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Programme: BScHons Geology

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Minimum duration of study: 1 year
Total credits: 135

Programme information

Renewal of registration

  1. Subject to exceptions approved by the Dean, on the recommendation of the head of department, and in the case of distance education where the Dean formulates the stipulations that will apply, a student may not sit for an examination for the honours degree more than twice in the same module.
  2. A student for an honours degree must complete his or her study, in the case of full-time students, within two years and, in the case of after-hours students, within three years of first registering for the degree and, in the case of distance education students, within the period stipulated by the Dean. Under special circumstances, the Dean, on the recommendation of the head of department, may give approval for a limited extension of this period.

In calculating marks, General Regulation G.12.2 applies.

Apart from the prescribed coursework, a research project is an integral part of the study.

Admission requirements

A BSc degree in Geology with an average of 60% for all the geology modules at third-year level. In the selection procedure the candidate's complete undergraduate academic record will be considered. The positions available are limited to 25 and candidates who have progressed faster through their undergraduate degree will take preference. Outside applicants and those with unusual degree structures may be admitted after perusal of their academic records and at the discretion of the head of department.

Pass with distinction

The BScHons degree is awarded with distinction to a candidate who obtains a weighted average of at least 75% in all the prescribed modules and a minimum of 65% in any one module.

Minimum credits: 135

Minimum credits:  135

Core modules

GLY 702 Volcanology 702 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

This module traces the path of magmas from their ultimate source in the mantle, storage and evolution in the crust, through eruption at the surface where they interact with the landscape and atmosphere. Volcanic eruptions and the transfer of mass and volatiles from the deep interior of the planet. Transformation of the landscape by violent eruptions, and impact on the atmosphere on short timescales. An integrated history of magmatism and its central role in the production of the crust and the degassing history of the planet. The fluid dynamics of volcanoes, from viscous magma flows to turbulent, multiphase eruptions.

GLY 703 Geophysics and basin analysis 703 Credits: 16.00

Module content:

Physical properties of rocks and minerals: porosity and permeability; density; magnetic properties; natural radioactivity; elastic properties; seismic wave attenuation; thermal properties; electrical properties. Basic principles and applications of various geophysical techniques: gravity, magnetic, resistivity, electromagnetic, seismic and radiometric techniques. Principles of basin analysis; controls on sea level change; subsurface analytical methods; basin mapping methods; subsidence analysis (decompaction and sediment loading, subsidence curves); sequence stratigraphy; sedimentation systems in different basin types; Precambrian basins.

GLY 704 Crustal evolution 704 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

Precambrian crustal evolution.  Precambrian plate tectonics.  Precambrian evolution of the African plate (Eburnean, Kibaran and Pan-African events).  Phanerozoic evolution to the African plate; global examples of tectonics as a continental crustal source.  Determination of deformational history of crustal rocks; determination of palaeostress conditions in ancient crustal rocks.  Practical experience of structural analysis and determination of deformational history.

GLY 706 Ore deposits and mining methods 706 Credits: 16.00

Module content:

Systematic review of major metallic and non-metallic ore types and examples in South Africa and world-wide; ore type models (geometry, size, geodynamic setting, grade, chemistry/mineralogy). Controlling legislation and infrastructural requirements for mining.  . Mining methods: open cast and underground. Metallurgical treatment, metallurgical plants and waste disposal. Pollution, acid drainage and acid rain.

GLY 707 Mapping camp 707 Credits: 9.00

Module content:

Mapping and analysis of a geologically complex area using different techniques.

GLY 710 Honours project 710 Credits: 30.00

Module content:

Independent acquisition of geological field and/or laboratory data, treatment and interpretation thereof, and writing of an honours essay.

GLY 711 Igneous petrology and geochemistry 711 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

Interpretation and application of advanced petrogenetic tools: the Rb/Sr and Sm/Ndisotopic systems, quantitative interpretation of binary and ternary phase diagrams, assimilation-fractional crystallisation – partial melting. Abundance of elements in the crust, crust-forming models. Hydrous geochemistry. Recognition of geochemical anomalies. Analytical methods and the treatment of geochemical data.

GLY 712 Metamorphic petrology and geochemistry 712 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

Geothermometers and geobarometers, PT-t loops. Studies of major African and other mobile belts: Limpopo, Natal-Namaqua, Pan-African and Hoggar.

GLY 713 Economic geology 713 Credits: 16.00

Module content:

Basic remote sensing methods and their applications to geology;    basic geophysical and geochemical exploration techniques;  exploration target generation - philosophies and methods;  professional geological practice;  the SAMREC and similar codes; geologists in the business environment; case studies. Practical component (runs parallel to theory above) encompasses ore-microscopy; ore mineral identification; ore textures; analysis of ore assemblages; instrumental techniques applied to ores.