LEVEL 3: A LEVEL
EXAMINING BOARD: EDUQAS
Geology is an instruction manual for the planet.
You will learn how the great heat engine at the centre of our planet drives the movement of plates and makes, destroys and remakes a mind bending array of evidence which the informed student can use to work out the amazing 4.5 billion year backstory of our home planet.
We aim to run two trips per term out into the wonderland of rocks of Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset and an optional six day residential field trip to Spain.
You will study the following topics:
- The internal structure of the Earth – an introduction to the heat engine that drives everything else
- Plate tectonics – how the heat from the centre of Earth drives the surface plates and makes great ash spewing volcanoes, terrible earthquakes and the greatest mountain ranges on Earth
- Igneous rocks – how, where, why and when molten magma changes into a great range of rock types; some rocks are the remnants of catastrophic explosion whilst others are evidence that the UK was once home to some of the biggest mountains in the world
- Sedimentary rocks – the great time machine of Geology. If you know what to look at, sedimentary rocks can tell a tale of ancient deserts four times bigger than the Sahara, tropical swamps filled with monstrous centipedes and ice sheets 4km thick, all within 50km of Taunton
- Metamorphic rocks – natures combined thermometers and barometers. Discover the tale that metamorphic rocks tell of ancient mountains which once towered 8,000m in Scotland and of times when billions of tons of molten granite baked the rocks of the South West, making veins of metal ores which have driven the economic, social and political history of the UK
- Structure – learn how past impacts of plates long gone can be worked out from the cracks and bends they made in rocks hundreds of miles away
- Palaeontology – you will learn about all manner of now extinct life and the role life and geology have played together to control climate and give us the stable temperature Earth we today take for granted
- The Ice Ages – the UK was very recently the world of ice and mammoths, learn why the climate changed and what we can tell from the extraordinary evidence the ice left behind
Economic and Hazard Geology – combining the ideas from the previous modules, we can work out when and where it is safe to build and live and when and where it is worth the cost of digging for treasures.
You will need (or equivalent to);
- GCSE Mathematics grade 4/C or above
- GCSE English Language or Literature grade 4/C or above
- plus three more GCSEs grade 4/C or above
There are three exams.
The exams combine practical techniques, map drawing, map interpretation and short answer data response questions. There are no essays.
The exams test how well you can read the evidence of rocks.
Geology opens many doors in environmental management, mining, water management, waste recycling and academic fields and Geology graduates are amongst the best paid, early career professionals.
Most Geology students go onto university to study Earth Sciences like Geology, Physical Geography, Environmental Science or Palaeontology.
Some past students have taken up Apprenticeships with water companies and rock drilling engineers.
Others have gone directly into work. Some have joined the environment agency, using their knowledge of Economic Geology to predict and monitor how the geology will influence the water supply. Others are working in the copper industry, informing the Mining Engineers of how and where to dig.
Many Geologists are employed in huge engineering projects informing the safe construction of housing, roads, reservoirs, and tunnels.
Is it all about rocks?
No, rocks are one of the main evidences, but they are just one step in an exciting and unexpected story.
Do we study dinosaurs?
Yes, but they are only one part of one module.
Do I need to be able to draw?
No, we do a fair bit of drawing, but you will be drawing simple diagrams which we spend time teaching you to hone to perfection.
Will there be lots of Mathematics?
No, all A Level Sciences have some Maths, but the Maths in Geology is a small part of the syllabus and we go slowly through the Mathematical content and ensure you get plenty of practice.
Do I need specialist equipment or clothing for the field trips?
You need to be warm and dry or you can’t concentrate, but you don’t need to be dressed for a solo attempt on the North face of Everest. We will lend you any equipment you need.