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Many students without a background in geoscience who come to the Institute of

Petroleum Engineering to do our Masters courses find that learning about the
many and varied geological concepts that we cover is one of the most difficult
aspects of the courses. This is largely because not only are there many new
concepts to understand, but the language of geoscience is also new and
In this page, I am going to suggest various resources for students to use for selfstudy, both prior to starting our courses and during the course as supplementary
information to that available in the notes. The resources cover all levels, from
basic geology concepts and information, to more advanced modules and
courses. I am presenting options for books (most of which should be freely
available in public libraries), internet sites and podcasts, but please be aware
that the terminology or concepts presented in these resources may not be the
same as that used here in IPE.

Dynamic Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology. 2006. Brian J. Skinner;
Stephen C. Porter; Jeffrey Park; Tom Freeman (Authors). 5 th edition, John Wiley &
Sons Inc, 584 pages
Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology. 2010. Edward J. Tarbuck; Frederick K.
Lutgens; Dennis Tasa (Authors). 10th edition, Prentice Hall, 744 pages
Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy. 2005. Sam Boggs Jr. (Author). 4 th
edition, Prentice Hall, 688 pages
Sedimentary Geology. 2003. Donald R. Prothero; Fred Schwab (Authors). 2 nd
edition, W. H. Freeman , 600 pages

General Sites
EAGE Learning Geoscience Pages

EAGE hosts an e-journal called Learning Geoscience that contains 'modules' on

various aspects of geoscience including petroleum related subjects. These
modules can be accessed by anyone who is a member of EAGE (
Caution should be applied with the content of these modules - the views and
information expressed in these modules is not the same as the views and

information provided and examined by the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at

Heriot-Watt University.

University of Tromso

This site (University of Tromso and supported by StatoilHydro) hosts some

learning modules that have been created for the purposes of helping people with
no geological background learn about geology. The modules are also available on
the EAGE site.

Canterbury University Glossary
This glossary was developed for schools teaching geoscience, and provides
simple explanations linked to images and diagrams.

Modules from StudyBeat

These modules are not free... although you can get some of them on YouTube,
and some as free previews. Be careful of the content, in some cases it is very
different from what we have in the notes - in terms of use and definition of some
terms, like 'fracture'.
Edinburgh of University
A quick introduction to geology

Sites on Specific Subjects

International Commission on Stratigraphy Timescales
See their sections on lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, unconformity-bounded
units (under the 'strat guide' tab), and the timescales.

A search for Biostratigraphy


The USGS site has a lot of useful pages on various geosciency subjects

Bioturbation - or Ichnology


Climate Change
This particular site looks at the climate change through the Cretaceous into the
Tertiary, looking in turn into the evidence from a number of different kinds of
stratigraphic information, including sedimentology, paleontology and isotopes. A
good introduction to the use of this information in stratigraphic studies including

Climate change paper
This pdf file is a paper by James D Wright, on the evidence for climate change
during the Cenozoic. It covers the basic theory of oxygen isotope stratigraphy in
the paper, and also goes into lots more detail.

More about climate changes...

Sequence Stratigraphy

Core description exercise
Neat description of ocean drilling core description processes

Siccar Point Fieldtrip
From the undergraduate course at University of Edinburgh

Structure on the web

A page about geological structures - including primary depositional structures

(like cross-bedding) and secondary deformation structures (like folds and faults).

Coastal processes
Some websites on coastal processes, deposits and sediments. Mostly from a
geography point of view, so talking about the effect of coastal erosion on human
populations, but some interesting stuff on the resulting deposits as well. Some
sites have animations, some just diagrams and pictures.

Sedimentation in action
You-Tube content: Videos of sediment transport in flume tank experiments and
open tank experiments check out the other videos by the same authors
Neat video showing the flow of water forming a ripple (note cross-beds in
sediments below the surface)


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There are also various podcasts available through the iTunes store.