69724 - Geology and Applied Geology M

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

Learning some basic concepts for the understanding of geologic bodies, and rocks that constitute them. Reading and interpreting the geologic elaborates. Learning some notions of applied geology, essential for the correct use of engineering techniques in the field of civil works, with particular reference to geologic hazards.

Course contents

Requirements/Prior knowledge.

A high-school level understanding of physics, inorganic chemistry and physical geography is required to attend with profit this course. In addition, the student who knows nothing about the dynamics of Earth is recommended to get acquainted with this topic on high-school textbooks. Fluent spoken and written Italian are necessary pre-requisites, since all lectures, tutorials and study material are in Italian.

Course Contents

The first module of this course gives the student basic information on the following subjects: (a) identifying rocks and soils in hand samples as well as outcrops; (b) reading and interpreting geologic maps, stratigraphic schemes and geologic cross-sections; (c) estimating the effects of the geodynamic processes on volcanic, seismic and alluvial hazards.

The second module of this course is mainly about hydrogeology and landslides, with emphasis on the interpretation of large-scale geomorphologic maps, the monitoring techniques and the hazard mitigation interventions.

At the end of the course, the student is expected to understand terminology and contents of the geologic elaborates required for the planning of engineering works.


Module 1

LANDUZZI A., Schemi e appunti per le esercitazioni di litologia e cartografia geologica (lecture notes). Text useful for the lessons and necessary for the exercises

JORDAN T.H., GROTZINGER J.P., Capire la Terra, Zanichelli, 2016. Text to consult, especially if you don't know what the Earth's dynamics is. Alternatively, other high-school level texts can be consulted, asking Alberto Landuzzi for an opinion on their geological contents.

Module 2

SCESI L., PAPINI M., GATTINONI P., Principi di geologia applicata per ingegneria civile-ambientale e scienze della terra, Casa Editrice Ambrosiana, 2014. Text recommended to those who want to deepen the study of Applied Geology.

Teaching methods

The first half of the first module is dedicated to the following topics: identification of common minerals; identification of common rocks and soils by means of texture, structure, composition and easy-to-assess physical-chemical properties; analysis of the lithogenetic cycle by studying the plutonic, volcanic, sedimentary, diagenetic and metamorphic processes; framing the lithogenetic cycle in the internal and external dynamics of Earth.

The second half of the first module is dedicated to the following topics: application of the principles of stratigraphy, tectonics and geomorphology to the interpretation of geologic maps, stratigraphic schemes and geologic cross-sections; examination of the geologic and geomorphologic data that contribute to the evaluation of volcanic, seismic and alluvial hazard.

The second module is dedicated to the following topics: interpretation of large-scale geomorphologic maps; elements of hydrogeology; classification, causes and modeling of landslides; monitoring techniques and interventions for the mitigation of landslide hazard.

The entire teaching activity of the course is presented on the computer and can be delivered both in the classroom and online. The lessons alternate with exercises, which students can carry out only on the computer due to the limitations imposed by the COVID emergency. Any educational trips in the southern Alps and / or in the northern Apennines will be organized only if compatible with the same limitations.

Assessment methods

The assessment procedure is composed of three partial tests, which the student chooses to face in one, two or three days. This choice has no influence either on the complexity or on the number of proposed questions.

The first module ends with two partial oral tests of about 30 minutes each, entirely managed on the computer and optimized to be delivered online. The first test is conducted on HD photos of rock samples, and consists in the identification of two rocks of different origin. The second test is conducted on HD scans of geological maps, and consists in the identification of two objects of stratigraphic, tectonic or geomorphological interest. Both tests are supplemented by general questions on geological processes and their practical implications.

In order to get a passing grade, it is necessary to explain the origin of the sampled rocks and the mapped objects. A higher grade is given to students who, by interpreting the details of the sampled rocks and the mapped objects, are able to deduce technical implications. A failing grade in one or both tests can derive from the ignorance of basic concepts, sometimes worsened by a misuse of the technical language.

For the second module a partial written test is scheduled, to be performed in 60 minutes. The written test consists of series of open and closed questions related to the interpretation of a large-scale tematic map. The written test can be followed by an oral revision.

In order to get a passing grade, it is necessary to explain the origin and the evolution of the mapped objects. A higher grade can be awarded to the student who demonstrates an organic understanding of the theoretical and practical contents of the module, writing about them in a clear technical language. A failing grade in the written test can derive from the ignorance of basic concepts, sometimes worsened by a misuse of the technical language.

When the student has achieved at least a passing grade for each partial test, the overall grade is calculated by the arithmetic average of the three partial votes. If necessary, the teachers of the two modules decide together about a positive or negative rounding of the average number.

Teaching tools

Lessons take place in mixed mode with the equipment available in the classroom. In Virtuale, students can access: all the material presented in class; all the material used in the exercises; HD photos and full descriptions of all samples to be used for the exam; HD scans of all geological maps to be used for the exam; the course lecture notes, also available in print at the Photocopy Service of the Engineering Library. Each exercise has results to achieve and a mind map to help achieve them. The correct path to achieve these results will be published on Virtuale in real time, at the end of each individual exercise.

Office hours

See the website of Alberto Landuzzi

See the website of Lisa Borgatti