Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Gianluca Vignaroli (Modulo 1) Riccardo Asti (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Geological Sciences (cod. 8015)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will get the basic knowledge and skills to recognise the stratigraphic succession and the structural setting of a given study area. The student will know how to read, interpret and draw up geological maps and representative cross-sections useful to reconstruct the geological history of the area. In detail, the student will be able to: - describe and interpret the rocky outcrops; - measure with the compass the spatial orientation of geological elements, either of primary or tectonic origin; - trace stratigraphic limits and tectonic structures on a topographic map; - draw up reports to support the geological cartography.

Course contents

The Course contents include:

  1. Introduction to the field: the geological survey as a basic tool for defining and reconstructing the subsurface model. The geological survey according to the objectives and the scale of the investigation. The field equipment. The field notebook and its compilation.
  2. The use of compass-clinometer to measure (i) the orientation of geological planes and lineations with respect to north, and (ii) the dip of geological features with respect to the horizontal (dip-direction vs. Right Hand Rule).
  3. Stereographic projections (Schmidt net) of geological features (planar and linear). Kalsbeek net for contouring. Projections of faults with slickenlines; beta and pi-greek methods for folds.
  4. Recording structural information: orientation, geometry, and kinematics of faults; orientation and geometry of folds.
  5. Geological mapping: reading and understanding geological maps. Anatomy of a geological sheet: maps, legend, and cross-sections. The CARG-project.
  6. Elements of stratimetry: relationships between topography and lithological/structural limits (the V-rule). Tracing surfaces on topographic maps and reconstructing their trend from the geological map. Bedding, dip, and thickness (true and apparent). The direction lines method. The three-point problem. Drawing structure contours.
  7. Geological cross-sections: constructing or sketching cross-sections at different scales. Projecting map data on cross-sections.
  8. Writing a geological report.


  • G. Cremonini, 1994 - Rilevamento Geologico. Pitagora Ed.
  • A.L. Coe, 2010 - Geological Field Techniques. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  • C. Venturini, 2012 - Realizzare e leggere carte e sezioni geologiche. Flaccovio Ed.
  • B. Simpson, 1994 - Lettura delle Carte Geologiche. Flaccovio Ed.
  • K.R. McClay, 1987 - The Mapping of Geological Structures. John Wiley & Sons

Teaching methods

The teaching methods include:

  • frontal teaching;
  • classroom exercises;
  • daily (or two-days) field activity in collaboration with Dr. Riccardo Asti, responsible of Module n° 2.;
  • Geological Survey Field (7-8 days): teaching activity in collaboration with Dr. Riccardo Asti, responsible of Module n° 2.


In consideration of the adopted activities and teaching methods, the attendance at field activities requires all students to complete general and specific training modules on safety in the field laboratories [https://www.unibo.it/it/servizi-e-opportunita/salute-e-assistenza/salute-e-sicurezza/sicurezza-e-salute-nei-luoghi-di-studio-e-tirocinio]. Please contact the responsible for the safety modules.

Moreover, the attendance at field activities requires obtaining prior medical fitness through a medical examination at the University's Occupational Medicine Specialist Unit (https://corsi.unibo.it/laurea/ScienzeGeologiche/formazione-obbligatoria-su-sicurezza-e-salute).

Assessment methods

Students will be evaluated on:

  • contents from the frontal teaching;
  • practical proofs by exercises;
  • daily field activities (cartographic products and reports are included);
  • activities during the Geological Survey Field, as well as the provided cartographic products and report.

The evaluation includes practical-written and oral examinations.

Teaching tools

During classroom teaching:

  • power point slides
  • geological maps
  • research articles
  • technical reports

During field activities (including the Geological Survey Field):

  • topographic maps
  • field equipment
  • essential drawing material for mapping

Office hours

See the website of Gianluca Vignaroli

See the website of Riccardo Asti


Clean water and sanitation Affordable and clean energy Sustainable cities Responsible consumption and production

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.