Faculty of Science

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Science
Organisational UnitGippsland School of Applied Sciences and Engineering
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)Dr Boyd Dent


This unit introduces the aspects of applied geology that are essential to provide a wide basis for understanding of later studies in engineering geology and geotechnical engineering. The unit builds from the broad science of geology into a coherent grouping of knowledge and simple skills for future practical needs like evaluating surface or in-pit stratigraphy and rock types; the likely disposition of rocks and their presentation; plus key aspects of how rock masses will weather and erode in nature. Basic principles of lithology, stratigraphy and structural geology are introduced and related to a geological map context. Building upon this base, the breakdown of rocks and sediments, erosion, landform development including simplest ideas of slope stability are introduced. This leads to an expanded consideration of rocks in an engineering context and consideration of the effects of seismicity, groundwater and rheology on rock mass performance and manipulation.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe faulting and folding features on a regional scale and place them in a plate tectonics perspective;

  1. Describe four essential differences between each of the groups in the three-fold classification of rocks and broadly explain the origins of these differentiating aspects and why they are differential;

  1. Identify the various lithologies represented on a geological map, and discuss the manner in which, and why, they are placed into formal stratigraphic relationships depicted on the map;

  1. Discuss the role of physical and chemical weathering processes in affecting rock mass attributes and demonstrate the obvious links of these processes with slope instability;

  1. Demonstrate the correlation of time-stratigraphic units from simple representations of stratigraphic columns, and explain the disappearance or appearance of accompanying strata;

  1. Explain how simple landforms in temperate non-coastal areas reflect the breakdown and properties of the underlying rocks and strata;

  1. Discuss the geomechanical properties of rock masses and particles and how they might be assessed in broad terms, and outline the performance of, and effects on, such materials as a result of seismic or groundwater interaction.


Online tests: 30%
Practical exercises: 50%
Essay: 20%

Chief examiner(s)