GEOLOGY 7060 - Exploration Methods

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GEOLOGY 7060
    Course Exploration Methods
    Coordinating Unit Earth Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Graham Heinson

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    This course aims to introduce students to the techniques used to measure and map geologic,
    geophysical and geochemical characteristics of the lithosphere, with applications to mineral and energy exploration.

    It also aims to provide students with the theoretical background to each technique (including its strengths and limitations), the methods of data collection, analysis and interpretation and an appreciation of the exploration scenarios in which each technique may apply.

    The anticipated knowledge, skills and/or attitude to be developed by the student are:

    Demonstrated knowledge of:
    1 Demonstrated proficiency in common practical skills in resource exploration
    2 The scientific basis of mineral, energy and natural resource exploration
    3 The generic characteristics of economic mineral and energy resources – geological, geophysical and geochemical anomalism
    4 The geophysical techniques (seismic, gravity, magnetic, electrical and electro-magnetics)
    5 The geochemical techniques (sampling media, sampling strategies, analytical techniques)
    6 Field based data collection – sampling strategies
    7 Demonstrated understanding of the importance of data quality – collection, analysis, processes techniques
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.

    1, 6, 7

    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.

    6, 7

    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

    6, 7
  • Learning Resources
    Recommended Resources
    The following will be provided: lecture notes handouts, practical notes handouts,
    Field Exercise Guide

    Recommended texts:

    Introduction to mineral exploration (Moon, Whateley and Evans), 2nd Ed, 2006, Blackwell Publishing

    Geophysics for the Mineral Exploration Geoscientist (Dentith and Mudge), 2014, Cambridge University Press
    Online Learning
    Additional course-related material is available through MyUni.

    Students should regularly check the MyUni website for important course-related announcements. 

    Teaching materials, field trip info, reminders and course documentation will also be posted on this site.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course comprises: 
    Two lectures of 1 hour each per week
    One practical of 4 hours per week
    Two days field data acquisition timetabled during lecture/prac days 

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    2 hours of lecture and 1 hour preparation
    4 hours practical work most weeks
    1 hour per week extra reading time and completing some practical exercises for assessment

    Field work
    Scheduled during lecture, practical sessions
    3 hours per week extra reading and report writing from fieldwork

    Up to 6 contact hours
    Up to 6 non-contact hours
    Learning Activities Summary
    Week 1 The science and practice of mineral and energy exploration
    week 2 Minerals and energy resources in the Australian setting
    Week 3 Geochemical techniques
    Week 4 Geochemical techniques
    Week 5 Geochemical techniques
    Week 6 Geophysical techniques
    Week 7 Geophysical techniques
    Week 8 Geophysical techniques
    Week 9 Geophysical techniques
    Week 10 Geophysical techniques
    Week 11 Geophysical techniques
    Week 12 Exploration case studies
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Percentage of total assessment for grading purposes Hurdle
     Outcomes being assessed/achieved  Due date
    Weekly tests
    (8 x 5%)
    Summative & Formative


    No 1,2,3,4,5
    Seismic Interpretation pracs and in-class tests Summative & Formative 35% No 1,2,3,4,7
    Geophysics report Summative 25% No 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Attendance is compulsory at all scheduled practical sessions. 

    The learning outcomes for this course are substantially dependent on laboratory experience and practice.  Therefore, missing any practical class in a semester will result in a grade of FAIL being recorded for the course.

    Students are able to apply for an allowed absence from a practical session for medical or compassionate reasons by submitting an absence form with appropriate supporting documentation to the course coordinator.   Application forms can be downloaded from

    Practicals missed due to medical or compassionate reasons must be made up (opportunity permitting; contact the course coordinator for details, as soon as possible to discuss options).  All students who miss a practical will receive an email at their University of Adelaide student account with instructions on the action to be taken to organise a make-up practical.
    Assessment Detail
    Weekly Tests (8, each worth 5%):
    A weekly test (on the previous weeks materials) will generally be given at the start of each lab class, and each will be worth 5% of the years marks.

    Seismic interpretation (35%):
    Practical exercises and quizzes will amount to 35% for the last 4 weeks of semester

    Report (25 %):
    The report is intended as a measure of summative knowledge of the course material in the first eight weeks.
    Late Submission
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that the assignment is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days late or more without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the marks available for that assignment.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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