88041 - Geological Field (7 CFU) (M-Z)

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Moduli: Lorenzo Gemignani (Modulo 1) Riccardo Asti (Modulo 2) Gianluca Vignaroli (Modulo 3)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2) Traditional lectures (Modulo 3)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: First cycle degree programme (L) in Geological Sciences (cod. 8015)

Learning outcomes

By attending and completing this field-based course, students will learn to produce geological interpretations based on petrographic, stratigraphic, sedimentological and structural observations. The course stretches over a week, during which students acquire a complete set of geological skills by applying their knowledge to a set of diverse and comprehensive field case studies. Students will be able to: - determine the composition and classification of rocks; - define the geometry of structural discontinuities at a variety of scales in the field; - summarize their observations and interpretations in a systematic fashion in their field book; - compile geological maps and cross-sections; - elaborate critical interpretative thoughts and generate conceptual models capable to account for the studied geological scenarios.

Course contents

The Geology Field Camp builds competence and self-confidence in working outdoors, independently and in groups, drawing inferences and conclusions from evidence, and growing students' judgment and reasoning. This course is an outdoor laboratory to test geological concepts, interpret the rock and fossil record, visualize three dimensional geological relationships, make and interpret geological maps and cross-sections and evaluate data used to make them.

Activities deal with the mapping, analysis, characterization, interpretation and modelling of selected key outcrops and areas in the geographic region chosen to run the field course. In the recent past, the course was organised in Elba, in the Tuscan Archipelago of the Northern Apennines, or San Martino di Castrozza, in the heart of the Dolomites.

The area is chosen during the spring, when students are contacted and receive all needed information.

While in the field, students use a multi-technique and multiscalar approach upon selected key outcrops in order to understand and constrain the orogenic evolution of the chosen tectonic domain. They rely on the knowledge they have built during the three years of their BSc career, thus having the possibility to directly apply what they have learnt to the real geological world.


Students will be referred to relevant and selected scientific literature and regional and thematic geological maps.

Teaching methods

6 days are spent in the field where, under the supervision of the lecturers, students carry out the detailed analysis of the chosen outcrops. Attention is payed to the lithological, stratigraphic, structural, ore geological and petrographic characteristics of the investigated area. Links with applied geological research themes are also elaborated upon.

Given that students spend a significant amount of their time out in the field, it is compulsory for them to attend the e-learning modules 1 and 2 on safety matters (https://www.unibo.it/it/servizi-e-opportunita/salute-e-assistenza/salute-e-sicurezza/sicurezza-e-salute-nei-luoghi-di-studio-e-tirocinio) as well as module 3, which is specific on safety in the specific environments wherein the course field laboratories will be held. Information as to where and when module 3 will be held can be obtained from the coordinator of the Curriculum.

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 are regularly evaluated in the field by the lecturers. The evaluation of their field notes and of their maps is continuously carried out as the geology field course progresses.

The final evaluation by the lecturers is expressed as a "pass" or "fail" without an actual grade. In the case of a "fail", students will be evaluated again after an extra work load specifically assigned to them by the lecturers.

Teaching tools

Geology as exposed in the field!

Office hours

See the website of Gianluca Vignaroli

See the website of Lorenzo Gemignani

See the website of Riccardo Asti


Quality education Life on land

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