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Precambrian Geology at Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire

Level 0 (CQFW Level 3), 10 Credits.

Available Dates:

This course is currently not being offered in the academic year 2015 - 2016.

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In the eastern English Midlands, the generally subdued relief is conspicuously interrupted by the craggy, locally-wooded hills of Charnwood Forest, a few miles north-west of Leicester. Here lie rocks formed from explosive volcanic eruptions about 600 million years ago, together with lavas and igneous intrusions. World-famous fossil sea pens and jellyfish, that pre-date the earliest-known shelly fossils, have been found within rocks that were once volcanic ash. No prior knowledge of geology or the locations is assumed.

Please note that you will need to make your own travel and accommodation arrangements, with meetings times and places to be confirmed.

Topics to be covered:
An appreciation of the atypical landforms and underlying geology of Charnwood Forest, compared with that of the surrounding east English Midlands.

The geological history of the area, which spans the last 600 million years, from Late Precambrian times up to the present day. Evidence will be demonstrated for the formation of the Charnwood rocks from explosive volcanic eruptions, lava flows and igneous intrusions within a Late Precambrian plate tectonic collision setting; during the subsequent Triassic period, these rocks formed rugged hills that were gradually buried by desert lake deposits and marine strata; in the geologically-recent ice ages the cover of younger sediments were partially stripped off by erosion to reveal the underlying Triassic ‘fossil landscape’, the Precambrian rocks becoming modified by frost action to locally produce distinct craggy ‘tors’.

The presence in the Late Precambrian rocks of Charnwood Forest of trace fossils belonging to the significant ‘Ediacaran’ fauna: the earliest complex macroscopic life forms known globally, found in only a few scattered outcrops around the world.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Anyone enrolling on this course will need to provide their own PPE, as specified below.

Who is this course for?

Anyone who has, or wishes, to develop an interest in practical geology.

Learning and Teaching

Fieldtrips spread across four days with an emphasis on practical observation and recognition of significant features. 20 contact hours.

Students will be taught the basics of geological science, and the geology (including landforms) of the study area firstly through background reading of the handout forwarded to them in advance of the course (includes text, maps and descriptive annotated sketches); they will then be shown many of the aspects described in the handout in the field, having the handout available at all times for reference. Field skills will be taught during the course, including how to observe and record, how to sample good reference specimens, and to be aware of and act on, key aspects of geological conservation and safety.

Coursework and Assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.
The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Reading suggestions

The following allows you to correlate published British Geological Survey maps with satellite images (‘Google Earth’) of the British Landscape:

Please note that it is not essential that attendees on this course read any of the publications listed in order to complete the course successfully.

Library and Computing Facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.

Accessibility of Courses

Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.

Further Information

A range of further information can be found on our web site or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.