deals with
sustained geological mapping procedures while in the field. It reviews the preliminary
preparations that one should undertake before starting a field mapping exercise. It explains
how geologic notes and descriptions are taken and entered in the notebooks, and illustrates
how specimens are collected and systematically labelled while in the field. Lecture 3
introduces you to the art of locating field data, geologic features and their subsequent plotting
in a base map. Lecture 4 describes and illustrates to you the practical usage of the compass,
clinometer and a hand level and how to use them in determining various attitude data (e.g.,
strike and dip) of rocks.

After accumulating sufficient data from the fieldwork session, Lecture 5 will introduce you
to the necessary follow-up laboratory investigations of the samples you collected in the field.
Among the topics you will cover in this lecture will include the study of rock thin sections
using the petrographic microscope; routine mineral identification procedures; and some
principle techniques of chemical and X-ray methods of rock and mineral analyses. The
lecture concludes by introducing you on the method used in the plotting of some basic
statistical projections such as the rose diagrams and the preparation of rock thin-sections.
Lecture 6 and lecture 7 is a combined and integrated study on aerial photographs. Lecture 6
starts by introducing you on the use of aerial photographs, their nature, the concept of

iii

stereoscopy, the architecture of stereoscopes and how they are used to interpret geological
features. Lecture 7 goes a notch higher to introduce you on how various geological structures
e.g. beddings, faults, folds, etc can be deduced and interpreted from aerial photographs.
Using tone and relief features, this lecture provides an in-depth analysis on how to
differentiate lithological units of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary origin in aerial
photographs. Lecture 8, which compliments the principles of analysis of lectures 6 and 7,
introduces you to the remote sensing methods of data analysis. Broadly it introduces you to
the method of operation, its importance and application in the study of regional geological
features. Some case studies to illustrate the interpretation of satellite images are presented in
this lecture. After analyses of your samples and subsequent interpretation of your data, the
last lecture (LECTURE 9) provides you with the relevant information and the general format
to be followed in the writing and production of completed reports, illustrations, maps and
sections.
In order to assist you to identify various forms and structures, a number of illustrations have
been included in the text. However, from the very nature of geology, they can never be final
or complete. They are presented in this unit with the hope that they may be of some value at
least in showing what features to observe in the field. You are encouraged to make use of
other reference materials to complement the present unit content as indicated in the reference
sections of each lecture topic.
In this unit you will find various types of activities that you are expected to work through
before you proceed to the next section. You will also find questions integrated within the
subject topics that you can reflect upon. In this unit you will be assessed by carrying out a
guided field mapping exercise and writing an independent geological report of the studied
area (which constitutes 70% of the overall grade marks), and carrying out the assignments
and practical exercises given to you during your residential sessions (which will constitute
30% of the overall grade). As your tutor, I will be available to guide you through the unit
course and explain to you any grey areas that you may encounter.

iv

UNIT OBJECTIVES

At the end of this unit you should be able to:

1. Describe the necessary procedures to be carried out in the planning stage of a


successful geologic field mapping program
2. Carry out an independent geological mapping in a given survey area.
3. Construct and produce a geological map from a given surveyed area
4. Use geological field equipment e.g. a compass, clinometers, a hand-level, or a GPS
in measuring the attitudes of rocks in the field.
5. Describe the concept of stereoscopy and the use of stereoscopes in the study of aerial
photographs.
6. Use aerial photographs to interpret various geological structures.
7. Use satellite imageries, their interpretation and application.
8. Explain the importance of geological maps and geologic mapping as a tool for
scientific research study.
9. Write a comprehensive geological report of the surveyed area.

COURSE OUTLINE
Page

LECTURE 1
INTRODUCTION TO THE PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGICAL MAPPING
Lecture Outline

1.0

Introduction..

1.1

Objectives.................................................................................................

1.2

General Basis of Field Mapping..

1.3

The Use of Geological Maps......

1.4

Planning a Field Project...........................................................................

1.5

Production of a Geological Map....

1.6

Field Equipment.

1.6.1 Basic equipment.

1.6.2 Specialized equipment

1.6.3 Preparation of a Notebook.

1.6.4 Preparation for wet weather...

1.7 Summary...........................................................................................

1.8 References.................................................................................................

10

LECTURE 2
SUSTAINED GEOLOGICAL MAPPING IN THE FIELD
Lecture Outline..

11

2.0 Introduction

11

2.1 Objectives...

12

2.2 Preliminary Preparation.

12

2.3 Taking Geologic Notes in the Field...

13

2.4 Abbreviations for Field Notes ..

15

2.5 Taking a Photograph in the Field ..

16

2.6 Descriptions to be entered in Field Notes..

16

vi

2.7 Collection and Identification of Specimens

20

2.7.1 Collection of Rock Samples and Fossils.

20

2.7.2 Numbering and Marking Specimens

23

2.8 Summary

23

2.9 References..

24

LECTURE 3
PLOTTING GEOLOGIC FEATURES ON A BASE MAP
Lecture Outline..

25

3.0

Introduction.

26

3.1

Objectives

26

3.2

Selecting and Preparing a Base map

26

3.3

Locating Field Data on a Base Map.

27

3.3.1 Location by Inspection

28

3.3.2 Location by Inspection and Bearing line

28

3.3.3 Locating by Intersection of a Bearing line.

29

3.3.4 Location by Bearing and Pacing

29

3.3.5 Location by Intersection of a Bearing and Contour lines..

29

3.3.6 Using control signals for locations

29

3.3.7 Location by using Global Positioning System (GPS)..

30

3.4

Locating Geologic Features by Traversing.

31

3.5

Using a Barometer to Locate Geologic Features on a Map

32

3.6

Geologic Features to be plotted on the Base map

32

3.7

Mapping contacts between Rock Units................................................

37

3.8

Mapping by the Outcrop or Exposure method.....................................

39

3.9

Using Colored Pencils in Mapping......................................................

40

3.10

Summary...............................................................................................

40

3.11

References..............................................................................................

41

vii

LECTURE 4
USE OF GEOLOGICAL FIELD EQUIPMENTS: COMPASS, CLINOMETER AND
HAND LEVEL.
Lecture Outline..

42

4.0

Introduction...........................................................................................

42

4.1

Objectives..

43

4.2 The Brunton Compass............................................................................

43

4.3 Taking Bearings with the Compass.......................................................

45

4.3.1 What is a bearing......................................................................

45

4.3.2 Procedure of Taking a Bearing...............................................

45

4.4 Using the Brunton compass as a Hand level..........................................

47

4.5 Dip and Strike........................................................................................

48

4.5.1

Dip.

48

4.5.2

Strike.

48

4.5.3 Importance of Dip and Strike

49

4.6 Measuring Strike and Dip......................................................................

50

4.6.1 Where to Take Strike and Dip.

50

4.7 Measuring Trend and Plunge of Linear Features...................................

52

4.8 Care and Adjustment of the Brunton compass.......................................

53

4.8.1 Care of the Brunton Compass..

53

4.8.2 Adjustment of the Brunton Compass..

54

4.9 Use of the Hand Lens............................................................................

55

4.10 Summary..

55

4.10 References

56

LECTURE 5
LABORATORY INVESTIGATIONS AND FIELD DATA PROCESSING
Lecture Outline

57

5.0

Introduction.....................................................................................

58

5.1

Objectives

58

viii

5.2

Petrography.

59

5.3

The Petrographic Microscope.

59

5.3.1 Focusing the Microscope

59

5.3.2 Centering the Microscope

60

Routine of Mineral Identification..

61

5.4.1 Form and Crystallographic Properties

62

5.4.2 Optical Properties..

66

Principle of operation of Chemical and X-ray Analytical Methods

70

5.5.1 Chemical and X-ray analyses

70

5.5.2 Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS).

71

5.5.3 X-ray Fluorescence.

71

5.5.4 Sodium Bisulfate Fusion

72

5.5.5 X-ray Diffraction

72

5.5.6 Electron Microscope..

73

5.5.7 Scanning Electron Microscope..

74

5.5.8 Radiography of Rock slabs

75

Statistical Projections.

76

5.6.1 Rose diagrams

77

5.7

Thin and Polished Sections preparation.

81

5.8

Summary.....................................................................................

82

5.9

References....................................................................................

83

5.4

5.5

5.6

LECTURE 6
USE AND INTERPRETATION OF AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS I
Lecture Outline.

84

6.0

Introduction..........................................................................................

84

6.1

Objectives..............................................................................................

85

6.2 The Use of Aerial Photographs...............................................................

85

6.3 Nature of Aerial Photographs.................................................................

86

6.3.1 Fiducial Marks...........................................................................

86

ix

6.3.2 Principal Points..........................................................................

86

6.3.3 Laps and Stereo-modal..............................................................

87

6.3.4 Scales of Photographs...............................................................

88

6.4

Stereoscopy and Stereoscopes...............................................................

88

6.5

Interpretation Of Geology Using Stereoscopes.

90

6.6

Relief and Tone..

91

6.7

Lineament...

93

6.8

Summary

94

6.9

References..

95

LECTURE 7
USE AND INTERPRETATION OF AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS - II
Lecture Outline.

96

7.0

Introduction...

96

7.1

Objective

97

7.2

Structures..

97

7.2.1 Bedding........................................................................................

98

7.2.2 Dip

98

7.2.3 Foliation

99

7.2.4 Folds.

100

7.2.5 Faults

104

7.2.6 Joints

104

Lithological boundaries

105

7.3.1 Delineation o Rock Boundaries.

105

7.3.2 Lithological Interpretation..

105

7.4

Generalized Photo-geological Legend..

106

7.5

Sediments and Meta-sediments

108

7.6

Intrusive Rocks

109

7.7

Extrusive Rocks...

109

7.8

Superficial Deposits

110

7.8.1 Superficial cover

110

7.3

7.8.2 Residual cover

111

7.9

Summary.

111

7.10

References

113

LECTURE 8
REMOTE SENSING METHODS: THE USE AND INTERPRETATION
OF SATELLITE IMAGES
Lecture Outline.

114

8.0

Introduction..

114

8.1

Objectives.

115

8.2

Remote Sensing: Method of Operation

115

8.3

Importance of Remote Sensing Method..

115

8.4

Landsat Satellite..

116

8.5

Sensors in the Landsat Satellites.

116

8.6

Degree of Resolution.

117

8.7

Image Interpretation

118

8.7.1 Case example 1..

118

8.7.2 Case example 2..

118

8.7.3 Case example 3.

120

8.8

Application

121

8.9

Summary

123

8.10

References..

124

LECTURE 9
PRODUCTION OF COMPLETED MAPS AND REPORTS
Lecture Outline..

125

9.0

Introduction...

125

9.1

Objectives..

126

9.2

Date of Submission

126

xi

9.3

Length of the Report.

127

9.4

Illustrations

127

9.5

Reference to Rocks, Minerals, Fossils and the Literature.

129

10.5.1 Rocks and Minerals...

129

10.5.2 Fauna and Flora.

129

10.5.3 References to Literature.

130

9.6

Layout
9.6.1 Front Matter of the Report

131

9.6.2 Introduction..

132

9.6.3 Rock Units (Geology & Petrography).

133

9.6.4 Structures..

133

9.6.5 Geological History and Stratigraphy

133

9.6.6 Economic Geology..

134

9.6.7 Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation

135

9.6.8 References

135

9.6.9 Appendices..

137

9.6.10 Detailed Geologic Maps and Sections.

137

9.7

Summary..

140

9.8

References

140

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 1

LECTURE 1
INTRODUCTION TO THE PRINCIPLES OF GEOLOGICAL
FIELD MAPPING
___________________________________________________________

LECTURE OUTLINE
1.0

Introduction

Page
1

1.1 Objectives

1.2

General Basis of Field Mapping

1.3 The Use of Geological Maps

1.4

Planning a Field Project

1.4.1 The Purpose of Geologic Mapping

1.4.2

Planning stage

1.5 Production of a Geological Map

1.6

Field Equipment
1.6.1 Basic equipment

1.6.2 Specialized equipment

1.6.3 Preparation of a Notebook

1.6.4 Preparation for wet weather

1.7 Summary

10

1.8 Reference

10

1.0

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to lecture 1 of this unit and congratulations for having chosen this unit as part of
your desire to learn more on the science of geology. Since this unit is field oriented, I have
assumed that you have already acquired some elementary knowledge in the basic techniques
used in the identification of common rocks, minerals and geologic structures.
To geologists, the field is where rocks or soils can be observed in their natural setting.
Geologic mapping is essential to many field studies in that it assists in the production of maps
that are used to measure rock bodies, plot structural measurements and relate many kinds of

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 1

data. Frequently these maps permit interpretations of features that are too large to be studied
in single rock exposures and often are the ideal means of presenting large amount of
information to other persons.
In this first lecture, you will be introduced to some general field definitions. Thereafter you
will be shown the necessary planning procedures you need to undertake and field equipment
you need to have before executing any successful geological field mapping exercise.
Explanation on how geological maps are produced and their uses is well articulated in this
chapter.

1.1

OBJECTIVES

Objectives
At the end of this lecture you should be able to:
a). Define the terms Field, Field studies and Field Geology .
b). Outline uses of geologic maps.
c). Describe the procedures to be followed when planning for a field mapping project.
d). Outline the process followed in producing a geological map
e). List the basic equipment needed for a geological mapping exercise

1.2

GENERAL BASICS OF FIELD MAPPING

We shall start off by giving some basic definitions relevant to the science of field mapping.
Basic Definitions:
Field - This is where rocks or soils can be observed in their natural setting.

Field studies - This is the primary means of obtaining geological knowledge e.g. by visiting
a rock outcrop or quarry and making notes and sketches. This process may at times be tedious
and involving. It may take weeks or months. Geological Mapping is very essential and has
sometimes been considered synonymous with Field Geology.
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 1

Field Geology When rocks and rock materials are investigated in their natural environment
and in their natural relations to one another, the study is called field geology. Field geology
seeks to describe and explain the surface features and underground structure of the
lithosphere.

Having defined the above essential terms, it is important to realize that Geologic mapping is
an important component in many field studies.

1.3

THE USE OF GEOLOGICAL MAPS

Some of the most important uses of geological maps are listed below:

To measure rock bodies in order to quantify their aerial extend.

To plot structural measurements and to relate many kinds of data for geotechnical and
petroleum investigations.

Geological maps are useful to soil scientists, mineral prospectors, hydrogeologists,


builders, road workers, petroleum geologists and other professionals in carrying out
research programs in their fields of study.

Many structural features (e.g. faults and folds) can best be discovered through a
geological mapping exercise. Their relative occurrence may assist engineers where to
locate bridges, buildings, tunnels etc; guide geologists to possible sites of
mineralization and groundwater resources.

Geological maps are used to construct important projections such as cross-sections


(i.e. the vertical and spatial distribution of rocks and structures beneath the earth
surface).

Rocks have to be identified before they can be mapped. Many genetic relations of rock
formations can be understood only after exposures are examined in detail. No amount of
mapping can replace these crucial observations. For example, a detailed map of an igneous
body might show only that it is a concordant layer between sedimentary formations.
Relations at one or two outcrops, however, could demonstrate that the body is a lava flow
(Fig. 1.1) rather than a sill (Fig. 1.2). Once this is established, obscure or hidden features
associated with the flow might be identified and then utilized in further interpretations.
3

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 1

Figure 1.1 Basaltic lava streaming from


the Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii.

Figure 1.2 Granitic Sill (light colour) intruded


between layers of finely banded black shale

Why

are

observations

made

on

individual

outcrops

necessary?

Because a geologist is continuously observing relations and making interpretations in the


field, his general methods are comparable to other classical scientific methods. Once in the
field, for example, the geologist should try to formulate hypotheses to interpret geological
observations. He should write these immediately in his Field Notebook on the spot. The
reason is because revisiting the place mapped may incur problems e.g. bad season, high
financial cost, and time. Field studies must thus go far beyond mere mapping and collecting
of individual rocks or structures.

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 1

ACTIVITY
List some of the reasons why you think field studies should
go beyond the mere collection of rock samples.

1.4

PLANNING A FIELD PROJECT

Generally speaking, geologic field projects proceed in three stages, namely, the planning
stage; the stage of mapping, observing and collecting field data and specimens; and the stage
of preparing a report.

In this section we shall discuss the planning stage of the project. The other two stages will be
discussed elsewhere in this course unit. Some of the most important recommendations that
are required when one is planning for a field project include:

(i)

Determine if other geologists are working (or have worked) in the area or near it. This
avoids duplicating somebodys work.

(ii)

Accumulate and study reports and maps of the region in order to have an
understanding of the broader features of the area. Establish the known problems in
this area.

(iii)

Visit the area if possible to reconnoitre its topography and geology and to obtain
permission for camping, mapping and collecting data.

(iv)

Determine the scales and quality of maps, aerial photographs and satellite images of
the area. Consider whether preparation of other topographical maps is required
besides base maps. Establish the most efficient methods of surveying.

(v)

Evaluate the probable schedule and costs of the project considering the mapping
procedures, how well the rocks are exposed, and how accessible the area is from the
camp.

(vi)

Order maps, aerial photos, and various other field and office equipment allowing
plenty of time for delivery.

(vii)

Reread critically all reports that pertain to the area as well as books or papers that
present basic ideas and methods relevant to the project.

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping


(viii)

Lecture 1

Accumulate a complete field library as much as possible e.g. photographs,


photocopies and other abstract items that cannot be taken to the field.

ACTIVITY
List three reasons why you think advance planning is
necessary before executing a field-mapping program?

1.5

PRODUCTION OF A GEOLOGICAL MAP

Geological maps are produced through the following processes:


1. From the compilation of the field data that is obtained when a geologist studies rock
outcrops. The rock outcrops in the field are usually studied by following:
(i)

River courses from downstream to upstream

(ii)

Making traverses across the strike in the survey area

(iii)

Following roads and paths across the strike in the survey area

2. From aerial photograph interpretation and any other available satellite imageries. In this
process, geologists interpret the geology from aerial photographs using stereoscopes and
plot the map from these interpretations. Thereafter the geologist goes to the field area
very briefly to observe and label the rock units that he has interpreted.

You will learn more about aerial photographs and their


interpretation in Lectures 6 and 7 of this unit.

1.6

FIELD EQUIPMENT

There are two categories of equipment used by field geologists: (i) general or basic
equipment most of which would normally be carried along, and (ii) more specialized
equipment applicable only to certain types of survey.
6

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 1

1.6.1 Basic equipment


The basic equipment needed for examining, describing and collecting rocks for a geological
mapping exercise is modest in amount and need not be costly. It consists essentially of the
following: -

i)

Hammers- A geological hammer with a pick or chisel point at one end (Fig 1.3) or a
2-pound hammer depending on the type of rock being investigated.

Figure 1.3 Geological Hammer

Your field hammer popularly known as a geological hammer - must


not be one of the ordinary household varieties, but must be designed for
use with stone. Hammers have occasionally been known to shatter when
used heavily on rock, and as a precaution against this and the very much
greater chance of flying rock fragments striking you in your eyes, you
should wear some sort of shatter-proof goggles when hitting hard rock.
Your eyes are far too precious to run the risk of damage!
The actual weight of hammer will depend upon the kind of rock that you
will be attacking. If it is very hard you must have a heavier hammer. For
areas composed of hard rocks, a 2lb hammer is necessary. This heavy
hammer is used for collecting hard rock specimens such as gneisses,
lavas, and hornfelses.
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 1

ii)

A hand lens (x10 or x15 aerial magnification is necessary).

iii)

A pocket knife

iv)

Chisel

v)

A notebook (usually 5 by 7.5 inches) or loose leaf folder (clipboard)

vi)

A 2H or 3H pencil or a good ballpoint pen

vii)

A 20cm scale

viii)

Dilute acid For carbonate or calcareous tests

ix)

Collecting bags and marking pens

x)

Waterproof bags for notebooks, maps and other stationary

xi)

A knapsack (rack sack) for carrying lunch or field gear

xii)

Base maps and aerial photos

xiii)

Compass-clinometer A liquid immersion variety is desirable.

xiv)

A good camera Geologists should try to buy a good camera early in their career. It is
an advantage to have one with interchangeable lenses (for example, with focal lengths
of 28 mm, 50 mm and 135 mm and extension tubes). Students should consider buying
a good basic camera and adding interchangeable lenses as funds permit.

xv)

Pocket stereoscope This is essential for most field surveys, not only for locating
position on aerial photographs, but also for the geological information which can be
seen and plotted during mapping.

xvi)

Knowledge of the theory

1.6.2 Specialized Equipment


Important specialized equipments commonly used in geological investigations include:
Augers For sampling unconsolidated deposits (for example, Quaternary formations) an
auger is usually used. For straight forward mapping a lightweight, small-diameter screw
auger (say 3 cm) is sufficient, but a large-diameter type (15 or 40 cm) will be necessary for
detailed sampling. The type will depend on upon the purity of sample required and on the
lithology which is to be penetrated.
Aneroid barometer This can be very useful particularly when mapping relatively unknown
mountainous terrain in a reconnaissance style.

Fairly reliable altitudes can be obtained

provided there are frequent checks with a base camp reading.


Surveying apparatus - (level, plane table, theodolite, etc.)
8

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 1

Binoculars These are particularly useful in mountainous areas for picking out detailed
structures on distant hillsides, which might otherwise be missed.
Microscope A binocular microscope at base camp can be particularly useful for examining
specimens collected during the day.

1.6.3 Preparation of the Notebook


Before you begin fieldwork, the notebook should be made ready. Write your name and
address on the inside of the front cover. On the first blank page, facing the front cover, record
the name of the region where the investigation is to be made, and the year and date of
beginning the work.

1.6.4 Preparation for Wet Weather


Wet weather should be anticipated; it can upset a field schedule seriously. Maps and aerial
photographs can be waterproofed completely by enclosing them in transparent plastics. In
order for the fieldwork to be thorough and consistently precise, geologists should clothe
themselves comfortably and remember to carry raincoats and umbrellas.

1.7

Summary

SUMMARY
Geological maps have found wide application in the measurement of rock bodies and
interpretation of their structural features, and are of use to many soil, water, mineral,
construction and petroleum research programs.
We have further seen that geologic field projects generally proceed in three stages, namely,
the planning stage; the stage of mapping, observing and collecting field data and specimens;
and the stage of preparing a report.
We further noted that, during the planning stage for a field geological project, it is important
to determine if other geologists are working in the proposed area of study in order to avoid
duplicating somebodys work. We learned the necessity to accumulate and study reports and
9

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 1

maps of the region in order to have an understanding of the broader features and problems of
the area. Once a reconnaissance survey has been done, it is important to evaluate the probable
schedule and costs of the project. Thereafter make the necessary order of maps, aerial photos,
and various other field and office equipment necessary for the fieldwork and allowing plenty
of time for their delivery.

1.8

References

REFERENCES
Compton, R.R. 1968. Manual of Field Geology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York. 378pp.
Lahee F.H. 1980. Field Geology. McGraw Book Company, Inc. New York. 926pp.

10

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

LECTURE 2
SUSTAINED GEOLOGICAL MAPPING IN THE FIELD
__________________________________________________________________

LECTURE OUTLINE
2.0 Introduction
2.1 Objectives
2.2 Preliminary Preparation

Page
11
12
12

2.3 Taking Geologic Notes in the Field

13

2.4 Abbreviations for Field Notes

15

2.5 Taking a Photograph in the Field

16

2.6 Descriptions to be entered in Field Notes

16

2.7 Collection and Identification of Specimens

20

2.7.1 Collection of Rock Samples and Fossils


2.7.2 Numbering and Marking Specimens

20
22

2.8

Summary

23

2.9

References

24

2.0

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to lecture 2. From the previous lecture, you have learned the importance of the
planning stage for a field geological project. We have seen that it is important to determine if
other geologists are working in the proposed area of study in order to avoid duplicating their
work. We have seen the necessity to accumulate and study reports and maps of the region in
order to have an understanding of the broader features and problems of the area.
Once the initial field preparations have been done, the geologist is now ready to undertake a
sustained geological mapping exercise in the field. Lecture 2 will briefly review the basic
equipment needed in the field, introduce you to the procedures of taking geological field
notes, abbreviations used for field notes, lithological descriptions, and collecting, numbering
and marking of rock samples and fossils.
11

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

2.1

Lecture 2

OBJECTIVES

Objectives
At the end of this lecture you should be able to:

List the primary field equipment required for a geological mapping exercise.

Give examples of common abbreviations used in geological field mapping

Outline the characteristic lithologic and structural features to be noted in the field.

State characteristic textural features of rocks and fossils to be described in the field.

Describe the procedure to be used in collecting, numbering and marking of samples in


the field.

2.2

PRELIMINARY PREPARATION

Before the geologist goes to the field, he should make some preliminary preparations. He
should contact a reconnaissance survey of the area mapped and access the cost of the
fieldwork. He should also obtain the necessary permission to carry out the work as well as
field equipment, which should include:
(i)

Base maps

(ii)

Sample bags

(iii)

Barometer

(iv)

Adhesive tape for labeling rock samples

(v)

Camera and film accessories

(vi)

Compass (Brunton type); a clinometer; sample bags.

(vii)

Chisels and geological hammers

(viii)

Drawing board; erasers; pencils; notebooks; colored pencils; permanent marker pens;
protractors etc.

(ix)

Hydrochloric acid (dilute)

(x)

Magnet and pocket knife


12

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

(xi)

Binocular microscope

(xii)

Mineral hardness set

(xiii)

First aid kit including snakebite kit.

(xiv)

Stereoscopes

2.3

TAKING GEOLOGICAL NOTES IN THE FIELD

Lecture 2

The geologist takes notes as he studies the outcrops in the field. The geologist moves to
places where he expects rock outcrops. The most likely areas to find these rock outcrops are:

Along river valleys (or stream valleys). Follow a stream, which cuts or traverses
across the strata. This is likely to expose more of the contrasting and underlying
geology in a given area.

Following road cuts and taking note of any rock exposures.

Hills and mountains The barometers can help to indicate your relative position

Which are the likely places to find rock outcrops in the field?
The geological notes and descriptions taken in the field depend on the project. Most of the
items recorded in the notebook are factual. Geological notes taken are brief. However
drawings or diagrams should be used wherever they save time and space or add clarity. For
many cases small accessory maps and cross-sections serve to record large amounts of data
briefly and clearly. For example, a lithological body with a striking 30 o to the northwest with
a dip of 25o to the northeast can be represented by the symbol:

Strike, north thirty degrees west (N30oW)


Dip, twenty-five degrees northeast (25oN)

Usually the strike is given as a compass direction relative to north. For example, North
sixty-three degrees west is a strike that is 63o west of geographic north (see Fig. 2.1). For
any given strike, two directions of dip at the same angle are possible, so the compass
13

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

direction of the downward slope must be specified. Thirty-three degrees southwest is the
dip of the rock layer in Fig. 2.1. Strike and dip measurements for the example are written as
follows: N63oW, 33oSW

Fig 2.1 Measurement of strike and dip on a rock layer.


Because it is necessary to record the orientation of rock layers in a simple way on a map,
geologists measure the strikes and dips of all rock layers they encounter while mapping an
area in the field. The data are written directly onto a map at the point where the measurement
is made. The symbols used are explained in Fig. 2.2 and in more detail in Lecture 3 of this
course unit.

Fig. 2.2. Symbols for strike and dip.

14

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

ACTIVITY
Assuming that north is to the west of the page, determine the orientation of the strike
and dip symbols shown here below using your protractor.

The discontinuous measure of rock exposures makes it necessary to base some geological
relations on inferences rather than on observable facts. However, it is important to write
down that these are inferences. Although each person develops a somewhat different way of
note taking, all notes must be:

(i)

Legible

(ii)

Accurate

(iii)

Brief and concise

2.4

ABBREVIATIONS FOR FIELD NOTES

Common abbreviations should be used. A few of the many possibilities are listed here below
in Table 2.1. A more complete list of abbreviations is given by Compton (1978).

15

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

Table 2.1 Abbreviations for field geological notes.


Name

Abbreviations

Abundant

- abnt.

Acicular

- acic.

Aggregates

- aggr.

Amount

- amt.

Argillaceous

- arg.

Arenaceous

- aren.

Conglomerate

- cgl.

Contact

- ctc.

Crystal

- Xl

Crystalline

- Xln

2.5

TAKING A PHOTOGRAOPH IN THE FIELD

Where a photograph is taken in the field, a simple diagram noting the direction of the view
and labeling its important features is likely to prove valuable for cross-reference after the
fieldwork session. Efforts should be done to include in the photo a standard item whose
dimensions are known (e.g. geological hammer) that can act as a scale. In circumstances
where notes are taken on loose-leaf sheets, then each of the sheets must have the following at
its top:

2.6

Must bear the date on the sheet

The geologists name

A brief geographic title or description of the area covered by the page.

The name or number of the base map used or aerial photograph used.

DESCRIPTIONS TO BE ENTERED IN FIELD NOTES

The data to be recorded in field notes will always depend to the project undertaken. In most
geologic surveys the notes concentrate on:
(i)

Descriptions of rock units/ contacts.

(ii)

Description of structures
16

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

In both descriptions, emphasis is made on those features that indicate the mode of origin of
the rocks and/or their relative ages. Descriptions are entered as the outcrops are found and
determined. As the fieldwork progresses the geologist enters down more critical descriptions
of features that have been traced through a series of outcrops. Before the geologist leaves the
field for the season, he should make sure that his field notes include full descriptions of rock
units and structures in all parts of the area surveyed.

Lithologic descriptions are more useful if recorded in a fairly systematic way as follows:
1) The name of the unit or brief rock name e.g. biotite gneiss
2) Specific locality or the area to which the description applies
3) Thickness and overall structure or shape of unit in the area.
4) Gross characteristics of the area underlain by unit, for example:
(i)

Topographic expression

(ii)

Colour and type of soil

(iii)

Vegetation

(iv)

Nature of outcrops

5) Characteristic structures of unit, for example:.


i)

Range of thicknesses and average thickness of beds or other layered structures

ii)

Shapes of beds or other structures (e.g. tabular, lenticular, lineate etc.)

iii)

Primary features within beds or bedding, inclusions, flow bending etc.

iv)

Linear structures e.g., faults, joints etc.

v)

Characteristic secondary structures especially cleavage and prominent weathering


effects.

6) Fossils
i)

Description of fossils (see Fig 2.3)

ii)

Special characteristic of fossiliferous rocks

iii)

Position and condition of fossils (this includes growth position; fragmental;


winded; rounded; pitted or fluted by solution; external or internal molds, etc.).

17

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

Fig. 2.3. A trilobite fossil preserved in shale.

7) Description of rocks with most abundant variety described first.


i)

Colour: both fresh and weathered surfaces

ii)

Induration (of weathered or completely fresh rock)

iii)

Grain sizes (range of sizes and the average median sizes)

iv)

Degree of sorting or equigranularity

v)

Shapes of grains (anhedral, subhedral, euhedral)

vi)

Orientations or textural fabric of shaped grains (e.g., schistosity and mineral


banding in Fig 2.4)), especially in relation to rock structures e.g. in rocks such as
schists and gneisses.

18

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

A.

Lecture 2

B.

A. Gneissic Mineral Banding: This is a characteristic layering in a rock (e.g., a gneiss) in


which bands or lenses of granular minerals (quartz and feldspar) alternate with bands
or lenses in which platy (mica) or elongate (amphibole) minerals predominate.
B. Schistosity texture: This is the characteristic layering in a coarse grained, crystalline
rock due to the parallel arrangement of platy mineral grains such as muscovite and
biotite (e.g., a phyllite). Other minerals present are typically quartz and feldspar, plus a
variety of other minerals such as garnet, staurolite, kyanite and sillimanite.

Fig. 2.4 Typical textural fabrics in rocks: mineral banding and schistosity.

(vii)

Nature and amount of cement, matrix or groundmass if any.

(viii)

Nature and amount of holes (porosity) and indications of permeability.

(ix)

Constitution of grains (mineral; lithic; fossil; glass) and then percent (%) by
volume. The mineralogy of any identifiable crystals will fix the composition
more precisely. Pay particular attention to the percentage of quartz and the
type of feldspar present. Most people tend to over-estimate the percentages of
dark minerals in rocks. Figure 2.5 depicts various percentages of dark areas in
a white background and may be helpful as a guide.

19

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

Fig. 2.5 Chart for estimating percentages of dark minerals in rocks.

(x).

Nature of contacts of rock units as illustrated in Figure 2.6 includes:


Sharp or gradational state dimensions
Evidences of unconformity
Criteria in tracing contact in the field.

Fig.2.6 Nature of rock contacts.

20

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

Faults, unconformities, intrusive contacts etc are examples of


structures that require systematic and thorough descriptions in
the field.

2.7

COLLECTION AND IDENTIFICATION OF SPECIMENS

2.7.1 COLLECTION OF ROCK SAMPLES AND FOSSILS

Despite lithological descriptions made in the field, rock samples are collected because of:

Better identification in the office or camp by a more experienced geologist or under


microscopic observations.

For accurate determination of porosity and permeability, mineral ratios and other
laboratory analytical work.

The specimen collected must be a truly representative of the unit being studied. Specimens
should be broken directly from the outcrop. Unweathered specimens are preferred to
weathered ones but an ideal specimen has both weathered and un-weathered part. For rocks
with grains smaller than 2mm samples should be of the size 3 x 4 x 1 inch. It is advisable to
trim the specimens so as to fit in drawers.

What is the purpose of collecting rock specimens and fossils


from the field?

Fossils are collected for three basic reasons:


(i)

To determine geologic age and sequence of rock

(ii)

To correlate fossiliferous rock units

(iii)

To help in determining the environment of deposition of sediments.


21

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

Fossils also occur in pyroclastic rocks and their presence in metamorphic rocks cannot be
totally ruled out. Before beginning a fieldwork project a geologist should acquaint himself
with the useful index fossils likely to be observed in the rocks of a specific age occurring in
the project area.
Fossils are so scarce in some areas that finding them would be a considerable problem. In
such circumstances, their initial search should be concentrated on floats specimens not
embedded on the outcrop - and weathered outcrop surfaces. Notes should be entered about
fossils where they are observed. Fossil occurrences are also governed by lithologies of rocks,
e.g. graptolites occur in fissile shale beds or fissile limestone beds. Fossil bones occur most
frequently in non-marine lacustrine, fluviatile or deltaic sediments. Fossils may provide
useful indications of palaeo-climatic conditions.

2.7.2 NUMBERING AND MARKING OF SPECIMENS


Each rock or fossil specimen must be mapped with a number matching that used in the notes
or aerial photographs. Most specimens can be marked directly with a felt tip pen (flow pen).
The number may also be written on an adhesive pile of tape fixed firmly to the sample in the
field. If the sample is wet, the number can be written on a piece of paper, secured to the
sample with string or rubber band. The sample should then be put in a paper or cloth bag on
which its number is clearly marked so that it can be identified without being unpacked. A
formal style of numbering your specimens is as indicated here below:

JR

F3

-6

The geologist

Map sheet

Specimen number or

Initials

or number

locality number

22

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

ACTIVITY
Carry out a library desk study and write a summarized essay about:
(i)

The classification, mineralogy and structures of major sedimentary rock types

(ii)

The classification, mineralogy, textures and structures of metamorphic rocks

(iii)

The classification, textures, mineralogy and structures of igneous rocks

2.8

Summary

SUMMARY

In this lecture we noted that, long before a geologist goes to the field for detailed mapping,
he should first make some preliminary preparations. These preparations include a
reconnaissance survey of the area to be mapped in order to access the cost of the fieldwork,
to obtain the necessary permission from the relevant authorities to carry out the work, as well
as accumulating the basic field equipment.

Since a geologist takes notes as he studies the outcrops in the field, we observed that he
should move to places where he/she expects the rock outcrops. We noted that the most likely
areas to find these rock outcrops is usually along river valleys (or stream valleys), along road
cuts that expose any rock exposures, hills, mountains and contacts of rock units. We further
observed that most of the items recorded in the notebook should be factual, brief and concise.
However, where necessary, drawings or diagrams should be used wherever they save time
and space or add clarity. In circumstances where a photograph is taken in the field, efforts

23

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 2

should be done to include in the photo a standard item whose dimensions are known (e.g.
geological hammer) that can act as a scale.

We observed in this lecture that the type of data that is usually recorded in field notes usually
depend on the project undertaken. In most geologic surveys we noted that the notes usually
concentrate on descriptions of rocks and structures. In both descriptions, emphasis is made
on those features that indicate the origin of rocks or their relative ages.

This lecture showed that the rock specimens collected in the field must be representative of
the units being studied and that they should be broken directly from the outcrop. Unweathered specimens are usually preferred to weathered ones but an ideal specimen should
have both weathered and un-weathered part.
It was clear from this lecture that fossils are collected for three basic reasons, namely to
determine geologic age and sequence of rock, to correlate any fossiliferous rock units, and
lastly to help in determining the environment of deposition of the sediments. And lastly when
it comes to numbering of the specimens, we noted that each rock or fossil specimen must be
mapped with a number matching that used in the notes or aerial photographs. A formal style
of numbering the specimens is to indicate the initials of the geologist, the map sheet number,
and the specimen or locality number.

2.9

References

REFERENCES
Compton, R.R. 1968. Manual of Field Geology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York. 378pp.
Lahee F.H. 1980. Field Geology. McGraw Book Company, Inc. New York. 926pp.
PettiJohn F.J. 2002. Sedimentary Petrology. 3rd Ed. CBS Publishers & Distributors, India.
628pp.

24

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

LECTURE 3
PLOTTING GEOLOGICAL FEATURES ON A BASE MAP
______________________________________________________________

LECTURE OUTLINE

Page

3.0
3.1
3.2

Introduction
Objectives
Selecting and Preparing a Base Map

25
26
26

3.3

Locating Field Data on a Base Map

27

3.3.1 Location by Inspection


3.3.2 Location by Inspection and Bearing line

28

3.3.3 Locating by Intersection of a Bearing line


3.3.4 Location by Bearing and Pacing

29

3.3.5 Location by Intersection of a Bearing and Contour lines


3.3.6 Using control signals for locations
3.3.7 Location by use of a Global Positioning System (GPS)

29

3.4
3.5
3.6

Locating Geologic Features by Traversing


Using a Barometer to Locate Geologic Features on a Map
Geologic Features to be plotted on the Base map

30
31
32
32

3.7

Mapping contacts between Rock Units

37

3.8

Mapping by the Outcrop or Exposure method

39

3.9

Using Colored Pencils in Mapping

40

3.10

Summary

40

3.11

References

41

3.0 INTRODUCTION
Welcome to Lecture three of this study unit. In the previous lecture you were introduced
to basic field equipments needed in a geological mapping exercise. You learned about
basic lithologic and structural features that you should note while in the field. You also

25

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

learned about the procedure to be followed while collecting, numbering and marking of
specimens in the field.

In the present lecture, you are going to learn how to plot basic geological features such as
faults, rock contacts, folds, mineral foliations etc on a base map. You are going to learn
about methods that are used in locating points and oneself while in the field. This is
another exciting lecture that I believe will stimulate your interest in carrying out a
successful field mapping project.

3.1

OBJECTIVES

Objectives
At the end of this lecture you should be able to:

(a). Distinguish topographic and planimetric maps


(b). Describe various methods used in locating field data on a base map
(c). Describe and illustrate with specific symbols many of the geological features that
can be plotted on a base map.
(d). Explain how contacts are mapped between rock units

3.2

THE SELECTION AND PREPARATION OF A BASE MAP

What exactly is a base map? A base map is a map that is used to plot geologic features
and note numbers in the field. Ideally there are two types of base maps planimetric and
topographic maps. Planimetric maps only show drainage, culture (man-made features)
and perhaps scattered elevations. On the other hand, topographic maps show all the
features displayed in planimetric maps plus contours as well.

26

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

Topographic maps are the ideal maps used as base maps firstly because they allow cross
sections to be made from them in any direction and secondly from the fact that their
contours provide several means of plotting outcrops and topography accurately. Many
quadrangle topographic maps with a scale of 1:50,000 or 1:25,000 are the most useful
base maps. Small features must be plotted carefully on them.

Planimetric maps on the other hand are only useful when mapping very small areas. In
particular, planimetric maps are valuable documents in areas where roads, buildings and
water ways are spaced closely enough to permit accurate locations of geologic features.
In many suburban areas, detailed, modern planimetric maps may be more preferable to
generalized or outdated topographic maps, particularly where there is relatively little
relief. Most planimetric maps are held by city or county surveyors and land assessors, by
irrigation districts, local harbour and river authorities.

At least two copies of a base map are needed one for plotting features in the field and
the other for making geologic compilations as field work progresses. Extra copies may be
used for plotting locations of rocks and fossil specimens.

Distinguish planimetric maps from topographic maps and


briefly outline their specific uses.

3.3

LOCATING FIELD DATA ON A BASE MAP

A geological map is made by locating many points, lines and other data on a base map.
Its value will depend on a good deal on the accuracy of determination of these locations.
Points on the ground can be located on a map by a number of methods. The most suitable
method depends on a given ground situation. Generally the methods outlined here below
are used where the terrain and vegetation allows on average good visibility.

27

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

3.3.1

Lecture 3

Location by Inspection

In such cases the points are recognized by configuration of features. Examples of such
points include distinctive turns or intersections in streams, roads or ridges (see Fig. 3.1)

Fig. 3.1 Distinctive intersections in stream and roads.

3.3.2 Location by Inspection and Bearing line


Data along linear features such as ridges, roads or streams can often be located by taking
a bearing to a point that can be identified exactly on the map, then plotting the reverse
bearing from that point to intersect the linear feature on which the observer stands (see
Fig. 3.2)

Point occupied

Fig. 3.2 (A). Locating a point along a road by taking a bearing to a nearby hilltop.
(B). Locating a point by drawing three lines from nearby features

28

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

3.3.3 Locating by Intersection of a Bearing line


In some cases, points that can be identified on the map are often too distant for pacing,
and intersection methods must be used. Three points are found that can be identified
exactly on the map, and the bearings to these points are measured with a compass. When
the reverse bearing lines are plotted on the map with a protractor, they should intersect at
the point occupied (see Fig. 3.2 B).

3.3.4 Location by Bearing and Pacing


Where geologic data do not lie along an identifiable map feature, they may be located by
reading a bearing to a nearby point that can be identified on the map. The distance to that
point can then be paced, and after a backsight is taken to recheck the bearing, the distance
should be checked by pacing back to the outcrop. The average bearing and distance are
then used to plot the outcrop on the map. If it is not possible to pace in both directions, a
tally counter should be used to eliminate any errors in counting.

3.3.5 Location by Intersection of a Bearing and Contour lines


The elevation of the point occupied can be found and then finding a bearing of a distant
point. The intersection of the bearing line and the appropriate contour lines on the map
will locate the point. The elevation can be determined with an accurate altimeter or
barometer.

3.3.6

Using control signals for locations

When mapping featureless plains and marshlands it may be necessary to set up control
signals before geologic features can be plotted accurately. Control signals include:
(i)

Heaps of rocks

(ii)

Flags on poles

(iii)

Distinctive trees

(iv)

Distinctive rocks

The control signals should be visible over as large an area as possible. The signals must
first be located accurately on base maps by triangulation methods.

29

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

In an ideal geological setting environment in the field, attempt by


using your compass, (and barometer where applicable) and
topographic maps to:
1. Locate yourself by using intersection of bearing lines
2. Locate specific outcrops or points of interest in your base
maps using different location methods.

3.3.7 Location by use of a Global Positioning System (GPS)


The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system that was
developed by the US Department of Defense (DoD) in the early 1970s as the next
generation replacement to the transit system (El-Rabany 2006). Initially GPS was
developed as a military system to fulfill US military needs. However, it was later made
available to civilians, and is now a dual-use system that can be assessed by both military
and civilian users.

The GPS comprises of 24 orbiting satellites, in 6 orbital planes, that transmit navigational
signals for Earth-bound use. Using this technology, latitude, longitude, and elevation are
accurately calibrated using a hand-held instrument that reads radio signals from satellites.
GPS provides continuous positioning and timing information anywhere in the world
under any weather conditions.

GPS has numerous application in land surveying, marine or ocean and air navigation,
managing the movement of fleets of trucks, mining and resource mapping, and
environmental planning. Vehicle and personal tracking and navigation are rapidly
growing applications. It is expected that the majority of GPS users will be in vehicle
navigation. Future users of GPS will include automatic machine guidance and control,
where hazardous areas can be mapped efficiently and safely using remotely controlled
vehicles.

GPS is also useful to the backpacker and sportsperson. Some commercial airlines are
using GPS to improve accuracy of routes flown and thus increases fuel efficiency.
30

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

Scientists are currently using GPS to accurately determine the height of Mount Everest in
the Himalayan Mountains.

Farmers use GPS to determine crop yields on specific parts of their farms. A detailed plot
map is made to guide the farmer as to where more fertilizer, proper seed distribution,
irrigation applications, or other work is needed. A computer and a GPS unit on board the
farm equipment guides the work.

The importance of GPS to geologists and geographers is obvious because this precise
technology reduces the need to maintain ground control points for location, mapping, and
spatial analysis. Instead, geologists or geographers working in the field can determine
their position accurately as they work. Boundaries and data points in a study area can be
easily determined and entered into a data base, and the need for traditional surveys is
reduced. For this and myriad other applications, GPS sales are expected to exponentially
grow in the years to come.

1. Briefly describe the Global Positioning System (GPS).


2. Outline four applications of the GPS technology.

3.4

LOCATING GEOLOGIC FEATURES BY TRAVERSING

To map geologic features in wooded areas, traverses must be made from whatever
features that can be identified accurately on the maps. Compass-pace methods are
generally suitable for these traverses. Preliminary reconnaissance of a traverse course in
every wooded country may take nearly as much time as the traverse itself, but in fairly
open country, a reconnaissance may profitably indicate where outcrops occur, what they
look like from a distance, and the spacing of traverse lines needed to locate enough of
them.

31

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

In wooded or bushy areas, the traverse should follow the course of least resistance by
making use of open ridges, stream courses, paths and clearing that permit relatively long
and clear courses for bearings and pacing.

3.5

USING A BAROMETER (OR ALTIMETER) TO LOCATE GEOLOGIC


FEATURES ON A MAP

In wooded or bushy-grown areas where pacing is difficult and where there are only
occasional open views of the surrounding country, a barometer or altimeter may be used
effectively to locate points on a topographic map. This method is also used to locate
geologic boundaries on hillsides. There are three prerequisites required here, namely:

(i)

The contours of the map must be accurate

(ii)

The contour interval must be such that the contours are spaced fairly close

(iii)

The instrument must permit reading to within about 2m.

3.6

GEOLOGIC FEATURES TO BE PLOTTED ON THE BASE MAP

Contacts and faults are the most important geologic features plotted on the map. Folds are
generally depicted on the map as a line showing the trace on the ground of the axial
plane. Although these trace lines can be located and plotted directly in some places,
symbols for most large folds can be drawn only after rock units and bedding attitudes
(strike and dips) have been plotted over large areas. Where the folds are well exposed,
its important to observe and record the following: -

(i)

The trend and plunge of the axis

(ii)

The strike and dip of the axial plane

(iii)

The plunge of small-scale folds associated with axial region and limbs

(iv)

The strike and dip of secondary cleavages

(v)

The intersection between these cleavages and the bedding

32

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

A large number of planar structures can be plotted. Structural features that show their
strike and dip includes: -

(i)

Bedding

(ii)

Compositional layering (banding) in igneous and metamorphic rocks

(iii)

Various cleavages

(iv)

Mineral foliations

(v)

Veins

(vi)

Joints

These features must be classified as accurate as possible and plotted with distinctive
symbols that show clearly what kind of features has been mapped as presented in Table
3.1

33

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

Table 3.1 Distinctive symbols for geological features (After Compton, 1968).

Symbols

Explanation

34

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

Table 3.1 cont

Symbols

Explanation

35

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

Table 3.1 cont

Symbols

Explanation

36

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

3.7

Lecture 3

MAPPING CONTACTS BETWEEN ROCK UNITS

Tracing and plotting contacts between rock units are the basic procedures of geologic
mapping. This is the most efficient way of mapping units at small and intermediate scales
(e.g., 1:25,000 or 1:50,000).

Mapping is best started along a sharp contact between two distinctive rock units. The
contact should be mapped by walking along its trace and plotting points on the map
where the contact can be seen or where its position can be inferred closely. The number
of points that must be recorded accurately will vary with the degree of irregularity of the
contact. A sharp, well-exposed contact is drawn as a solid thin line. Many contacts are
exposed at only few places; some are not exposed at all in natural outcrops. Such contacts
can be mapped by walking a zigzag course between outcrops of the two rock units that lie
on either side and by plotting a line that passes between the limits thereby established.

Contacts between quartz rich and quartz poor rocks can be located by the distribution of
quartz grains abundance in the soil. Such examples of contacts include:
(i)

a contact between sandstone and shale

(ii)

a contact between sandstone and limestone

(iii)

a contact between granite and gabbro

When no large residual fragments can be found, the composition, color and texture of the
soil itself may be used to trace contacts between many rock units. In areas where down
slope creep has displaced and mixed the float, the up-slope limit of fragments from a unit
can be used to locate upslope contact of that unit. In such a case, contact can be
established between a conglomerate rock and shale (see Fig. 3.3).

37

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Shale

Lecture 3

Using uphill limit of


float fragments (here

Conglomerate
Unit

pebbles are used to


locate the upper limit
of conglomerate but
not the lower limit).

Fig. 3.3. Using the uphill limit of float fragments to locate the upper contact of a unit.

Vegetation commonly varies from one bedrock to another particularly in areas of


moderate rainfall and high summer temperatures. Soils weather from rocks and their
degree of fertility is governed by the mineralogy and nature of the rock outcrops.

Poor soils
Better soils to
encourage vegetation

Sedimentary rock
Fig. 3.4 Nature of soils is governed by the underlying geological rock units.

When there is no indication of the trace of a contact, it can be projected on the basis of
strike and dip symbols measured nearby. This can be done by standing where the contact
is exposed, setting the clinometer of the compass for the dip of the beds, and sighting in
the direction of the strike as if measuring the dip. Several points are located accurately on

38

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

the map where the imaginary projected surface intersects the ground surface. The trace of
contact is then dashed in between these points to conform naturally to the topography.

3.8

MAPPING BY THE OUTCROP OR EXPOSURE METHOD

The method is used where the scale of the map is large (i.e. 1:12,000 or more). In this
method, each exposure is plotted to scale by drawing its contacts with surrounding
surficial materials. Letter symbols or colors are used to designate the units within the
outcrop areas. Thin solid lines are drawn at the contacts of the units where observed on
the outcrop areas. Dotted lines are used where the outcrops are covered (see Fig. 3.5).

One advantage of the outcrop method is that observed facts are separated from
inferences. In addition to this, other geologists can find isolated or hidden outcrops easily
and can evaluate the evidence on which concealed contacts can be drawn.

Fig. 3.5 Fragment of an outcrop map.(After Compton, 1968).

39

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

3.9

Lecture 3

USIING COLORED PENCILS IN MAPPING

Waterproof colored pencils can be used effectively to map rock units where outcrops are
scattered or gradations are broad. A distinctive color should be chosen for each unit and a
mark made on the map at each outcrop of the unit. Most outcrops must be shown
diagrammatically by small spots, but the larger ones should be drawn approximately to
scale. The marks must be made so lightly that contours show through them and structure
symbols can be plotted over them. As an area is mapped, the colored spots will show not
only where contacts must pass but also the dimensional accuracy of their location.

Where colors are used to plot outcrops of certain rock types, gradational zones will
appear as uncolored bands, and a gradational contact symbol (see section 3.5 of this
lecture) may then be located within this band. This method of finding gradational rock
boundaries is particularly useful for internal contacts of plutonic igneous rock bodies,
zones of alteration, or contacts between metamorphic zones, as all of these boundaries
may be irregular and unpredictable.

Pencil marks must be moderately erasable and waterproof. Since pencils are lost easily in
the field, a piece of about 5cm long may be cut from each and carried in a pocket. A color
can be selected quickly from these stubs, and if one is lost it can be replaced from the
supply in camp.

3.10 Summary

SUMMARY

In this lecture you have learned what a base map is and how to distinguish topographic
and planimetric maps. We learned how to locate field data on a base map. For example
you learned how to plot geologic features such as contacts, faults, and folds on a base
40

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 3

map. We learned how a large number of planar structures such as beddings, cleavages,
mineral foliations, veins and joints with distinctive dip and/ or strike attitude data can be
classified accurately and plotted with distinctive symbols on a base map. Where the scale
of map is sufficiently large enough (e.g. 1: 12,000), we learned how mapping can be
carried out using rock outcrops or exposure method. In this method, each exposure is
plotted to scale by drawing its contacts with surrounding surficial materials. Finally we
learned how waterproof colored pencils can be used to map out rock units whose
outcrops are scattered or gradations are broad.

3.11

References

REFERENCES

Compton, R.R. 1968. Manual of Field Geology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York.
378pp.
El-Rabany, A., 2006. Introduction to GPS. 2nd Edition, Artech House publishers, London.
246pp.

41

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

LECTURE 4
USE OF GEOLOGICAL FIELD EQUIPMENTS: COMPASS,
CLINOMETER AND HANDLEVEL
________________________________________________________
LECTURE OUTLINE

Page

4.0
4.1
4.2

Introduction
Objectives
The Brunton Compass

42
43
43

4.3

Taking Bearing with the Compass

45
45

4.3.1 What is a Bearing


4.3.2 Procedure of Taking a Bearing

45

4.4

47

4.5

Using the Brunton Compass as a Hand Level


Dip and Strike

4.5.1 Dip
4.5.2 Strike
4.5.3 Importance of Dip and Strike
4.6

Measuring Strike and Dip

4.6.1

Where to take Strike and Dip

48
48
48
49
50
50

4.7 Measuring Trend and Plunge of Linear Features

52

4.8 Care and Adjustment of the Brunton Compass

53
53

4.8.1 Care of the Brunton Compass


4.8.2 Adjustment of the Brunton Compass

54

4.9 Use of the Hand lens

55

4.10 Summary

55

4.11 References

56

4.0

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to lecture 4 of this unit. In the previous lecture you learned how to plot basic
geological features such as faults, rock contacts, and folds etc on a base map and the
methods used in locating points and oneself while in the field. In this lecture we shall
learn the usage of the compass, clinometer and hand-level as some of the important
equipments used in a geologic field study.
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

Compass, clinometer and hand levels are tools that can be used to make a great variety of
surveys and to measure the attitudes of various geologic structures in the field. These
three basic equipments are usually combined in the Brunton Pocket Transit, which is
commonly called the Brunton compass. For most routine procedures, the compass is
usually held by hand though it may be mounted on a tripod for more precise
measurements. Please note that, although the detailed instructions for use given in this
lecture pertain especially to the Brunton compass, the same general procedures can
readily apply to other kinds of compasses, clinometers and hand levels.

4.1 OBJECTIVES

Objectives
At the end of this lecture you should be able to:
(a). Describe and illustrate the various parts of the Brunton compass.
(b). Outline the procedure of taking bearings with the compass
(c). Distinguish Dip and Strike attitude measurements.
(d) Determine suitable parameters for measurement of dip and strike attitudes in the field.
(d) Measure the trend and plunge of linear features
(e) Describe the safety procedures and maintenance of the compass and clinometer.

4.2

THE BRUNTON COMPASS

The major parts of the Brunton compass are shown in Figure 4.1. The compass itself is
made up of brass and aluminium these being materials that will not affect the
magnetized compass needle.

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

Fig. 4.1. The Brunton Compass. Inset at lower left shows enlarged section through needle
bearing.

When the compass is open, the compass needle rests on the pivot needle (see Fig. 4.1).
The compass needle can be braked to a stop by pushing the lift pin, which is located near
the rim of the box. When the compass box is closed, the lift pin protects the pivot needle
from wear by lifting up the compass needle. The round bulls eye bubble is used to level
the compass when a bearing is read, and the tube bubble is used to take readings with the
clinometer. The clinometer is moved by a small lever on the under-side of the compass
box (not shown in the Figure).
A compass should be checked to ascertain that:
1. Both levels have bubbles
2. The hinges are tight enough so that the lid, sighting arm, and
the peep sights do not fold down under their own weight, and
3. The point of the sighting arm meets the black axial line of the
mirror when the mirror and sighting are turned together until
they touch.

Describe and illustrate the various parts of the Brunton


compass.

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

4.3. TAKING BEARINGS WITH THE COMPASS


4.3.1 What is a bearing?
A bearing is the compass direction from one point to another. A bearing always has a
unidirectional sense; for example, if the bearing from A to B is N 30 W, the bearing from
B to A can only be S 30 E. Using the Brunton compass, the correct bearing sense is from
the compass to the point sighted when the sighting arm is aimed at the point. The white
end of the needle gives the bearing directly because the E and W markings are
transposed.

To read accurate bearings, three things must be done


simultaneously:
The compass must be levelled
The point sighted must be centered exactly in the sights,
and
The needle must be brought nearly to rest.

4.3.2 Procedure of Taking a Bearing


a). When the Point sighted is from the Level of the waist or chest
When the point sighted is visible from the level of the waist or chest, the following
procedure should be used as illustrated in Fig. 4.2 A.

Diagram Fig.4.2A Compass set for taking a bearing at waist height (A) and at height of
eye (B).
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

1. Open the lid about 135o; turn the sighting arm out and turn up its hinged point
(Fig.4.2A).
2. Standing with the feet somewhat apart, hold the compass at waist height with the box
cupped in the left hand.
3. Center the bulls eye bubble, and, keeping it approximately centered, adjust the
mirror with the right hand until the point sighted and the end of the sighting arm
appear in it.
4. Holding the compass exactly level, rotate the whole compass (on an imaginary
vertical axis) until the mirror images of the point sighted and the tip of the sighting
arm are superimposed on the black axial line of the mirror.
5. Read the bearing indicated by the white end of the needle, which should be nearly at
rest.
6. After reading the bearing, check to make sure the line of sight is correct and the
compass is level.
7. Record or plot the bearing at once.

Take a walk to an open field and attempt to take the


bearing of two objects that can be sighted at the waist or
chest level.
b). When the Point sighted is from the eye level or on a steep downhill sight.
When the point sighted is visible only at eye level (see Fig. 4.2 B) or by a steep downhill
sight, the following instructions should apply.
1. Fold out the sighting arm as above, but open the lid only about 45o (Fig. 4.2B).

46

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

2. Hold the compass in the left hand at eye level, with the sighting arm pointing toward,
and about 1ft from, the right eye.
3. Level the compass approximately by observing the mirror image of the bulls eye
bubble, and, holding the compass approximately level, rotate it until the point sighted
appears in the small sighting window of the lid.
4. Holding the compass exactly level, rotate it until the point sighted and the point of the
sighting arm coincide with the axial line of the window.
5. Read the bearing mirror, double checking for alignment and level.
6. Transpose the direction of the bearing before recording or plotting it (the compass
was pointed in reverse of its bearing direction).

Take a walk to a hilly terrain and attempt to take the


bearing of two objects that can be sighted at the eye
level or on a steep downhill.

4.4. USING THE BRUNTON COMPASS AS A HAND LEVEL


The Brunton compass is converted to a hand level by setting the clinometer exactly at 0,
opening the lid 45o, and extending the sighting arm with the sighting point turned up. The
compass is held in the same way as when measuring vertical angles. It is tilted slowly
until the mirror image of the tube bubble is centered. Any point lined up with the tip of
the sighting arm and the axial line of the sighting window is now at the same elevation as
the eye of the observer. By carefully rotating the entire instrument with a horizontal
motion, a series of points that are at the same elevation can be noted.

47

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

While in a normal classroom environment, attempt to convert your


Brunton compass into a hand level. By rotating the entire instrument
with an horizontal motion, attempt to line up a series of point objects
at the same elevation level.
4.5

DIP AND STRIKE

In this section, we shall try to understand the significance of Dip and Strike. Dip and
strike are two important attitude parameters to be deduced in the field for any inclined or
layered strata.
4.5.1 Dip
What is Dip and why is it a vector quantity?

Dip is essentially an angle of inclination of the bed. It is defined as the amount of


inclination of a bed with respect to an horizontal plane. This is measured on a vertical
plane lying at right angles to the strike of the bedding (see Fig. 4.3)

Fig. 4.3 The bedding plane, strike and dip of an inclined rock outcrop
48

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

The dip of a bed has got two components, namely direction as well as magnitude. Hence
the dip of a bed is a vector quantity. The amount of dip is the angle which varies from
0 to 90 according to the disposition of the bed. The direction of dip is the geographic
direction, along which a bed has maximum slope.

In case of horizontal beds, the Dip is zero degree and for a vertical bed the Dip is 90
degrees. Accordingly the symbolic representation of a horizontal and vertical bed in a
map is also different, which may be seen from the following figures A, B, and C.

Types of Dip
There are two types of Dips, namely: (i). True Dip and (ii). Apparent Dip

(i). True Dip It is the maximum amount of slope along a line perpendicular to the
strike, in other words, it is the maximum slope with respect to the horizontal. It may also
be stated as the geographical direction along which the line of quickest descent slopes
down.
(ii). Apparent Dip Along any direction other than that of the true dip, the gradient is
scheduled to be much less and therefore it is defined as the apparent dip. The apparent
dip of any bed towards any direction must always be less than its true dip.

4.5.2 Strike

What is strike and why is it a scalar quantity?

The direction of the line along which an inclined bed intersects a horizontal plane is
known as the strike of the bed. It is a scalar quantity, as it has only one component, i.e.,
direction but not magnitude. The strike of the bed is independent of its amount of dip.

4.5.3 Importance of Dip and Strike


In structural geology, Strike and Dip are quite important for the following purposes:
49

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

(a). To determine the younger bed of formation. It is well known that younger beds will
always be found in the direction of Dip. If we go in the direction of dip, relatively beds of
younger age will be found to out-crop and older rocks in the opposite direction.

(b). In the classification, and nomenclature of folds, faults, joints and unconformities, the
nature of dip and strike is of paramount significance. Thus the attitude, which refers to
the three dimensional orientation of some geological structures, is defined by their dip
and strike.

Why is Strike and Dip important parameters in structural geology?

4.6 MEASURING STRIKE AND DIP


The strike and dip of planar geologic structures, such as bedding, faults, joints and
foliations, can be determined by several methods with the Brunton compass. Strike is
generally defined as the line of intersection between a horizontal plane and the planar
surface being measured. It is found by measuring the compass direction of a horizontal
line on the surface. Dip is the slope of the surface at right angles to the line (see Fig. 4.3).
The best method for measuring a given strike and dip depends on the nature of the
outcrop and the degree of accuracy desired. The amount of the dip, too, may affect the
choice because steeply dipping planar structures can be measured far more accurately and
easily than gently dipping ones. Special methods are needed to measure dips of less than
5o accurately.
In the section on taking bearings (Section 4.2.1), it was noted that a bearing has a
unidirectional sense and that the white ended of the compass needle must be read in all

50

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

cases. It is recommended that for measuring strike only the north half of the compass be
used, regardless of which end of the needle points there. Strikes would thereby be read as
northeast or northwest, never southeast or southwest. This helps eliminate the
occasional serious error of transposing a strike to the opposite quadrant when reading,
plotting, or recording it. These errors can occur easily where two men are working
together and calling out structural data from one to the other.

In a geological field setting, attempt the measurement of Dip and


Strike attitudes for inclined strata.

4.6.1

Where to Take Strike and Dip

Before measuring strike and dip, it must be determined whether the attitude will reliably
represent bedding. Some outcrops are not in place at all, being large boulders, blocks of
float, or segments of landslides. A general survey of the slopes around outcrops will
generally resolve such problems. If there is still some question as to the reliability of a
measurement, a question mark may be entered next to the plotted symbol or the strike
line may be broken.
Outcrops should also be examined to make certain that what is taken for bedding or
foliation is not jointing, bands of limonite staining, or some other kind of discoloration.
Changes in texture (especially grain-size) or changes in mineral composition are the best
indicators of bedding.
In massive sandstones, bedding may be shown only by the approximate planar orientation
of mica flakes, platy carbonaceous or fossil fragments, shale chips, or platy and elongate
pebbles. The possibility that bedding features in sandstones are only local cross-bedding
51

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

must be considered. The identification of bedding in metamorphic rocks may be still


more difficult, and there are a number of planar structures of igneous and metamorphic
rocks that should be identified carefully wherever they are measured and plotted.

4.7

MEASURING TREND AND PLUNGE OF LINEAR FEATURES

Trend and plunge are used to define the attitudes of linear features. The trend of a linear
feature is the compass direction of the vertical plane that includes the feature. If the
feature is horizontal, only the compass direction is needed to define its attitude. If it is not
horizontal, the trend is taken as the direction in which the feature points (plunges)
downward. The plunge is the vertical angle between the feature and a horizontal line.
To measure the trend of a linear feature, the observer stands, if possible, directly over a
surface that is parallel to the linear feature (Fig. 4.4). This surface is sometimes described
as containing the feature or as the surface on which its maximum length is seen.

Fig. 4.4 Measuring the trend of linear structures.


The observer faces in the direction in which the linear feature points downward. He
determines the bearing of this direction (the trend) by holding the compass at waist length
52

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

and looking down vertically on the feature through the slot of sighting arm. When the slot
is parallel to the trend of the feature, the bearing at the white end of the needle is read.
The trend is then plotted on the map as a line originating at the point occupied by the
observer.
To measure the plunge of the feature, the observer moves so that he is looking at right
angles to its trend (Fig. 4.4, right). The reading is taken on the trace of the linear feature
seen from this position, exactly as in taking the dip of the trace of the bed. An arrow point
is then drawn on the map at the downward plunging end of the trend line, and the amount
of plunge is lettered at the end of this arrow. For horizontal linear features, an arrow point
is drawn at both ends of the line (see Table 3.1 symbols no. 53 & 54 in the previous
lecture).
1. In a geological field setting, attempt the measurement of trend
and plunge for a linear feature.
2. Use the correct symbols for the measured trend and plunge
parameters.

4.8

CARE AND ADJUSTMENT OF THE BRUNTON COMPASS

4.8.1 Care of the Brunton compass


Remember that as a competent geologist, it is important to take a good care of your
Brunton compass or any other equipment if you are to obtain reliable data in the field.
The compass, for example, should never be carried open in the hand while walking over
rough or rocky ground. If extra mirror or glass covers are included in the field gear, these
can be replaced in the field, but if the hinges are bent or the level vials broken, the
instrument must be sent to the manufacturer for repair.
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

If the compass is used in the rain, or if it is accidentally dropped in water, it should be


opened and dried because the needle will not function properly when the bearing is wet.
The glass cover can be removed by forcing the point of a knife blade under the spring
washer that holds it in place. With the washer off, the glass cover can be lifted from the
box, and the needle taken off its bearing. The cone-shaped pit of the jewel bearing should
be cleaned and dried with a sharpened toothpick and a bit of soft cloth or soft paper. The
needle lift is then removed and the inside of the compass dried and cleaned. It is safe to
suggest that this opening and cleaning of the compass should be done by a competent
technician. More details of the serving procedure is presented by Compton (1968).

4.8.2 Adjustment of the Brunton Compass


Before a new or a borrowed compass is used in the field, it should be checked to make
certain the clinometer level is correctly set. To do this, the clinometer is set at 0, and the
compass is placed on a smooth board that has been leveled exactly with an alidade or a
good carpenters level (a bulls eye is not sufficiently accurate for this). If the tube bubble
does not come to centre, the compass is opened as described above and the clinometer
level vial moved appropriately. Ordinarily, this can be done without loosening the
clinometer set screw. The new setting is checked by placing the compass on the board
again, and the procedure repeated until the bubble is centered exactly.
In starting work in a new field area, one may find that the dip of the earths magnetic
field is so great as to cause the compass needle to rub against the glass lid when the
compass is held level. To correct this, the glass cover is removed and the copper wire coil
on the needle moved one way or the other until the needle lies level.

54

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

1. Explain why it is important to take care of your compass while in


the field.
2. Describe the procedure of adjusting a compass whose clinometer
level is not correctly set.

4.9

USE OF THE HAND LENS

Geologists often look at rocks with a small magnifier called a hand lens in order to pick
out fine details the twinning on a plagioclase crystal in gabbro or the shape of quartz
grains in sandstone, for example.
Most hand lenses consist of one or several optical elements protected by a metal or
plastic swing-out case. There are 7X, 10X, 14X, and 20X magnifiers. Geologists usually
carry a hand lens on a cord around their necks to have it handy.
When looking at a specimen through a hand lens, first bring the lens close to your eye
with one hand. Then with the other hand move the sample towered the lens until it comes
into focus. You should tilt your head back a bit so that as much light as possible falls on
the sample. Natural sunlight is preferable to incandescent or fluorescent lighting.

Give examples of the usage of the hand lens in a geological


mapping exercise.

4.10 Summary

In this lecture we have learned the various parts of the Brunton compass. We have
discussed and learned various methods and techniques of taking bearings in the field. We
55

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 4

have learned about strike and dip measurements and their primary importance in
structural geology. Further to these we have defined the trend and plunge parameters of
linear features and showed how their measurements are determined in the field. We
illustrated the symbols to be used in describing these parameters. Finally we learned
some basic procedures of taking care of the compass and how to make some physical
adjustments incase of minor faults that may be detected in a compass.

4.11 References

Compton, R.R. 1968. Manual of Field Geology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York.
378pp.

Gokhale, N.W. 2003. Theory of Structural Geology. CBS Publishers and Distributers,
New Delhi, India.

56

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 5

LECTURE 5
LABORATORY INVESTIGATIONS AND FIELD DATA
PROCESSING
LECTURE OUTLINE

Page

5.0 Introduction
5.1 Objectives
5.2 Petrography

57
58
59

5.3 The Petrographic Microscope

59
59

5.3.1 Focusing the Microscope


5.3.2 Centering the Microscope

60

5.4 Routine of Mineral Identification

61
62

5.4.1 Form and Crystallographic Properties


5.4.2 Optical Properties
5.4.3 Relative Index and Relief
5.5 Principle of Operation of chemical and X-ray Analytical methods
5.5.1

Chemical and X-ray analysis

5.5.2

Elemental analysis of Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS)

5.5.3

Elemental analysis by X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)

5.5.4

Sodium Bisulfate Fusion

5.5.5

X-ray Diffraction

5.5.6

Electron Microscopy

5.5.7

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

5.5.8

Radiography of Rock Slabs

5.6 Spherical Projections


5.6.1 Rose diagrams

66
68
70
70
71
71
72
72
73
74
75
76
77

5.7 Thin and Polished Sections Preparation

81

5.8

Summary

82

5.9

References

83

57

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

5.0

Lecture 5

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to lecture 5 of this unit. The study of rocks involves many methods, the
procedures followed depending on the nature of the rock, the purpose of the study, and
the facilities and time available. In the previous lectures you broadly learned about the
basic principles of geological mapping, the methods used in locating oneself in the field,
usage of geological equipment, sampling techniques and labeling of rock samples. The
accurate mapping and description of the rocks in the field is the basic starting point of the
study of rocks. It is equally true that all conclusions or theories regarding the origin and
relationship of rocks based upon laboratory investigations must be checked in the field.

In this lecture you will be given an overview of the basic laboratory methods and data
processing techniques commonly used in the study of rocks. More specifically you will
be introduced to the basic principles of petrographic study of rocks under the microscope
and selected geochemical and X-ray analytical techniques. You are encouraged to
undertake more detailed review of the analytical techniques discussed in this lecture as
suggested at the end of this lecture in the reference section. The extra library study will
enable you to be enriched yourself with an in-depth content of the subject matter. Indeed
the detailed description of the various analytical methods and procedures are beyond the
scope of the present lecture topic. The purpose of this lecture topic is to bring to your
awareness of the analytical techniques available for your use and to stimulate your
interest to produce relevant and quality data in your research work.

5.1

OBJECTIVES

At the end of this lecture you should be able to:


(a) Describe the principle of operation of the petrographic microscope.
(b) Determine the form and crystallographic properties of minerals
(c) Determine the optical properties of minerals using the petrographic microscope.
(d) Describe the principle of operation of chemical and X-ray analytical methods.
(e) Analyze and plot structural data using spherical projections.
(g) Describe the preparation of thin- and polished rock sections.
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

5.2

Lecture 5

PETROGRAPHY

Petrography is the description and classification of rocks. Following the field study and
mapping of rocks, the next step in their study is the preparation and examination of thin
sections. This procedure provides us with precise information regarding the mineralogy
of the rock, the proportions of the various minerals, and the texture a feature that is as
important as the mineralogy. In some instances the exact identification of the minerals
may not be possible, and the thin-section examination must be supplemented by other
methods of mineral identification, for example, accurate determination of indices of
refraction, density, x-ray diffraction, or chemical tests. In certain type of investigation, it
is often desirable also to determine the chemical composition of the rock or rocks being
studied.

5.3

THE PETROGRAPHIC MICROSCOPE

The polarizing microscope is a specialized instrument designed for the study of minerals,
rocks and inorganic crystals and aggregates. It differs from the ordinary microscope in
that it is equipped with two polarizing elements and certain other accessories (for details
refer to the Mineralogy study unit SGL 201- Principles of Mineralogy by Nyamai, 2004).

5.3.1 Focusing the Microscope


In order that the microscope may be operated with minimum eye-strain, it is essential that
it be in focus for the users eye. The first step in focusing is to remove the eye piece from
the tube; with the eye relaxed and focused at infinity (i.e., on a distant object) the eye
piece is placed in front of the eye, and the top lens (which is adjustable in good
microscopes) is moved until the cross hairs are sharply in focus. When the eye piece is
returned to the microscope and the slide on the stage is brought into focus, there should
be no strain in examining the slide. In other words, by this procedure, the microscope,
and not the eye, does the focusing. It is also desirable, in the interests of the eye comfort,
to train the eye to observe the image in the microscope with the unused eye open.

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5.3.2 Centering the Microscope


In the routine use of the microscope, the principal adjustment that has to be made is the
centering of the objective (Fig. 5.1). This is usually accomplished by the adjustment of
two centering screws at right angles to one another located on the base of the objective.
The procedure for centering is simple. A recognizable grain or object on the slide is
located at the center of the cross hair. The stage is then rotated until the grain is at its
greatest distance from the center.

Fig. 5.1 Centering of the microscope objective. A: appearance on rotation when


uncentered; B: centered.
Thereafter, the set screws are adjusted so that the grain in question is moved halfway
towards the cross hair. The process is repeated until a grain centered at the cross hair does
not wander from that position when the stage is rotated.

With a suitable petrographic microscope, attempt the following


exercise:
1. Remove the top eye piece lens form the microscope and try to
adjust until the cross hairs are sharply in focus.
2. Try to center any of the off-centered objective lens.

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5.4

Lecture 5

ROUTINE OF MINERAL IDENTIFICATION

In the study of rocks with the microscope, the first step is the identification of the
constituent minerals. The identification of minerals with the microscope is possible,
because a large number of physical properties, more or less independent of one another,
may be observed. The greater the number of such observations that can be made, the
greater the likelihood that each mineral will have its own distinctive characteristics. The
general sequence of observations under the microscope should take the form as tabulated
in Table 5.1.

Table 5.1 General sequence of petrographic observations under the microscope.

No.

Description

1.

Form and Crystallographic properties

2.

a. Crystal form if developed


b. Cleavage, parting, or fracture: number of cleavages and angular
relationships to one another, perfection of cleavage,
characteristics of parting and fracture.
c. Shape of grain, if distinctive (fibrous, acicular, bladed,
radiating, reticulate, tabular, platy).
d. Inclusions, intergrowths, alteration, association with other
minerals.
b. Twinning.
Optical Properties
a. Opaque minerals: color by reflected light
b. Transparent or translucent minerals
Color and pleochroism
Relative index and relief
c. Examination under crossed nicols
Isotropic or anisotropic
In anisotropic minerals, interference colors and
determination of birefringence
Extinction angle.
Determination if length-slow or length fast
d. Information from interference figure
Uniaxial or biaxial; sign, whether positive or negative

If Biaxial; optic angle, dispersion, orientation of optic


plane, determination of pleochroic formula.

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5.4.1 Form and Crystallographic Properties


5.4.1.1

Crystal Form

The crystal form is very useful in the recognition of those minerals that characteristically
show well-developed faces. Examples of such minerals include pyrite, chromite, garnet,
leucite, olivine, zircon, apatite, sphene, rutile, tourmaline, and staurolite. Many minerals,
notably the amphiboles, usually exhibit a distinctive prismatic form, although they do not
commonly have terminations, so that completely closed crystal forms are not usual.

It is important to note that although crystal forms are often displayed by the above
minerals, the two-dimensional nature of the thin section results in only random sections
of the crystal (Fig. 5. 2) Thus, an isometric mineral may appear in this section as a
hexagonal figure (many garnets, leucite, etc.), an octagonal, square, rectangular, or even
triangular shape (e.g., some sections of pyrite crystals). Similarly, apatite may appear as
a hexagon, a rectangle, or even a square.

Fig. 5.2. Form of some euhedral crystals as seen in thin sections. A: pyrite; B: magnetite;
C: chromite; D: garnet; E: olivine; F: hornblende; G: sphene; H: tourmaline; I: albite.

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5.4.1.2

Lecture 5

Cleavage and Parting

Cleavage
Other crystallographic characteristics, such as cleavage, are of great value in the
identification of minerals. Some minerals, such as mica, epidote, chlorite, talc, brucite,
chloritoids, sillimanite, prehnite, and topaz, exhibit only one direction of cleavage.
Others possess two; in such instances the angle between the cleavages is significant.
Hornblende has two cleavages intersecting at 56o; orthoclase, pyroxene, scapolite, and
andalusite have cleavages intersecting at right angles; those of plagioclase and microcline
intersect at a little less than 90o.
Measurement of angles between cleavages can be a useful identification technique,
particularly in the distinction between amphiboles e.g., hornblende (two cleavages at 124
degrees) and pyroxenes e.g., augite (two cleavages at nearly 90 degrees). Figure 5.3
illustrates the two characteristic cleavages.

Figure 5.3 (a) Sections normal to c-axis in augite, showing the two cleavages nearly at
right angles to each other; (b) a similar section of hornblende showing cleavages at 124
degrees.
Sections not at right angles to the cleavage directions but oblique to them will show
angles smaller than the true angle. Random sections of minerals possessing two cleavage
directions may show only one. Prismatic sections of hornblende, pyroxene, andalusite,
and scapolite will show only one direction of cleavage, although in certain of these
sections focusing up and down will reveal that some of the cleavage planes dip one way,
some another.

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Lecture 5

Using the petrographic microscope, distinguish and identify grains


of hornblende and pyroxene based on their distinct cleavage
pattern.
NB. Thin section specimens will be provided by the instructor.

Parting
Parting is a characteristic property of many minerals. In some minerals (e.g., pyroxene,
spinel, and corundum), it is difficult to distinguish parting from cleavage in thin section.
In other minerals, such as pyroxene (bronzite and diallage) and amphibole, it differs from
cleavage in having finite width and more definite, regular appearance, as if drawn with a
ruler on the grain showing it. It is often marked by the presence of inclusions or
alteration.
Fracturing may be a distinctive feature to aid in the identification of some minerals. Thus,
quartz may exhibit conchoidal fracturing, and olivine grains frequently are cut by curving
fractures.

What is the main difference between cleavage and parting in minerals?

5.4.1.3

Shape of Grains, Intergrowths and Inclusions

Shape of Grains
The shape of grains is characteristic of certain minerals. Zeolites, such as natrolite, occur
in radiating acicular crystals; chrysotile occurs in fibrous form; serpentine is in masses of
reticulating fibers and fibrous veins; a variety of sillimanite (fibrolite) occurs in irregular
clumps of fibrous crystals; kyanite and wollastonite occur often in bladed form; prehnite
and chloritoid frequently display a bladed form with bow-tie structure; tabular habits
are characteristic of ilmenite crystals, tridymite, and many feldspar crystals; micas,
chlorites, talc, brucite, graphite, and clay minerals occur in platy of flaky crystals. Figure
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Lecture 5

5.4 illustrates a contrast shown between well-formed tabular grains of biotite and wellformed prismatic grains of apatite as they appear in thin section.

Figure 5.4 Shape in thin section of (a) tabular biotite contrasted with (b) prismatic
apatite.

Intergrowths
Intergrowths maybe of considerable value in rapid identification of some minerals.
Perthitic intergrowths are of great use in distinguishing potash feldspar from sodic
plagioclase (see Fig. 5.5).

Figure 5.5 (A) -Perthitic-structure in alkali feldspar ( X 50); and in (B) - Calcic
plagioclase showing characteristic broad lamellae of albite twins (X 30) Crossed nicols.

Micrographic and myrmekitic intergrowths most commonly are indicative of quartz and
alkali feldspar, and quartz and plagioclase, respectively (see Fig. 5.6)

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Lecture 5

Fig. 5.6 A Microgaphic texture showing an intergrowth of quartz and alkali feldspar
(X20, XPL); B Myrmekitic texture - patches of plagioclase intergrown with vermicular
quartz. The intergrowth if often wart-like in shape (X37, XPL).

Inclusions
Characteristically arranged inclusions are helpful in the recognition of leucite and the
chiastolite variety of andalusite. Inclusions with pleochroic halos are distinctive for
varieties of biotite and the mineral cordierite.

5.4.1.4

Twinning

Twinning when present is very useful in the recognition of such minerals as microcline,
plagioclase (for example see Fig. 5.5 B), cordierite, calcite and dolomite, rutile, leucite,
and Staurolite. Twinning is, of course, found in many other minerals, but in the ones
listed it has a definite diagnostic value. In rutile and staurolite it is readily apparent in
plane light; in the others mentioned it is most easily observed under crossed nicols, when
the twinned character become obvious due to differing optical orientation.

5.4.2 Optical Properties


5.4.2.1

Opaque Minerals

In this section, opaque minerals are studied by reflected light.

Except in specially

prepared sections, this is carried out by observing the slide under low or medium power,
with the light cut off from below by blocking the mirror with the hand. The colour of the

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Lecture 5

reflected light, whether grey, yellow, bronze, blue, etc., and the luster, whether metallic,
glassy, porcelaneous, etc., are characteristic (see Fig. 5.7).

Figure 5.7 Diagrammatic representation of a polished section of a sample of lead ore.


Transparent phases, e.g. fluorite (A), barite (B), and the mounting resin (D) appear dark
grey. Their brightness depends on their refractive index. The fluorite is almost black.
Absorbing phases (opaque), e.g. galena (C), appear white. Holes, pits and cracks appear
black. Scratches appear as long straight or curving lines. They are quite abundant in the
galena, which is soft, and scratches easily.
When, as with galena, there is a well-developed cleavage, cleavage planes will often
brilliantly reflect the light in certain positions as the stage is rotated. Certain minerals,
such as chromite and hematite, are normally opaque but are translucent in thin edges.
Therefore, this edges, for instance where the grain wedges are against another transparent
mineral should be examined carefully to make sure that the mineral is completely opaque.
Small opaque grains, however, sometimes appear to have colored edges, due to chromatic
aberration of the lens. If slightly out of focus, small grains of magnetite, for example,
may appear to have slightly greenish or brownish edges. This effect may be avoided by
careful focusing.

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5.4.2.2

Lecture 5

Non-Opaque Minerals

If the mineral is transparent or translucent, the first step is the determination of the colour
of the mineral. The colours of minerals in thin sections are much less diverse than those
of the hand specimen. Many minerals that appear pink, green, yellow, blue, or even black
may be completely colourless, or nearly so, in normal thin section. Some minerals are
sometimes colorless, sometimes distinctively colored (hypersthenes, andalusite, epidote,
corundum), whereas others are almost always coloured (biotite, hornblende, aegerine,
most varieties of tourmaline, peidmontite, sapphirine, to mention a few).
Coloured anisotropic minerals show a change in colour on rotation of the microscope
stage, when viewed in plane-polarized light. As will be seen subsequently, certain
sections of such minerals will, however, not change colour in this way. This property of
pleochroism is diagnostic of certain minerals.

5.4.3 Relative Index and Relief


5.4.3.1

Relative Index

One of the most useful methods of identifying transparent minerals is the use of the index
of refraction. This may be done in two ways. The most convenient is the relative index
of minerals to balsam or other embedding medium or to known minerals in the section.
More specific and precise is the accurate determination of the index or indices of the
mineral by comparison with liquids of accurately known indices of refraction e.g., using
the Becke Test technique as outlined here below:

Becke Test
This test, made with plane-polarized light, is basic to most index determinations.
This test is best carried out with a medium-power objective lens and with the substage diaphragm partially closed. Under these conditions, the boundary of the
mineral grain or crystal will be found to be marked by a narrow line of brightness,
which is known as the Becke line. When the tube of the microscope is moved
upwards with the focusing screw, it is found that this line moves into the mineral
or medium with the higher index. This test may be performed on grains embedded
in index liquids, on grains in contact with balsam, or at the contact between two
mineral grains.

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In refractive index relative or comparative test, the Becke line effect (see Figure 5.8),
helps to tell whether the refractive index of the liquid is higher or lower than that of the
mineral.

Figure 5.8 The Becke Line. After careful focusing, upon raising the tube of the
microscope (or lowering the stage), the Becke line moves into the medium with the
higher index (a), (b), (c).

5.4.3.2

Relief

Relief is the distinctness with which a mineral stand out from the embedding medium
when observed in plane light under the microscope. It is dependent on the difference in
index between the mineral and the medium. If the mineral has an index near that of the
medium, it shows low relief, its outlines do not stand out strongly, and the surface of the
mineral appears clear and smooth. If the index of the mineral is much higher or much
lower than that of the enclosing medium, it appears to stand out strongly in relief, its
borders are dark, and the surface has a rough, pebbly appearance.

Thus, for example, the surfaces of sphene, garnet and olivine, which have much higher RI
than the resin, appear rough whereas the surface of quartz and feldspar, which has almost
the same RI as the resin (1.54), is smooth and virtually impossible to detect (Figure 5.9).
Full advantage of the relief effect can be obtained only by examining the section with the
diaphragm partially closed.

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Lecture 5

Figure 5.9. Illustration of relief in thin sections. The diamond shaped section of sphene
shows very high relief. Beside it is biotite, which shows high relief, and a conspicuous
cleavage while the remainder of the photograph is occupied by quartz and feldspar, both
of which have low relief. X 100. Plane polarized light.

5.5 PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION OF CHEMICAL AND X-RAY


ANALYTICAL METHODS
5.5.1 Chemical and X-ray Analyses
Noting the fact that the science of mineral chemistry and rocks is based on the knowledge
of the composition of minerals, it is important to understand the possibilities and
limitations of chemical analyses of minerals and rock samples.

A quantitative chemical analysis, no matter how it is made, aims to identify the elements
present and to determine their relative amounts. It is therefore imperative that an analysis
has to be complete. In other words, all elements should be determined, and the amounts
determined should correspond with to the amounts actually present. The degree of
accuracy depends on the method employed and the quality of the work of the analyst. It is
important to bear in mind that even the best methods have a margin of error.

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Lecture 5

In the statement of an analysis, the amounts of elements present are expressed in


percentages by weight. Therefore, the complete analysis of a mineral or rock should total
100 percent. However, in practice, as a consequence of limitations of accuracy, a
summation of exactly 100 percent is fortuitous. Generally a summation of between 99.5
and 100.5 is considered a good analysis.

The details of interpretation of chemical analyses of minerals and rocks falls beyond the
scope of the lecture unit, but the methodology can be referenced from a number of
mineralogical textbooks (e.g. Berry et al., 1983; Nyamai 2004). In the subsequent subsections, we shall discuss the principle of operation of a number of chemical and x-ray
analytical techniques.

5.5.2

Elemental analysis by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS)

This method is used to measure the atomic concentration of minerals. It is based on the
fact that the unexcited atoms are able to absorb radiation from an external source. The
degree of absorptivity can be measured and serves as the basis of the analysis. The
radiation from a hollow cathode tube is passed through a flame into which the sample in
solution is aspirated. The tube is usually filled by a low pressure of a noble gas. An
application of about 100-200 V produces a glow discharge from the tube. This radiation
consists of discrete lines of the metal under analysis. (NB. Each element scheduled for
analysis has its own analytical lamp.) The desired line can be isolated by means of a
monochromator. The power of the line is sharply reduced by the absorbing atoms in the
flame. The peak heights are measured.

5.5.3 Elemental analysis by X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)


X-ray fluorescence interprets the characteristic radiation emitted by the elements of the
sample upon excitation. The analysis is element sensitive. It provides information about
the elemental composition of the sample.

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Lecture 5

5.5.4 Sodium Bisulfate Fusion


This is a new wet chemical technique whose purpose is to isolate the quartz and feldspar
grains from the mass of clay minerals and other substances in typical mudrocks. Pea-size
fragments of the sample are fused over a Bunsen burner in sodium bisulfate. The only
materials that survive are quartz and feldspars, which are almost completely unaffected in
either composition or grain size. These grains can then be analyzed petrographically.

5.5.5 X-ray Diffraction


This method of analysis is used for mineral identification and is particularly useful when
the particles are small (for example, clays) that the petrographic microscope is not
effective. The sample is powdered, mounted on a glass slide, and bombarded with Xrays. The X-rays are diffracted by planes of atoms in the crystal structure and a pattern is
produced on a paper chart (see Figure 5.10).

The chart (diffractogram) is a plot of diffraction angle versus intensity of diffracted


radiation and reveals the interplanar spacings of the mineral and, in turn, its crystal
structure. This is the best method for identifying the various types of clays in a rock. It is
sometimes used in conjunction with differential thermal analysis (DTA), a technique in
which the sample is heated in a furnace to determine the temperatures at which water or
carbon dioxide is released. Different temperatures are characteristic of different minerals.

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Lecture 5

Fig. 5.10. X-ray diffraction pattern of an unoriented mixture of quartz, kaolinite and illite.
Differences in peak height among the three minerals result from the combined effects of
differences in crystal structures and orientation of grains on the glass slide. Labels show
the lattice plane that produces the particular peak and the distance between these lattice
planes. is the reflection angle at which the X-ray wavelengths are in phase. (After
Ehlers and Blatt, 1999).

5.5.6 Electron Microscope


This instrument provides a means of determining the chemical composition of very small
volumes at the surface of polished thin sections or grain mounts. An electron beam is
focused on the area of interest, which can be as small as 1 m in diameter. The impact of
the beam on the sample causes the emission of X-rays whose wavelengths are
characteristic of the elements present in the area hit by the beam. The intensity of the Xrays reveals the concentration of the element (see Fig. 5.11). This technique is
sufficiently sensitive to determine concentrations of trace elements as well as of major
elements in the sample.

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Lecture 5

Fig. 5.11 Electron microprobe scans of shale, Quebec, Canada. This patch of micro- to
cryptocrystalline pyrite was not visible using only a polarizing microscope. A.
Distribution of iron (white dots). B. Distribution of sulfur. (after Ehlers and Blatt, 1999).

5.5.7 Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)


This instrument is used for both textural and mineralogic determinations. A piece of the
rock perhaps a centimeter in diameter is coated under vacuum with a gold-palladium
mixture. The coated specimen is them bombarded by electrons, which are scattered by
the gold-palladium coating to produce the detailed topography of the fragment.
Magnifications of 50,000X with excellent resolution and great depths of field are easily
obtained (see Fig. 5.12), and enlargements of 100,000X are possible with somewhat

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Lecture 5

diminished but quite usable resolution. X-ray attachments to the SEM are commonly
used and permit at least semi-quantitative element analyses of the sample.

Fig.5.12. Scanning electron microscope of the Pritchard Shale, New Mexico. The fissility
clearly results from parallelism of clay mineral flakes. A 300X; B 1,000X; C: 5,000X.
(Diagram after Ehlers and Blatt 1999, p.292).

5.5.8 Radiography of Rock Slabs


Many fine grained rocks (for example, mudrocks, shale, slates etc) appear structure-less
in outcrop (or in the small chip of rock present in thin section) but may contain
sedimentary structures too subtle to be visible with the naked eye. These can be made
visible by the use of X-ray radiography (see Fig. 5.13).

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Lecture 5

Fig. 5.13. (A) Polished slice of core and (B) positive print of X-radiograph of Berea
Sandstone, Illinois. Only vague banding is visible on the polished slab, but X-radiation
reveals an apparent dip of 10o, scour and fill, and cross bedding. (After Ehlers and Blatt,
1999).
In this technique, a slab of mudrock for example, 15 cm long, 10 cm wide, and 0.5 cm
thick is cut perpendicular to bedding and placed directly on X-ray film. A photograph is
taken using either a medical, dental, or industrial X-ray unit. Previously obscure features
such as root tubules, organic burrows, and slump features, and subtle laminations are
clearly visible because textural and mineralogical variations in a rock affect the
penetration of the X-rays.

5.6

SPHERICAL PROJECTIONS

Structures can be analyzed statistically on spherical projections when they can not be
mapped to scale. These analyses have the ultimate purpose of interpreting deformational
movements. In this section we shall discuss the construction and application of rose
diagrams as an example of spherical projections used in analyzing geological data sets
and problems.
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Lecture 5

5.6.1 Rose Diagrams


Where the attitude of planes is not fully determinable, for instance where the strike is
readily seen in aerial photographs of strongly jointed rocks but the dip cannot be
determined, it is convenient to use a type of statistical diagram referred to as a Rose
diagram. In geology, rose diagrams have been used primarily for:

Representing joints in structural work

To explain the frequency of lineation in a given orientation

Palaeocurrent Analysis in sedimentary basins (e.g. measurement of cross-bedding


foreset azimuths).

For the purpose of this lecture, we shall consider a generalized procedure in constructing
rose diagrams using joints and faults as structural examples.

5.6.1.1 Joints
All joints occurring in a given sector of the compass circle, say with 10 o or 5o, are
counted, and a radial line is drawn representing them, in the median bearing of each
sector. The length of the radial line is determined by a scale of concentric circles, and
often is shown as the number of joints occurring in each sector. The rose diagram is
completed by joining the ends of the lines representing the joints, and may be made more
obvious by shading (e.g. Fig 5.14). Prominent joint directions may then be clearly
revealed, and a series of roses, each for a given sector of a region, will show changes in
the trend and number of joints from place to place (see Fig. 5.15).

Fig. 5.14 Construction of a joint rose

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Lecture 5

Fig. 5.15 Regional pattern of jointing shown by roses. (Diagram after Hills, 1983).

Regional mapping of joints will generally reveal a geometrical relationship to faults,


folds, warps, intrusions, and other tectonic elements that will suggest genetic connections
with the stress-distribution and strain-pattern in a given area. Master joints, which
penetrate several strata and persist for long distances (see Fig. 5.16), are important in
regional tectonic analysis, while the minor joints related to local structures and to a
particular strata are of interest in detailed structural interpretation.

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Fig. 5.16 Aerial photograph of joint set in Sandstone, Wonderland Range, Australia.
(Inset - Note the majorly NE-SW trend of the master joints and the minor NW-SE trends
exemplified by the rose diagram). Diagram after Hills, 1983.
5.6.1.2

Faults

Similar roses may be drawn for faults representing their direction of dip, where the
exposures may mainly be in road or railway cuttings. The fault diagram shown in Fig.
5.17 demonstrates the predominance of fault dips in the SW NW sector.

Fig. 5.17 Fault Dip roses in strongly folded Silurian rocks.


5.6.1.3 Palaeocurrent Analysis
The following cross-bedding foreset azimuths have been measured within the Baraka
sandstone outcrops in a Gondwana coal basin. Work out the mean Palaeocurrent
direction.
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Lecture 5

The directions measured are: 5o, 25o, 45o, 48o, 50o, 315o, 322o, 330o, 332o, 335o, 336o,
337o, 338o, 342o, 352o.
Solution:
A statistical number of observations (i.e. frequency) of the data sets are presented in
Table 5.2.
Table 5.2: Directional data of Baraka sandstone.
Interval

Midpoint

No. of observations

0o-19o

9.5o

40o 59o

49.5o

300o 319o

309.5o

320o 339o

329.5o

340o 359o

349.5o

20 39

Total

29.5

16

A graphical presentation (circular histogram) of the directional data presented in Table


5.2 is shown in Figure 5.

Fig. 5.18: Circular histogram (rose diagram) of the directional data shown in Table 5.2.
The arrow indicates direction of the resultant vector.( Diagram after Sengupta, 2008).
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5.7

Lecture 5

THIN- AND POLISHED-SECTION PREPARATIONS

Thin sections are prepared by cementing thin slices of rock to glass and carefully
grinding using carborundum grit to produce a paper-thin layer of rock. The standard
thickness of 30 microns is estimated using the interference colours of known minerals in
the section. A cover slip is finally cemented on top of the layer of rock (Figure 5.19).

Figure 5.9. Thin- and polished sections (After Nyamai, 2004).

The three common types of polished section are shown in Figure 5.9. Preparation of a
polished surface of a rock or ore sample is a rather involved process that involves usually
five stages, namely:

Cutting the sample with a diamond saw

Mounting the sample on glass or in a cold-setting resin


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Grinding the surface flat using carborundum grit and water on a glass or a metal
surface

Polishing the surface using diamond grit and an oily lubricant on a relatively hard
paper lap.

Buffing the surface using gamma alumina powder and water as lubricant on a
relatively soft cloth lap.

There are many variants of the procedure described for thin- and
polished section preparation, and the details usually depend on the
nature of the samples and the polishing materials, and equipment that
happen to be available. Whatever the method used, the objective is a
flat, relief-free, scratch-free polished surface.

5.8

Summary

In this lecture you have learned that the study of rocks involves many methods, and the
procedures followed depend on the nature of the rock, the purpose of the study, and the
facilities and time available. In particular you have learned the principle of operation of
the petrographic microscope and how to determine the form, crystallographic and optical
properties of minerals.
We learned about the principles of operation of the major X-ray and chemical methods of
rock analyses. These methods included the X-ray fluorescence (XRF), atomic absorption
spectroscopy (AAS), X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, scanning electron
microscopy and radiography of rock slabs among others. In this lecture we also learned
how structures can be analyzed statistically using spherical projections with the ultimate
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 5

purpose of understanding their characteristic deformational movements. Finally we


learned how thin sections are prepared by cementing thin slices of rock to glass and
carefully grinding using carborundum grit to produce a paper-thin layer of rock.

5.9 References

Berry, LG., Mason, B. and Dietrich, R.V. 1983. Mineralogy: Concepts, Descriptions and
Determinations. W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco, 561 pp.
Ehlers, E.G. and Blatt, H. (1999). Petrology: Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic.
CBS Publishers & Distributors, p289.

Hills, E.S. (1983). Elements of Structural Geology. Chapman and Hall Publishers, pp
502.

Nyamai, C.M. (2004). Principles of Mineralogy Lecture Series, Nairobi University Press,
pp 125.
Sengupta, S.M. (2008). Introduction to Sedimentology. 2nd Ed. CBS Publishers &
Distributers, India.

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological mapping

Lecture 6

LECTURE 6
USE AND INTERPRETATION OF AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS I
__________________________________________________________________________

LECTURE OUTLINE
6.0 Introduction
6.1 Objectives
6.2 The Use of Aerial Photographs
6.3 Nature of Aerial Photographs
6.3.1 Fiducial Marks
6.3.2 Principal Points

Page
84
85
85
86
86

6.3.3 Laps and Stereo-modal

6.4
6.5
6.6

Stereoscopy and Stereoscopes


Interpretation of Geology Using Stereoscopes
Relief and Tone

87
88
88
90
91

6.7

Lineament

93

6.8

Summary

94

6.9

References

95

6.3.4 Scales of Photographs

6.0

INTRODUCTION

As we have already discussed in Lecture 1 (section 1.4), aerial photographs are important in
the interpretation of the geology of a given project area. Aerial photographs refer to photos
taken from the air with a camera pointing vertically downwards at the time of exposure.
These photographs provide a three dimensional overall view of the ground at almost any
scale demanded by the user.

In this lecture, you will learn the important uses of aerial photographs. You will be
introduced to the nature and characteristic features of aerial photographs. You will learn not
only how to use stereoscopes the equipment used to aid in the study of aerial photographs
but also how the tone and relief features of a photograph assist in the interpretation of the
geology of a given terrain.

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological mapping

6.1

Lecture 6

OBJECTIVES

Objectives
At the end of this lecture you should be able to:
(a). Outline uses of aerial photographs
(b). Describe important features of aerial photographs
(c). Describe the concept of stereoscopy and the optical system of mirror stereoscopes.
(d). Explain how the stereoscope can be used to interpret the geology of a given region using
tone and relief variation features.
(e). Identify lineaments in aerial photograph

6.2

IMPORTANCE OF AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS

Aerial photographs provide a three dimensional overall view of the ground at almost any
scale demanded by the user. This property makes aerial photographs to be of great value for
the following activities.
(i)

Topographical mapping

(ii)

Regional geological mapping

(iii)

Regional soil mapping

(iv)

Forestry Resources

(v)

Land use studies

(vi)

Military intelligence

(vii)

Archaeology and civil engineering studies

Aerial photographs are taken from the air with a camera pointing vertically downwards at the
time of exposure. Other types of aerial photographs include:
(i)

high oblique

(ii)

low oblique (both taken by a tilted camera).


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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological mapping

6.3

Lecture 6

NATURE OF AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS

Aerial photographs are characterised by several features and these are illustrated in the
diagram below (Fig. 6.1) and described in subsequent section.

Fig. 6.1 Common features in aerial photographs.

6.3.1 Fiducial Marks


The fiducial marks, which are center points indicated on the corners or edges of the
photographs (see Fig 6.1), are imprints of index marks that are rigidly connected with the
camera lens. One of their purposes is to define the position of the principal point (Fig 6.1). If
straight lines are drawn between opposite fiducial marks they intersect at the principal point.
The fiducial marks can be of various designs. They are located either in the corners or along
the edges of the photographs.

6.3.2 Principal Points


A principal point refers to the geometric center of the aerial photograph (Fig. 6.1). This is the
foot of the perpendicular from the interior perspective centre to the plane of the photograph.
It is often referred as the center point.

Each photograph should have recorded on it the following features:


(i)

flight number and path number if any

(ii)

flying height of plane


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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological mapping

(iii)

focal length of the camera lens

(iv)

date of photography

(v)

country represented

Lecture 6

List importance features usually recorded in aerial photographs

6.3.3 Laps and Stereo-modal


Aerial photographs are taken to give an over-lap of often 60% (see Fig. 6.2), such that when
the resulting two adjoining photos are inspected using a stereoscope, they give an apparently
solid modal of the ground. The observed solid modal of the ground inspected is known as the
stereo modal. An overlap of 60% is preferred for adjoining photos taken along the same
flight line. In this overlap, every point on the ground is represented on at least 2 consecutive
photographs.

Fig. 6.2. Aerial photograph taken with an overlap of 60%.

In the diagram (Fig. 6.2), B is the air base i.e. the distance between air stations. This
controls the size of the overlap. On the other hand, a side-lap of about 30% is preferred (see
Fig. 6.3) for photos taken along parallel flight lines when a large block of ground is
photographed.

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological mapping

Lecture 6

Fig. 6.3 Aerial photography taken with a side-lap of 30%.

6.3.4 Scales of Photographs


Although the many different users of aerial photographs do not require the same type of
photography, the optimum scales for photo geological work is usually as follows:
(i) 1:20,000

- for detailed work

(ii) 1:40,000

- for regional work

(iii) 1:50,000
(iv) 1:80,000

for rapid reconnaissance work

It is known that in very small scales (1:80,000 or smaller), not only are many structures
overlooked, but also the notation of the prints becomes difficult. In large-scale prints (e.g.,
1:10,000 or larger) photo geological interpretation can be very difficult.

6.4

STEREOSCOPY AND STEREOSCOPES

Stereoscopy is a three dimensional perception obtained with the aid of a stereoscope


equipment. The act of perception is a mental process: the mind invents a modal to fit the data
that it has been provided. This is what happens in stereoscopy. A three-dimensional
interpretation of the area covered by aerial photographs is perceived with the help of
stereoscopes. In order to get a stereoscopic vision of a certain area, most geologists use
either:
(i)

Pocket stereoscopes (Fig. 6.4) or

(ii)

A mirror stereoscope (Fig. 6.5) normally kept in the office.


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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological mapping

Lecture 6

Pocket stereoscope

Adjustable eye base to suit the user


Eye lens

Photographs

Fig. 6.4 -Simple sketch of pocket stereoscopes 2 lenses

A pocket stereoscope (Fig. 6.4) consists of two eye lenses with an adjustable eye base to suit
the user, and two metallic stands.

Mirror Stereoscope
The optical system for mirror stereoscopes is illustrated in Fig. 6.5. In the large mirror
stereoscopes, light rays from photographs are reflected first by large surface silvered mirrors
set at 45o to the horizontal and again by small surface silvered mirrors set parallel to the large
ones. After reflection by the small mirrors, the rays are parallel again to their original
direction (i.e., were vertical) and are separated by a distance determined by the separation of
the small mirrors. The separation of the photographs is either adjustable or preset to
approximate the eye base of the average observer. From the optical system described above,
it can also be noted that the separation of the photographs when they are set for stereoscopic
viewing is determined by the separation of the large mirrors.

89

Lecture 6

Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological mapping

Mirror Stereoscope
Eyes
Lens

Large mirror

Large mirror

Small mirrors

Photo 1

Photo 2

Fig. 6.5 A sketch diagram showing the optical system of mirror stereoscopes

6.5

GENERAL INTERPRETATION OF GEOLOGY USING STEREOSCOPES

The information on a single black and white photograph is recorded largely by variations on
tone. Another interpretive criterion besides tone is the relief of the stereo model. Hence,
many data can be represented to the viewer by a combination of relief and tonal variations
than any of these criteria separately. Tone and relief factors will be explained in the
following section.
Field- and photo-geological mapping differ in the sense that the latter has two stages of
interpretation whereas the former has only one. This is because the photo-geologist first has
to interpret in the aerial photographs the under-mentioned geological data before going to the
actual field area. This interpretation involves the following features:
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological mapping

(i)

Land forms

(ii)

Man-made lines

(iii)

Structurally controlled lines

(iv)

Vegetation

(v)

Rock outcrop boundaries

(vi)

Rock outcrop texture etc.

Lecture 6

After the photo-geologist has interpreted the above features, he then relates them to
geological structures and lithology observed in the given project area. A field mapper on the
other hand (one who deduces data directly in the field) only sees landforms and outcrops
directly. Thus he has only one stage of interpretation.

6.6

RELIEF AND TONE

Relief on a stereo modal indicates relative resistance of rocks to erosion for example a
peridotite dyke intruding different rock units may portray a negative relief feature in one
rock unit but a positive feature in another unit. In addition more resistance rock units may
form ridges or hills (positive relief) and the more easily erodable ones may form sections of
negative relief (see Fig. 6.6).

Fig. 6.6. Positive and Negative relief features.

Tone is the quality of the photograph in terms of brightness, darkness etc. On any particular
print, the relative tonal values of features are important in photo-geological interpretation.
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Lecture 6

ACTIVITY
Using a suitable illustration, distinguish relief and tone as used in
aerial photography.

The tone in a photograph can be affected by:

Nature of the rock photographed

Light conditions

Characteristics of the film

Influences of filters, and

Effects of processing

However, the following are important features to note about the tone of geological
interpretations:
(i)

The tone of the photograph image of an intrusion is related to its composition. The
more basic intrusions produce the darker tones.

(ii)

Among the bedded rocks, chalk, limestone, sandstones, and quartzschist tend to
photograph in a light tone. The other types of rocks of intermediate mineral
composition may photograph as follows:
- mudstones
- shales
- slates

photograph in intermediate tones

- micaceous schists
While rocks of basic (mafic) mineral compositions e.g., amphibolites and gabbros usually
photograph in dark tones.

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological mapping

Lecture 6

List factors that can affect the photographic tone of geological


materials.
The photographic appearance of rocks is affected by the following factors:
(i)

Climate

(ii)

Vegetation cover

(iii)

Soil cover

(iv)

Absolute rate of erosion

(v)

Relative rate of erosion of the rocks compared with that of the surrounding country
rock

(vi)

Colour and reflectivity

(vii)

Its composition

(viii)

Physical characteristics

(ix)

Depth of erosion

(x)

Structure

(xi)

Texture

(xii)

Factor inherent in types of photography and the conditions under which the
photograph was obtained.

6.7

LINEAMENT

A lineament is any line on an aerial photograph that is structurally controlled and for photo
geologic purposes includes any alignment of separate images such as: stream beds; trees and
vegetation such as bushes. The term can also be applied to beds, lithological horizons,
mineral banding, veins, faults, unconformities, joints and weak boundaries. However, manmade and human activity features such as:

railways;
roads ;
paths;

are not included in the term lineament

animal tracks and


field boundaries
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological mapping

Lecture 6

ACTIVITY
(a).

Study relevant aerial photographs and make repeated comparisons of the stereo
models with the ground observations.

(b).

Compare good quality geological maps of other areas with relevant aerial
photographs.

6.8

Summary

SUMMARY

In this lecture we noted that aerial photographs provide a three dimensional overall view of
the ground, and that this property makes them to be of great value for topographical
mapping, regional geological mapping, regional soil mapping, forestry resources, land use
studies, military intelligence, and archaeology and civil engineering studies among others.
Among the important features recorded in aerial photographs include the flight and path
number, flying height of the plane, focal length of the camera lens, date of photography, and
the country represented.

We also noted that aerial photographs are taken to give an over-lap or side lap of 60% and
30% respectively. Such overlaps ensures that when two adjoining photos are inspected using
a stereoscope, they give an apparently solid modal of the ground. A stereoscope assists in
obtaining a three-dimensional interpretation of the area covered by aerial photographs.

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Lecture 6

The information on a single black and white photograph is recorded largely by a combination
of relief and tonal variations. Relief on a stereo modal indicates relative resistance of rocks
to erosion. On the other hand, we noted that tone is the quality of the photograph in terms of
brightness and darkness. The tone of the photograph image of a geologic intrusion is related
to its composition. The more basic (or mafic) intrusions produce the darker tones and the
more acidic rock types (or felsic) such as chalk, limestone, sandstones, and quartzschist tend
to photograph in a light tone.

Finally we learned that a lineament is any line on an aerial photograph that is structurally
controlled and for photo geologic purposes includes any alignment of separate images such
as: stream beds, trees and vegetation. The term can also be applied to beds, lithological
horizons, mineral banding, veins, faults, unconformities, joints and weak boundaries.
However, it was made clear that man-made and human activity features such as railways;
roads, paths, animal tracks and field boundaries are not included in the term lineament.

6.9

References

REFERENCES

Montgomery, C.W. 1989. Environmental Geology. 2nd Edition. Wm. C. Brown Publishers,
Dubuque, Iowa. 476pp.

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 7

LECTURE 7
USE AND INTERPRETATION OF AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHS - II
____________________________________________________________________

LECTURE OUTLINE
7.0 Introduction
7.1 Objectives
7.2
Structures
7.2.1 Bedding
7.2.2 Dip
7.2.3 Foliation

Page
96
97
97
98
98
99
100

7.2.4 Folds
7.2.5 Faults
7.2.6 Joints
7.3

Lithological boundaries
7.3.1 Delineation o Rock Boundaries

104
104
105
105

7.3.2 Lithological Interpretation

105

7.4

Generalized Photo-geological Legend

106

7.5

Sediments and Meta-sediments

108

7.6

Intrusive Rocks

109

7.7

Extrusive Rocks

109

7.8

Superficial Deposits

110

7.8.1 Superficial cover


7.8.2 Residual cover
7.9

Summary

111

7.10

References

113

7.0

INTRODUCTION

In the previous lecture, you have learned important uses and features of aerial photographs.
Using the pocket or mirror stereoscope, you learned how you could use the combination of
relief and tonal variations in photographs to interpret the general geology of a given area.
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 7

Equipped with that knowledge, you are now ready to carry out the interpretation of aerial
photographs for various structures and lithologies occurring in the field. Lecture 7 will
provide you with the knowledge of how to recognize and interpret structures like beddings,
dips, foliations, folds, faults, joints and other lithological characteristics in aerial
photographic images.

You will learn how to distinguish between sediments and meta-

sediments, intrusive and extrusive igneous rocks, transported and residual superficial
deposits. I believe this lecture will be another exciting chapter that will equip you with the
necessary knowledge that will assist you to interpret the ground geology using the remotely
sensed data from space i.e., by the use of aerial photographic images.

7.1

OBJECTIVES

Objectives
At the end of this lecture you should be able to:
(a). Describe the distinguishable features that identify structures such as bedding, foliations,
folds, faults, joints, etc and other lithological bodies in aerial photographs.
(b). Derive a probable photogeological legend in the interpretation of aerial photos.
(c). Distinguish the characteristic appearance of intrusive and extrusive acidic or basic
igneous bodies in aerial photographs.
(d) Differentiate the characteristic features of sediments and metamorphosed sediments in
aerial photos.
(e). Distinguish between residual and transported deposits as observed in aerial photographs.

7.2

INTERPRETATION OF STRUCTURES

The interpretation of geological structures using aerial photographs is an important exercise


that can aid in deciphering the stratigraphy and geological history of a given region. The
following sections discuss the distinguishing features of common geological structures such
as beddings, folds, faults, joints etc. as observed in aerial photographs.
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Lecture 7

7.2.1 Bedding
Dipping heterogeneous sediments or meta-sediments are commonly depicted on a stereo
model as a number of parallel ridges and valleys. This is due to the effect of differential
erosion on dissimilar lithologies because rocks that differ in mineral constituents also differ
in their erosional qualities. Resistant beds tend to form ridges along the lengths of their
outcrops whereas the more easily eroded beds tend to form valleys. In addition, beds that
differ in their mineral constituents also differ in their colour and reflectivity and this is
portrayed by the difference in tone of these beds.

The lineaments resulting from a number of conformable, and dipping heterogeneous


sediments or meta-sediments can be expected to show some or all of the following
characteristics:

Lineament should be continuous or persistent on the whole rock outcrop even though
they may be short or interrupted by such features as joints.

They should be approximately parallel to one another. An abrupt cessation of this


parallelism provides evidence of other structures.

They tend to be found in groups rather than singly.

They tend to be definite and limited in number.

The fact that bedding structures are definite and limited in number distinguishes them from
the lineament resulting from foliation, which in aerial photographs appears indefinitely thin
and unlimited in number. For horizontal bedded sediments and those of low dips, a shape
outcrop approximates the shape of the prevailing contours.

Outline the characteristics of dipping heterogeneous


sediments as observed in aerial photographs
7.2.2

DIP

Dip slopes provide the most reliable indication on the direction of dip available to the photo
geologist. Dip slopes (see Fig. 7.1) are often reliably recognized in stereo model than in the
field. This is because a large part of the dip slope can be seen simultaneously and can be
compared with other horizons with same group of sediments. However, the actual value of
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 7

the dip is approximated and this is often in the ranges: < 10 o, 10 25o, 25 45o, < 45, and <
90o dips.

Fig. 7.1 Illustration of a Dip slope

7.2.3 FOLIATION
The term foliation is used to cover all types of mesoscopically recognizable Ssurfaces
(schistose) of metamorphic origin. The foliation or Ssurfaces may result from:

Lithological layering or preferred dimension of orientation of mineral grains

Mineral grains

Surfaces of physical discontinuity such as banded gneisses.

Lineament resulting from foliation tends to show some or all of the following characteristics:
(i)

Tend to be parallel unless distorted or faulted by subsequent movements after their


formation.

(ii)

They are normally very numerous because the number of foliation planes in rock
outcrops is often large. Hence foliation lineaments in photographs are very large.

(iii)

The lineaments are short

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

(iv)

Lecture 7

They do not consist of long continued ridges or valleys like beds of bedding
lineaments.

Generally it is believed that major lineaments represent


beds and minor lineaments represent foliation.

7.2.4

FOLDS

Folds are wavelike bends in rock layers resulting from compression of the crust. Originally
horizontal strata move up and down in response to compression to accommodate shortening
of the crust. Folds range in size from millimeters to hundreds of kilometers in length and
have various shapes. There are three main types of folds, based on their shapes:

A monocline is a one-sided fold that typically occurs in flat-lying strata of stable


continental areas.

An anticline is an upward-closing fold with the deepest (and therefore oldest) rock layers
in the center.

A syncline is a downward-closing fold with the uppermost (and therefore youngest) rock
layers in the center.

In anticlines and synclines the rock layers dip away from and toward, respectively, a central
line of greatest curvature called the fold hinge. The hinge is at 90o to the direction of
maximum compression. Anticlines and synclines are generally adjacent, forming alternating
crests and troughs in the rock layers. Monoclines, anticlines, and synclines are illustrated in
Figure 7.2. The hinges are the straight lines along crests and troughs of the folds.

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 7

Figure 7.2. Types of folds.

Basins, domes, and plunging folds are variations in the anticline and syncline fold shapes.
Basins and domes are downward and upward bends that lack a linear hinge. They are oval or
bowl-shaped, such that the strata dip away from or toward, respectively, a point rather than a
line. Basins and domes, unlike most other folds, need not form solely from compression but
may be due to a variety of factors. Plunging folds are anticlines that have a tilted hinge.
These folds are illustrated in Figure 7.3.

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 7

Figure 7.3. Subsidiary fold types.

Where the photograph indicate the direction and amount of dips or beds (see Fig. 7.1), it is
possible from photo geological evidence alone to map the approximate position of the axial
trace of a fold and occasionally estimate its amount of plunge. By plotting bedding traces on
aerial photographs, it is also possible to prove the presence of repeated folding (Fig. 7.4).

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 7

Fig. 7.4. Repeated folding event: 1. Axial trace of the first folds; 2- axial trace of the second
folding.
Sometimes folds are depicted by vegetation following trends of beds, which are already
folded as exemplified in Figure.7.5.

Fig. 7.5. Fold depicted by trends of vegetation pattern.


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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

7.2.5

Lecture 7

FAULTS

A fault is defined as a fracture along which there has been a slipping of rock masses against
one another. Characteristically, they often form more or less straight negative feature (i.e.
easily erodable) in the earths crust and occasionally positive ones (i.e., more resistance rock
units, see Fig. 6.6) if dykes and other intrusions occur along them. Before a lineament can be
interpreted as a fault there should be evidence of movements. In most areas, this evidence is
shown by termination or displacement of other structures. However, displacement is a more
reliable criteria. This is because termination can be caused by other structures besides faults.
The displacement and termination can be of structures like:

(i)

Dykes

(ii)

Other faults

(iii)

Intrusive contacts

(iv)

Geological boundaries or beds

(v)

Topography

When the interpretation of a major lineament is in doubt, it is


advisable to study all structures on both sides of the
lineament, with care to see whether all the evidence
considered simultaneously point to the presence of a fault.

7.2.6 JOINTS

Joints are characteristically represented on stereo models as straight negative features. They
are thus similar in photographic appearance to faults. However joints are distinguished from
faults in the sense that they dont cause any relative movement on both sides of any joint
lineament unlike the case of faults.
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

7.3

Lecture 7

LITHOLOGICAL BOUNDARIES

From the evidence provided by aerial photos, we shall address the issue of how lithological
boundaries are delineated and interpreted as discussed in section 7.2.1 and section 7.2.2 here
below.
7.3.1 Delineation Of Rock Boundaries
In most areas that are being fairly actively eroded, it is possible to differentiate the dissimilar
rocks on aerial photos even though it is not possible to decide what the rocks consist of. It
has also proved possible from the evidence provided by aerial photos to subdivide rocks that
appear indistinguishable in the field. An example of this was the establishment of concentric
ring dykes of the Chambe plateau in Malawi. In the field, the ring dykes with a central plug
were not apparent but this was clear in the photos. An extensive collection of specimens for
detailed study was done including petrographic investigations. The rings were established to
be present and were found to be of different systematic composition. In general the
lithological boundaries can be delineated in aerial photos after establishing the different beds.
For example, this can be established from the:

Differences in relief or tone of the beds

Differences in structures such as joints or foliations that may occur in some beds
but lack in others.

7.3.2 Lithological Interpretation


Lithological interpretation refers to the recognition of rock types from photo-geological data
rather than geological data by field experience alone. The approach recommended combines
geomorphology and structural analysis with the use of a generalized geological legend. In
this case, each outcrop represented in the stereo model is considered in its local and regional
geological environment. There is no first hand rule routine of interpretation but the following
stages are typical:

(i)

Recognition of climatical environment e.g. temperate, tropical rain forest, savannah,


desert etc.

(ii)

Recognition of the erosional environment e.g. very active, active or inactive.

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

(iii)

Lecture 7

Recognition and connotation of the bedding traces of the sediments or metasediments.

(iv)

Recognition and delineation of areas with outcrops that do not indicate bedding.
These could represent intrusions, horizontal bedded sediments or meta- sediments.

(v)

Recognition and delineation of superficial cover that do not indicate bedding.

(vi)

A restudy of the bedding traces around the fault noses to determine where possible
the approximate position of axial traces.

(vii)

Study lineaments that traverse the bedding traces to determine whether they represent
faults, dykes, joints or a combination of these.

7.4

GENERALISED PHOTOGEOLOGICAL LEGEND

A photo-geological legend is used to assist in arranging the observable interpretative


geological information in an aerial photograph in an orderly format. Except in the case of
certain sediments that can be recognized specifically, a generalized photo-geological legend
should indicate the type of rock (igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary) rather than the name
of the rock. The various groups of meta- sediments should be represented by numbers rather
than by names of doubtful accuracy.

In general, the following features can be deduced from a normal aerial photograph:

The photographic tone of rock body relative to that of the adjacent rock.

Its resistance to erosion relative to the adjacent rocks

Boundary of the whole rock body

Its topographic expression as a whole

The boundaries of individual outcrops

The joint pattern

The vegetation cover

The bedding or the relict bedding lineament

The fault pattern

The regional geological environment

The foliation lineament

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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

The drainage pattern

Lecture 7

- within the drainage basin, small channels called tributaries

coalesce to form larger channels, which coalesce to form one large stream in an
arrangement called drainage pattern. Drainage patterns may take several forms,
depending on the nature off the underlying rock, the slope of the drainage basin, and the
amount of rainfall. Figure 7.5 illustrates several kinds of drainage patterns.

Figure 7.5. Common drainage patterns.


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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Lecture 7

With respect to a generalized photo-geological legend, an example is presented in Table 7.1.

Table 7.1 Generalized photo-geological legend

Reference

Description of observed geological feature

Number
1.

Superficial Transported, residual

2.

Sediments list in groups 1, 2 , 3 etc

3.

Meta sediments groups 1, 2, 3 etc undifferentiated

4.

Permeation gneisses and migmatites

5.

Granitic rocks these are mostly granites and granodiorites that in


general are intrusive or autochthonous (in situ).

6.

Intrusive rocks basic, acid

7.

Extrusive rocks basic, acid

8.

Dykes acid; basic, and general (i.e. intermediate between acid or


basic)

7.5

SEDIMENTS AND META SEDIMENTS

Sediments are recognized on aerial photographs by their layered appearance. In general,


these layering are represented by variation in both relief and tone and occasionally by any of
them. In most areas, it is possible to differentiate between metamorphosed and unmetamorphosed sediments because metamorphism makes individuals beds in a pile of
sediments more nearly equal in their resistance to forces of erosion. Hence, dipping metasediments tend to form ridges that are more rounded and subdued than those produced by unmetamorphosed sediments of similar dip.

If layered rocks are steeply dipping, tightly folded and associated with multiple intrusions,
then metamorphism should be suspected. Conversely, flat land or gently layered rocks that
are not associated with intrusions are less likely to be metamorphosed. In areas where both
sediments and meta-sediments occur, lithological dissimilarity and structural discontinuity of
the two rock groups makes their differentiation obvious.
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Lecture 7

Give a descriptive criterion that can be used to differentiate


between metamorphosed and un-metamorphosed sediments
in aerial photographs.

7.6

INTRUSIVE ROCKS

It is after a rock has been recognized as intrusive on structural ground that an attempt is made
to decide whether it is an acidic or basic. If any part of the rock body is completely exposed,
then the relative photographic tone may prove diagnostic.

7.6.1 Basic and Acid Intrusive bodies


On aerial photographs, the appearance of large scale rectangular jointing is commonly
associated with acid rather than basic intrusive rocks. Basic intrusive rocks show generally
dark tones. On the other hand, acid intrusive rocks are typically relatively light toned and
rectangularly jointed. They offer more resistance to erosion than the country rocks and form
positive features. In general, the geological boundary of acid intrusive bodies with the
country rock is curved because of their intrusive nature.

Explain why acid intrusive rocks show a more resistance


feature to erosion than their basic counterparts.

7.6.2 Dykes
Because dykes are bodies of rocks that have been intruded along fractures or planes of
weakness in the earths crust, many of them have some of the characteristics associated with
joints or faults. Dykes are best distinguished when they show:

7.7

A variation in tone, vegetation or relief with the country rocks

Both positive and negative relief features

EXTRUSIVE ROCKS

Basaltic lava flow tends to show a relatively dark appearance. On the other hand, rhyolitic
lava flows (with increased silica content) show relatively light toned appearances. Where
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Lecture 7

extruded to cover underlying rocks e.g. sediments, the unconformable nature between the
overlaying overflows and the underlying rock of section of the two rock groups is an
important structural distinguishing criteria. However, the recognition of volcanic cones in
aerial photographs is of great assistance in the interpretation of extrusive rocks.

7.8

SUPERFICIAL COVER

For photo-geological purposes, superficial cover is conveniently classified into two groups:

Transported

Residual

7.8.1 Transported Superficial Cover


The transported superficial cover is usually recognized or associated with the following
characteristics:
i)

Its almost total blanketing effect on the underlying geology. Structures in the
underlying geology are not normally shown through transported superficial cover.

ii)

The association of the cover with its means of transport e.g., river.

iii)

Association of the cover with diagnostic land forms such as sand dunes, screes,
meander belts, river terraces, river deltas, eskers and moraines. For example,
photographs taken from high-flying aircraft reveal much about distribution of large
tracts of desert sand. Some of these massive sand areas contain dunes that clearly
reflect the direction of prevailing winds, but others consist of highly complex dunes
that are difficult to interpret in terms of prevailing winds (Fig. 7.6).

iv)

Its relatively sharp boundaries

As soon as transported superficial cover is suspected, the


question of its mode of transport should be considered.

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Lecture 7

7.8.2 Residual Superficial Cover


The residual superficial cover, which includes laterites and soils, has the following photogeological characteristics;
i)

It does not tend to blanket completely the underlying geology. Because it is formed in
places from the underlying rocks, its composition and texture tend to reflect the
underlying geology in some way.

ii)

No means of transport for the cover can be recognized

iii)

In places it appears to have gradational boundaries with rocks outcrops

ACTIVITY
1. List three distinctive characteristics of (i) transported and (ii)
residual deposits in aerial photographs
2. Outline characteristics of extrusive igneous rocks in aerial photos.
.

7.9

Summary

In this lecture it was noted that the interpretation of geological structures using aerial
photographs is an important exercise that can aid in deciphering the Stratigraphy and
geological history of a given region. Important distinguishing features of common geological
structures such as beddings, folds, faults, joints etc. were described and illustrated as
observed in aerial photographs. For example, dipping heterogeneous sediments or metasediments are commonly depicted on a stereo model as a number of parallel ridges and
valleys. On the other hand, lineament resulting from foliation tends to be parallel unless
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Lecture 7

distorted or faulted by subsequent movements after their formation, are short, and they do not
consist of long continued ridges or valleys like beds of bedding lineaments.

It was further noted that before a lineament can be interpreted as a fault, there should be
evidence of movements.

In most areas, this evidence is shown by termination or

displacement of other structures such as dykes, other faults, intrusive contacts, geological
boundaries or beds.

On delineation of rock boundaries, this lecture showed that it is possible to differentiate the
dissimilar rocks on aerial photos based on differences in relief or tone of the beds, as well as
on differences in structures such as joints or foliations that may occur in some beds but lack
in others.

Sediments are recognized on aerial photographs by their layered appearance. In general,


these layering are represented by variation in both relief and tone and occasionally by any of
them. On the other hand, dipping meta-sediments tend to form ridges that are more rounded
and subdued than those produced by un-metamorphosed sediments of similar dip.

This lecture was able to show the characteristic appearance of both basic and acidic intrusive
and extrusive rock bodies. On aerial photographs, the appearance of large scale rectangular
jointing is commonly associated with acidic rather than basic intrusive rocks. Basic intrusive
rocks show generally dark tones. On the other hand, acidic intrusive rocks are typically
relatively light toned and rectangularly jointed. They offer more resistance to erosion than the
country rocks and form positive features. For extrusive igneous rocks, basaltic lava flow
tends to show a relatively dark appearance. On the other hand, rhyolitic lava flows (with
increased silica content) show relatively light toned appearances.

We noted in this lecture that a photo-geological legend is used to assist in arranging the
observable interpretative geological information in an aerial photograph in an orderly format.
Except in the case of certain sediments that can be recognized specifically, a generalized
photo-geological legend should indicate the type of rock (igneous, metamorphic, or
sedimentary) rather than the name of the rock of doubtful accuracy.
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Lecture 7

For most photo-geological purposes, it was noted that superficial cover is usually classified
into two groups, namely: transported and residual. The transported superficial cover is
usually recognized or associated with the following characteristics: an almost total blanketing
effect on the underlying geology where the structures in the underlying geology are not
normally shown; the association of the cover with its means of transport e.g., river;
association of the cover with diagnostic land forms such as sand dunes, screes, meander
belts, river terraces, river deltas, eskers and moraines; and its relatively sharp boundaries.

On the other hand, residual superficial cover, which includes laterites and soils, has the
following photo-geological characteristics: It does not tend to blanket completely the
underlying geology; No means of transport for the cover can be recognized; and in places it
appears to have gradational boundaries with rocks outcrops.

7.10 References

REFERENCES

Collison, A., Wade, S., Griffiths, J. and Dehn, M. (2000). Modeling the impact of predicted
climate change on landslide frequency and magnitude in SE England Engineering Geology.

Atkin, B.C and Johnson, J.A. (1988). The Earth- Problems and Perspectives. Blackwell
Scientific Publishers, pp 428.

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Lecture 8

LECTURE 8
REMOTE SENSING METHODS: THE USE AND
INTERPRETATION OF SATELLITE IMAGES

LECTURE OUTLINE

Page
114

8.0 Introduction
8.1 Objectives

115
115

8.2 Remote Sensing: Method of Operation


8.3
Importance of Remote Sensing Method

115

8.4

Landsat Satellite

116

8.5

Sensors in the Landsat Satellites

116

8.6

Degree of Resolution

117

8.7

Image Interpretation

118

8.7.1 Case example 1

118

8.7.2 Case example 2

118

8.7.3 Case example 3

120

Application

121

8.8

8.9 Summary

123

8.10 Reference

124

8.0

INTRODUCTION

The world consumption of many resources over the past several decades has been
increasing exponentially. Improvement in the standard of living for billions of people
living in underdeveloped countries, who currently represent the fastest-growing segment
of the world population, has increased the demand pressure of these resources. In order to
meet this demand, a variety of new methods are being applied to the search or exploration
for these resources. One strategy being used for averting further mineral shortages

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Lecture 8

includes the application of remote sensing as a new exploration method to find more
mineral resources.

8.1 OBJECTIVES

Objectives
By the end of this lecture you should be able to:
a). Explain the method of operation of remote sensing.
b). Describe the importance of remote sensing method.
c). Describe how the Landsat satellite imaging system covers every part of the earth.
d). Explain how the sensors in Landsat satellite detect wavelengths of energy.
e). State the degree of resolution of Landsat images.
f). List the application of remote sensing method in geological exploration studies.

8.2

REMOTE SENSING: METHOD OF OPERATION

Remote sensing methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated and valuable in mineral
exploration. These methods rely on detection, recording, and analysis of wavetransmitted energy, such as visible light and infrared radiation, rather than on direct
physical contact and sampling. Aerial photography is one example, satellite imagery
another.
8.3

IMPORTANCE OF REMOTE SENSING METHOD

Remote sensing, especially using satellites, is a quick and efficient way to scan broad
areas, to examine regions having such rugged topography or hostile climate that they
cannot easily be explored on foot or with surface-based vehicles, and to view areas to
which ground access is limited for political reasons. One of the best known and most
comprehensive earth satellites imaging system is the one initiated in 1972, known as
Landsat.
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Lecture 8

Describe the importance of remote sensing method in the search of


resources.

8.4

LANDSAT SATELLITE

Landsat satellites orbit the earth in such a way that images can be made of each part of
the earth. Each orbit is slightly offset from the previous one, with the areas viewed on one
orbit overlapping the scenes of the previous orbit (compare the side-lap and overlap
feature in aerial photography discussed in Lecture 6). Each satellite makes fourteen orbits
each day; complete coverage of the earth takes eighteen days.
8.5

SENSORS IN THE LANDSAT SATELLITES

The sensors in the Landsat satellites do not detect all wavelengths of energy reflected
from the surface. They do not take photographs in the conventional sense. They are
particularly sensitive to selected green and red wavelengths in the visible light spectrum
and to a portion of the infrared (invisible heat radiation, with wavelengths somewhat
longer than those of red light). These wavelengths were chosen because plants reflect
light most strongly in the green and infrared. Different plants, rocks, and soils reflect
different proportions of radiation of different wavelengths. Even the same feature may
produce a somewhat different image under different conditions: Wet soils differs from
dry; sediment-laden water looks different from clear waters; a given plant variety may
reflect a different radiation spectrum depending on what trace elements it has
concentrated from the underlying soil or how vigorously it is growing.

Why are sensors in the Landsat satellites particularly selected to be


sensitive in the green, red and infrared wavelengths?

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8.6

Lecture 8

DEGREE OF RESOLUTION

Landsat images can be powerful mapping tools. The smallest features that can be
distinguished in a Landsat image are about 80 meters (250 feet) in size,

which

indicates the quality of the resolution. Multiple images can be joined into mosaics
covering whole countries or continents.
As shown in Table 8.1, the image scale and area covered per frame are very different for
Landsat images than for conventional aerial photographs. For example, more than 1600
aerial photographs at a scale of 1: 20,000 with no overlap are required to cover the area of
a single Landsat image!

Table 8.1 Comparison of Image Characteristics


Image Format

Image Scale

Low altitude aerial photographs (230 x 1: 20,000

Area Covered per Frame


21 km2

230 mm)
High altitude NASA aerial photographs 1:120,000

760 km2

(230 x 230 mm)


Landsat scene (185 x 185 mm)

1: 1,000,000

34,000 km2

TAKE NOTE
Because of scale and resolution differences, Landsat images should be
considered as a complementary interpretive tool instead of a replacement for
low altitude, large-scale aerial photographs. For example, the existence
and/or significance of certain geologic features trending for tens or hundreds
of kilometers, and clearly evident on a Landsat image, might escape notice
on large-scale aerial photographs. On the other hand, housing quality studies
from aerial imagery would certainly be more effective using low-altitude
aerial photographs rather than Landsat images, since individual houses
cannot be resolved on Landsat images. In addition, most Landsat can only be
studied in two-dimensions; whereas most aerial photographs are acquired in
stereo.
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8.7

Lecture 8

IMAGE INETRPRETATION

As mentioned in Section 8.4, each Landsat satellite passes over the same area on the
earths surface during daylight hours every 18 days, or about 20 times per year. The
actual number of times per year a given ground area is imaged depends on amount of
cloud cover, sun angle, and whether or not the satellite is in operation on any specific
pass. This provides the opportunity for many areas to have Landsat images available for
several dates per year. Because the appearance of the ground in many areas with climatic
change is dramatically different in different seasons, the image interpretation process is
often improved by utilizing images from two or more dates.

8.7.1 Case example 1:


A Landsat MSS (Multi-Spectral Scanner) Band 5 image of a portion of Wisconsin (USA)
was imaged in September and December (Fig. 8.1). The ground is snow-covered (about
200 mm deep) in the December image and all water bodies are frozen, except for a small
stretch of the Wisconsin River. The Physiography of the area can be better appreciated by
viewing the December image, due in part to the low solar elevation angle in winter that
accentuates subtle relief. A series of stream valleys cuts into the horizontally bedded
sedimentary rock in the upper-left portion of this scene. The snow-covered upland areas
and valley floors have a very light tone, whereas the steep, tree-covered, valley sides
have a darker tone. The identification of urban, agricultural, and water areas can better be
accomplished using the September image. The identification of forested areas can be
more positively done using the December image.

8.7.2 Case Example 2:


Figure 8.2 illustrates extensive geologic features that are clearly visible on Landsat
images. Figure 8.2a is a Band 5 Landsat image showing an area north and east of Los
Angeles, California (Williams and Carter, 1976). Figure 8.2b is a map of major geologic
faults visible on this Landsat image along which movement is known to have occurred.
The well-known San Andreas Fault that bisects this image is nearly 1,000 km long. The
San Francisco earthquake of 1906 occurred because of movement along this fault. The

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Fig. 8.1 Landsat MSS Band 5 images, southwestern Wisconsin, 1: 1,000,000. (a)
September 15, 1972. (b) December 14, 1972. (NASA images).

six solid dots shown on this map are the centers of earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 or
greater on Richter Scale, which occurred on the dates shown. The movement along the
San Andreas Fault in 1857 is estimated to have been as great as 10 m.

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Fig. 8.2 Extensive geologic features visible on Landsat imagery. (a). Landsat Band 5
image, Los Angeles, California, and vicinity, October 21, 1972, 1:1,000,000. (NASA
image.) (b) Map of Los Angeles and vicinity, California, showing major geologic faults
and major earthquake sites. (Adapted from Lillesand and Kiefer, 1979).

8.7.3 Case Example 3.


A variety of large circular features has been observed on Landsat images. Most of these
are either volcanic calderas or meteorite impact crater scars. Figure 8.3 illustrates the 66
km wide Manicouagan ring in east-central Quebec, Canada. This circular depression
serves as a water storage reservoir (frozen and snow-covered on this image) for
hydroelectric power generation. Such broad scale features can only be observed in their
entirety from orbital altitudes. This feature had been considered a volcano-tectonic
structure. However, the probability that it is a meteorite crater scar has recently gained
wide acceptance.

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Lecture 8

Fig. 8.3 Landsat Band 6, Manicouagan ring, east-central Quebec, Canada, April 20, 1974,
1: 1,000,000. (NASA image.)

8.8

APPLICATION

The application of Landsat image interpretation has been demonstrated in many fields,
such as agriculture, botany cartography, civil engineering, environmental monitoring,
forestry, geography, geology, land resource analysis, land use planning, oceanography,
and water resources analysis (Lillesand and Kifer, 1979). Basic geologic mapping,
identification of geologic structures, and resource exploration are only some of the
application of Landsat imagery. Landsat photographs of mineral producing areas may
permit identification of characteristics of known ore deposits, which aid in the discovery
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Lecture 8

of new ore deposits. Satellite images also provide a means of surveying the geology of
large areas easily without actually walking over them. Indeed, satellite imagery, often
enhanced by computerized image processing, improves the efficiency of geologists
searching for new ore deposits.

For example in Fig. 8.4, recognizable features include a granitic intrusion (round feature
at top center) and folded layers of sedimentary rock. Such imagery is especially useful
when some ground truth can be obtained information gathered by direct surface
examination. Alternatively, Landsat images of inaccessible regions can be compared with
images of other regions that have been mapped and sampled directly, and the similarities
in imagery characteristics used to infer the actual geology or vegetation.

Fig. 8.4 Landsat satellite image provide a means of surveying the geology of large areas
without actually walking over them. Recognizable features include a granitic intrusion
(round feature at top center) and folded layers of sedimentary rock (below). (Photo after
Montgomery, 1989.)

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Lecture 8

ACTIVITY
List three applications of the Landsat imagery remote
sensing method in geological studies.

8.9

Summary

SUMMARY

In this lecture we have noted that remote sensing method rely on detection, recording,
and analysis of wave-transmitted energy, such as visible light and infrared radiation,
rather than on direct physical contact and sampling. This method is important in scanning
broad areas, examining regions of rugged topography or hostile climate that cannot easily
be explored on foot and to view areas to which ground access is limited due to political
reasons.

The Landsat is one of the best known and most comprehensive remote sensing earth
satellites imaging system initiated in 1972. The Landsat satellites, with a resolution of 80
meters, orbit the earth in such a way that images can be made of each part of the earth.
The sensors in the Landsat satellites are particularly sensitive to selected green and red
wavelengths in the visible light spectrum and to a portion of the infrared. These
wavelengths were chosen because plants reflect light most strongly in the green and
infrared. It is also true that different plants, rocks, and soils reflect different proportions
of radiation of different wavelengths.

Finally it was noted that the Landsat imagery remote sensing method can be applied in
basic geologic mapping, identification of geologic structures, and resource exploration.
For example, Landsat photographs of mineral producing areas may permit identification

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Lecture 8

of characteristics of known ore deposits, which can aid in the discovery of new ore
deposits. In general, satellite imageries can often be enhanced by computerized image
processing, which in turn can improve the efficiency of geologists searching for new ore
deposits.
8.10

References

REFERENCES/ SUGGESTED READINGS


Brookins, D.G. (1981). Earth resources, energy, and the environment. Columbus, Ohio:
Charles E. Merrill.
Lillesand, T.M. and Kiefer, R.W. (1979). Remote Sensing and Image Interpretation. John
Wiley & Sons, New York, 612pp.
Montgomery, C.W. (1989). Environmental Geology. 2 nd Edition. Wm. C. Brown
Publishers, Dubuque, Iowa. 476pp.
NASA, Landsat Data Users Handbook, Doc. No. 76SDS4258 Goddard Space

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Lecture 9

LECTURE 9
PRODUCTION OF COMPLETED MAPS AND REPORTS

9.0
9.1
9.2
9.3

LECTURE OUTLINE
Introduction
Objectives
Date of Submission
Length of the Report

Page
125
126
126
127
127

9.4 Illustrations
9.5
Reference to Rocks, Minerals, Fossils and the Literature
9.5.1 Rocks and Minerals
9.5.2 Fauna and Flora
9.5.2 References to Literature
9.6
Layout
9.6.1 Front Material of the Report

129

130
131

9.6.2

Introduction

132

9.6.3

Rock Units

133

9.6.4

Structures

133

9.6.5

Geological History and Stratigraphy

133

9.6.6

Economic Geology

134

9.6.7

Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation

135

9.6.8

References

135

9.6.9

Appendices

137

9.6.10 Detailed Geologic Maps and Sections


9.7
Summary
9.8
References
9.0

137
140
140

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to lecture 10 of this course. Please note that although there may be many
differences in detail, similar principles of presentation given in this lecture apply to the
preparation of project reports, be it BSc, MSc, or PhD thesis, a report for an employer, or a
paper for publication in a geological journal. It is true that most experienced geologists will
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Lecture 9

find the content in this lecture straight-forward and obvious, but to the undergraduates to
whom this lecture is addressed to, are inexperienced and it is important that you pay a great
deal of attention to its presentation.

It is my considered opinion that the preparation of presenting a quality research project report
require relevant skills, and this process should be regarded as part of the degree training, just
as much as a laboratory class. I suggest that you as a learner should have a continuous
instruction and supervision relating to research writing, although the final edition should be
entirely the work of you, as the student. Writing a project report will serve as an introduction
to future geological writing, whether it will be for company reports or papers for publication.
Methods can be learned in the first place by consulting published papers on topics similar to
that of the project report or thesis, but guidance from a supervisor is necessary.
We shall start this lecture by outlining some prequisite information that you need to know in
advance before we embark on the actual structure and details of report writing.
9.1 OBJECTIVES

Objectives
At the end of this lecture you should be able to:
(a). Asses the importance of meeting deadlines in submission of reports
(b). Evaluate relevant data for presentation in research reports.
(c). Describe the layout of an ideal geological report.
(d). Outline the proper referencing of rocks, minerals, fossils and authors in literature.
(e). Describe the preparation of a geological map and section.

9.2

DATE OF SUBMISSION

It is usually required that a project report or thesis be handed in by a specified date. In my


experience, perhaps one in five undergraduate reports is handed in late. This suggests
unreliability, and is bound to be reflected in a supervisors report to a potential employer.
You should be aware that company reports have deadlines which must be observed. As a

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Lecture 9

potential employee in a reputable company, you should bear this requirement and strive to
meet the deadlines given by your supervisor.
9.3

LENGHT OF THE REPORT

It is a great temptation to believe that the worth of a project report or thesis is directly
proportional to its length. This is not so. It is far more difficult to write concisely and to
condense a great volume of information into a few pages so that no important details are
omitted. This is a skill which should be acquired, and it needs practice. As a generalization,
most published papers are short, rarely more than 10,000 words and often much less. An
undergraduate research report should abide by these principles, both in the written text and in
the numbers of the text figures and photographs presented. The latter should be carefully
selected to illustrate and clarify important features for which the written word is inadequate.

A published paper of, say 8000 words will rarely have more than 10 to 15 text figures and 4
or 5 photographs. Its true that this limitation is usually at the insistence of an editor who has
to watch his budget carefully, but, to repeat the point, report writing or thesis writing is a
preparation for just this sort of publication. The place for numerous explanatory photographs
and diagrams is in field notes.

Give one important reason for (i) presenting a report within the stipulated
time and (ii) writing short and concise reports

9.4

ILLUSTATIONS

Text Figures and photographs are certainly important, and if properly selected and drawn will
illustrate the geology with greater clarity than most written accounts. There is an art in
constructing text figures and geological maps. Of course not all geologists are artists, but it is
easy to apply some common rules.

In the first place, a good report should always start with an introductory map showing the
location of the area or areas being described. Enlargement maps to show details of areas
critical to the understanding of the geology may be necessary (e.g. Fig. 9.1). It is also
important for a map to have a scale and a north point as in Fig. 9.1. The maps accompanying
most undergraduate and many MSc reports, use different colours for different geological
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Lecture 9

Fig. 9.1 Map showing localities of measured sections, distribution of facies associations, and
palaeocurrents in a part of Gondwana basin around, Athgarh, Orissa, India. (after Mishra 2001).

Formations. The colouring is usually done badly. Since most published maps in journals are
unlikely to be in colour (because of cost), I suggest that research report maps should first be
drawn in black ink and then ornamented. Colour can always be added as a further
improvement for the top copy of the project report. However if this is done, it is advisable
to keep to pale shades; whatever is used in the map should be absolutely clear without
addition of colour. Please bear in mind that your report is partly regarded as training for
publication, and therefore it is a good idea for students to learn the requirements for maps that
will be acceptable to geological journals.
Broadly speaking, the kind of illustrations relevant for your report shall include the
following:

Small scale maps mostly for locations, geographic features or generalized geologic
features of the area.

Photographs remember a good photograph summarizes a good description.


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Lecture 9

Drawings of thin sections of rock specimens and also of hand specimens.

Graphs and curves particle size of grains in certain sediments.

Stereographic projections to indicate statistical orientation of structures in a certain


area.

Geological section

List the common type of illustrations expected in a typical geological


report.

9.5

REFERENCE TO ROCKS, MINERALS, FOSSILS AND THE LITERATURE

There are numerous pitfalls to avoid when describing and identifying rocks, minerals, and
fossils. There are also internationally agreed conventions of reference, especially for fossils
and for citation of literature. It is important for undergraduates to be aware of these matters,
and to pay attention to them when writing project reports or thesis.

9.5.1 Rocks and Minerals


There may seem to be few problems in describing and identifying rocks and minerals.
Normally difficult and unusual specimens can be brought back from the field and examined
in more detail. Thin sections and microfossil preparations can be studied.

9.5.2 Fauna and Flora


The fauna and flora should be referred to in the internationally accepted style. Before specific
names are used it must be ascertained that all the diagnostic features relevant to that species
are preserved. Many specimens are not sufficiently well preserved to permit specific
identification. Once it is decided that specific names are justified they should be referred to
in the text in a standard way; for example, ....... the lower bands yield Gothograptus nassa
(Holm) and Pristograptus jaegeri Holland et al.. The brackets indicate some change in
generic nomenclature subsequent to the first description of the species. The fossil names are
printed in italics in journals, but should be underlined in typewritten accounts.

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9.5.3

Lecture 9

References to Literature

References are governed by internationally agreed rules, and abbreviations should conform to
those in an accepted list of serial publications (such as the World List of Scientific
Periodicals). If in doubt follow the style used in major geological journals (although not all
are identical in this respect). The reference lists in this course unit can be used as a guideline.
Please note that it is generally the case that only works referred to in the text of a paper (or
project report) should be listed in the references section. Articles referred to in the text should
appear as follows:

According to Sasamoto (1976) the dinosaur beds are 2 cm thick;

The dinosaur beds are 2 cm thick (Sasamoto 1976);

Or if one wishes to be precise (Sasamoto 1976, p.23).

Where there are more than two authors the citation should be (Sasamoto et al. 1976),
although all the authors should be referred to in the reference list at the end of the
project report or thesis.

9.6.

LAYOUT

The layout of the written report and the type of information in each section are most
important. Concerning the type of information to be given, it is necessary that factual
observation should be kept quite separate from interpretation and hypothesis. Reliable
observers can record valuable data which can be used by others at a later date, even though
their interpretation of it may be wrong. This is not possible if fact and interpretation are
intermingled.

Regardless of the nature of the project, the basic purposes of a report are a) to describe
accurately what has been observed; and b) to synthesize and explain geologic relationships
and events. The descriptive parts of the report should be complete and concise. Maps, graphs
and tables should be a part of this description section. The report should be organized and
started in the field or soon after the field season. However, it is essential to write the report or
its first draft in a place where there is a library, a laboratory or a drafting office. The main
divisions of the report should be set down first and then its subdivision and details filled in
outline forms as follows:

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9.6.1 FRONT MATERIAL OF THE REPORT


The front part of the material shall include;
i). A title page title of the report, the authors name, date, and the name of the organization,
if any, for which the work is done. The title should be short as possible but should state
clearly the nature or content of the report.
ii). A table of contents this is prepared from the final manuscript when all section headings
have been decided upon. In many cases the lowest rank of headings may be omitted from the
table of contents if they are repetitive.
iii). A list of illustrations/plates this gives page numbers where they do occur in the report
including all text figures and plates, including those folded separately at the back of the
report. Wherever possible, titles or captions of illustrations are shortened for the list.
iv). An abstract the abstract is a very brief version of the report. It is all some readers will
ever see (or read) and should therefore be as informative and as brief as possible. Abstracts
are generally 150 600 words long, though much shorter ones may be adequate for some
papers. Three important suggestions to be adhered to when writing abstracts are:

Each sentence must be informative. Such statements as The sedimentary rock units
are described, their fossils named, and their ages outlined are superfluous because
the reader assumes the report will cover these things. Generally be specific and give
few useful words or data, for example The sequence is 500 m of unnamed
Cretaceous shale, 200 m of sandstone (Eocene) and 400 m of lavas inter-layered with
a carbonate formation.

Data should be presented in the same order as in the report or nearly so as possible.
Each major section of the report should be summarized in at least a sentence and if the
report is long, by a paragraph.

v). Acknowledgement - A brief acknowledgement of the assistance given during the


preparation of your report is necessary. This can take one or two paragraphs depending on the
amount of assistance given.

Summarise the key features that need to be included on the front material
of a geological report.

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9.6.2

Lecture 9

INTRODUCTION

The introductory section should pertain directly to the main subject of the report. Climate,
vegetation, and land use can usually be described adequately in a few sentences.
Descriptions of geographic features e.g., rivers, hills etc can be kept concise and clear by
including a page-size map of the region of study.

9.6.2.1 Geographic Setting


Geographic setting of the study area should include a small index map and a brief comment
on accessibility, if not obvious from the maps. The physiograpy should include a statement
on the nature and distribution of principal geographic features e.g. hills, rivers etc and a brief
description of the vegetation, climate and land use.
9.6.2.2 Regional Geological Setting
This should include a statement on the regional geological setting of the surveyed area.
Briefly comment on the nature and distribution of rock system; any series of formations etc.
Give a brief description of the major structures in chronological order whenever possible.
This section provides an important framework for the detailed descriptions of the report. This
is a section that will require a thorough critical review of the literature.

9.6.2.3 Purpose of the project


Here you need to provide a brief statement on the reasons why you undertook the project.
This should be supported by a statement on objectives of the study.

9.6.2.4 Project methodology


In this sub-section you need to outline the study methods you used to achieve your objectives.

9.6.2.5 Previous Geological works


This section presents a chronological review of geologic work done in or near the study area.
However a critical evaluation of important contributions is generally preferred.
Outline the main content that should be included in the introductory
chapter and/ or section of a geologic report.

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Lecture 9

9.6.3 ROCK UNITS [GEOLOGY]


This is an important part of the report and it is recommended to give a summary introduction
to the general nature, thickness and grouping of the stratigraphic sequence of the study area.
It is in this section of the report that you provide systematic petrographic descriptions of the
rock units identified in the study area starting with the oldest. In this description we have:

General lithology distribution, shape and thickness of unit.

Detailed description of lithology and mineralogy including lateral variations.

Definition of contacts if not included in lithology

Fossil, if any

Age and origin of the unit

9.6.4 STRUCTURES
This section must be organized with special care to describe both the individual features and
their inter-relationships. Data shown clearly on the geologic map need not be described at
length in the text. If the main map is too cluttered to show the geographic distribution of the
major structures clearly, a page-size structure map should be used in context with the
structure section. Some of the important structures that should broadly be included in the text
description include but not limited to:

Brief introductory description of trends and interrelations of principal structural


features.

Unconformities

Folds presented in order of importance or age or both. This includes anticlines,


basins, synclines etc.

Faults and their relationships to folds and other structures

Joints

Structures formed in and around intrusive bodies such as veins, pegmatites, etc.

9.6.5 GEOLOGICAL HISTORY AND STRATIGRAPHY


Included in this section are the chronological interpretation of processes, structural events and
paleogeography. The use of lithologic unit terms (group, formation, member, bed, etc) and
time-stratigraphic unit terms (group, system, series, stage, zone, etc) must be applied
consistently according to accepted rules.
Stratigraphic data are generally presented in detailed columnar sections that may represent
either single measured sections or an average sequence for a given area or region. The formal
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Lecture 9

units (formations, and so on) or the principle divisions should be blocked out first after
computing true thickness from the field notes or maps, then the lithologic details are added by
starting at the top and working down. An example of a generalized stratigraphic columnar
section from the Talchir formation, India is presented in Fig.9.2.

Fig.9.2. Generalized stratigraphic section of the Talchir formation of the southeastern part of the
Talchir formation, Orissa, India.

9.6.6

ECONOMIC GEOLOGY

The section on economic geology is concerned with earth materials that can be used for
economic and/or industrial purposes. These materials include precious and base metals,
nonmetallic minerals, construction-grade stone including building stone and aggregates,
petroleum minerals, coal, and ground water resources.

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A description of the economic geology of a given area is of prime interest to investors, stock
analysts and other professions such as engineers, environmental scientists, and
conservationists because of the far-reaching impact that extractive industries have on society,
the economy, and the environment.
The specific categories of mineralization in an economic sense are:

Mineral occurrences or prospects of geological interest which may not necessarily be


of economic interest, and

Mineral resources - which include both the potentially economical and technically
feasible and those which are not.

9.6.7

DISCUSSION, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION

This is the section that you now have the opportunity to discuss your data, interpretation and
probable conclusions. It is also in this section that you draw your recommendations based on
your research data and observations.
Conclusions are difficult but important. However remember that this is what you leave the
reader with. You could summarise your main points. It may be better to try to tie the threads
of your research findings stressing your main observations or deductions. Provide a brief look
back at your findings and suggest areas for further exploration and examination.
Finally remember that a good conclusion places material in a different perspective, it saves a
good point until the end (but not a new argument) and it indicates areas for further study.

Briefly describe the salient features that should be included in the discussion
and conclusion section of a geological report.

9.6.8

REFERENCES

A list of references cited includes only the works referred to in the text of the report. This list
is placed at the end of the report, and the items are arranged in alphabetical order by authors
names. The manuscript should be carefully checked to ensure that the spelling of authors'
names and dates are exactly the same in the text as in the reference list. Two or more works
by one author are listed in chronological order.

The basic information included in the reference entry for a book or journal is as follows:
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Lecture Series SGL 308: Introduction to Geological Mapping

Book -

Lecture 9

Author
Date of Publication
Title
Place of Publication

Journal -

Author
Date of Publication
Title of article, then the title of journal
Serial information
Volume number, issue number
Inclusive pages of article.

The rules for the reference list are illustrated by the examples that follow, and the order and
punctuation shown is that which has been standardized for most geological publications.
Edited book:Kisabeth, J.L., 1979. On calculating magnetic and vector potential field due to large-scale
magnetospheric current systems and induced currents in an infinitely conducting earth. In:
Olson, W. P. (Ed.), Quantitative Modelling Magnetospheric Processes. American
Geophysical Union.
Reports:Marov, M.Ya., Ioltukhovski, A.A., Kolesnichenko, A.V., Krasitsky, O.P., Shari, V.P., 1994.
On earth ozonosphere space monitoring by stars occultation. Keldysh Institute of Applied
Mathematics. Reprint No. 33, Moscow (in Russian).
Journal articles:Vijayakumar, G., Parameswaran, R., Rajan, R., 1998. Aerosols in the atmospheric boundary
layer and its association with surface wind speed at a coastal site. Journal of Atmospheric and
Solar-Terrestrial Physics 60 (16), 1531-1542.
Thesis:Olago, D., 2009. Groundwater geochemistry of the Kenya Rift. PhD thesis, University of
Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.
Write a 3 to 5 paged typed essay of geological nature citing material from an
edited book, reports, journal article, and thesis from a nearby library of your
choice. The essay should include author(s), illustrations, text figures, tables
and reference section.

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9.6.9

Lecture 9

APPENDICES

This deals with the detailing of information that is relevant but which would detract from the
coherence of the text, or is too lengthy or detailed to include in the body of the report. Each
appendix should be numbered and referred to in the text of the report. The source of all data
included in the report should be written after the data: The originator/author; Date of
publication; Title of publication, Page numbers.

9.6.10 DETAILED GEOLOGIC MAPS AND SECTIONS

9.6.10.1 Preparation of the Geologic Map


The first step in preparing a detailed geologic map is to determine the limitations imposed by
methods of duplication or publishing. These limitations will apply mainly to the size (or
scale) and the use of colors. Because over-sized maps are difficult to use in the field as well
as at a table, maps and sections should be small as clarity allows.
After the methods of duplication are decided upon, rock contacts may have to be simplified
here and there, and closely spaced structure symbols averaged. However data must not be
removed or averaged just to make a map look even. Readers know that observations can be
more complete in some places than others, and they will appreciate a full record where it can
be given. When exceptional amounts of structural data have been plotted, as with several
foliations and fracture systems, it may be necessary to prepare an accessory structure map.

9.6.10.2 Composing the Legend and Layout


When the field map sheets are examined during the planning stage, a list should be made of
all rock units, structure symbols, and special culture symbols that will be shown in the legend
of the final map. These items should be penciled out in order and to scale on scratch paper.
The title, scale bars, north arrow, and other accessory items should also be penciled to scale.
The final cross-section should be selected at this time so that they can be drawn on the same
plate as the map (see Fig. 9.3).

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Fig. 9.3 Possible layout for a detailed geologic map and sections

In summary, every map resulting from the fieldwork should contain the following
information:

A title including date and name of person(s) responsible for the geology and drafting.

A line scale; the representative fraction (R.F.) may be used in addition to the line
scale. Always it should be remembered that unlike the line scale, R.F. scales do not
apply after photographic enlargement or reduction.

A north arrow showing true north with the full arrow, magnetic north with a half
arrow and the angle of magnetic declination.

A legend must be included which depicts the following: Topography (if shown),
relief, water, culture (i.e. buildings, bridges, etc), lithology, structures, the contour
intervals etc.

Lines of section (if structure sections accompany the map). The lines of section must
be thin and labeled at each end, viz A-A.

With few exceptions, lithology is not represented diagrammatically on maps.


Formations and mappable units must be coloured or distinguished by appropriate
mechanical patterns (e.g. see Fig. 9.4). A given colour or pattern cannot be used to
represent more than one kind of rock or rock unit.

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Symbols, strikes, and dips as well as abbreviations of formation names must be small.
The student must become acquainted with and use the system of standard letter
symbols for formation of known or approximately known age.

Fig. 9.4 (a). Location of Mitwaba area in Congo and


Africa. (b). Simplified geological map of Mitwaba
(Lepersonne, 1974)

9.6.10.3 Cross sections


Cross section (if included) should always be taken perpendicular to strike of important
geological features to be shown, but where the geology is complex parts of the sections may
depart from this ideal. If so or if the special purpose of the investigation requires a line of
section not perpendicular to strike (e.g. along a tunnel site), apparent dips and thickness
should be shown on the section. In such sections, the scale should be the same as the scale of
the map. Only rarely is the use of exaggerated vertical scale justified (e.g., where the section
is several kilometers long).

The final cross sections should be made after the map is inked because they must correspond
to it exactly. To make an accurate section it is necessary to use a sharp pencil and to key the
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Lecture 9

section paper is easier to use than opaque paper. Completion of the geologic features under
the profile line requires a careful analysis of the mapped features near the section line, for
many features will project into the line of section below the surface.

9.7 Summary

In this lecture you learned the importance of meeting deadlines in submission of your reports
and in writing precise and informative reports. You also learned the usage of various
illustrations and citation of author(s) from various types of print media such as edited books,
journal articles, reports, and thesis. The final important thing that you learned was about the
formal layout of a geological report as well as the salient features that need to be incorporated
in the preparation of a geologic map and cross-section.

9.8

References

REFERENCES

Atkin, B.C and Johnson, J.A. (1988). The Earth- Problems and Perspectives. Blackwell
Scientific Publishers, pp 428.

Compton, R.R. 1968. Manual of Field Geology. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York. 378pp.
Lipersonne, J. (1974). Carte geologique du Zaire a lechele du 1/ 2.000.000 et notice
explicative. Soc. Geol. Du Zaire, Ministere des Mines, Kinshasha, Zaire.

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