APPLIED GEOLOGY A
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of the course is to provide the students with the fundamental knowledge of the modern geology, starting from the Planet formation and arriving to the continental drfit theory. The first portion of the course provides the students with the basic knowledge of the “fondamental system” of the Earth, through the study of the genetic process of the various rock formations founded on the planet surface. The second half of the course deals primarily with the general processes that are actiong on the Earth surface, such as water runoff, ice and glaciers, wind etc. Everything, with the purpose of supplying the students of Civil and Environmental Engineering with the basic geological knowledge that will allow them to understand the interaction between human actions and natural environment for both, environmental preservation and social risk reduction.
Course contents summary
Formation of a planet
Aspects of geology, Planetary system origin, the Earth as an evolving planet, continental drift theory, the geological time concept, the scientific methodology
Continental drift: the unifying theory
An overview, the plate puzzle; movement velocity of the plates; Geometry of the plates mechanics; lithological associations and plate tectonics; Microplates terrains and tectonics; the big reconstruction; the tectonic engine.
The minerals: “bricks of the rocks”
What are the minerals? Atomic structure of the materials; Chemical reactions; Gain and loss of electrons; Sharing of electrons; The periodic table of elements; Chemical binds; Atomic structure of minerals; the minerals forming rocks; physical properties of minerals; chemical properties of minerals.
The rocks: witnesses of geological processes
Igneus rocks; Sedimentary rocks; Metamorphic rocks, Chemical structure of the rocks; where the rocks can be observed? The lithogenetic cycle.
Main type of igneus rocks; origins of magma; the magmatic differentiation; The Bowen reaction series; Types of magmatic intrusions.
Internal Phenomenon: Volcanism
Volcano deposits; Types of eruptions; the global distribution of volcanos; the volcano and the human society.
External Phenomenon: Degradation and erosion
Geological and Geographical factors of the weathering; Chemical alteration; Physical disgregation; the soil as a residual of weathering; the weathering as a source of sediments.
Sediments and sedimentary rocks
The raw material of the sediments: particles and solutions; sediment transportation; sedimentation: the end of the trip; Diagenesis and lithification; Classification of the sediments and of the sedimentary rocks; Stratification and sedimentary structures; clastic sediments and clastic rocks; Chemical and biochemical sediments and rocks.
Physical and chemical factors of metamorphism, types of metamorphism, metamorphic structures, regional metamorphism and metamorphic degree; Contact metamorphism, plate tectonic and metamorphism.
Folds, faults and deformations in rocks
On site data analysis, how the rocks are deforming? Folds; how the rocks are breaking? Faults; reconstruction of the geological history; influence of the deformations on the landscape of the Earth.
The rocks, silent witnesses of the geological history
Earth time and history, Absolute time and chronostratigraphic scale; estimate of the terrestrial processes; an overview of the geological time.
The mass movements
What makes the mass of Earth materials move? Classification of mass movements; catastrophic mass movements.
The hydrogeological cycle and the underground waters
Water flows and reservoirs; Hydrology and climate; Surface flow; underground waters; Water resources from the main acquifers, erosion from the water seepage; water quality; the deep waters; the available waters of the Earth.
The rivers: transportation toward the sea.
How the rivers are flowing? The solid load of the rivers and the movements of particles; erosion of the rocks by water flows; River valleys, riverbeds and alluvial planes; the modification of the rivers with time and distance; River basins and flow nets; deltas: the end of the trip.
What’s an earthquake? The study of earthquakes; the big picture: earthquakes and plate tectonics; destruction power of earthquakes.
The glacier and the action of the ice
The nature of the ice; what’s a glacier? The balance of a glacier: how it forms, increase and decrease? How the ice moves? The glacial modeling; the permafrost, variation of glacial extension
Press F., Siever R. – Capire la terra – Ed. Italiana a cura di Lupia Palmieri E., Parlotto M. – Zanichelli Edizioni
Ippolito F., Nocotera P., Lucini P., Civita M., De Riso R. (1975) – “Geologia tecnica per ingegneri e geologi” , ISEDI, Milano.