General Geology


This course aims to provide the students with a broad knowledge in the area of the Geosciences, in particular on the origin and evolution of Earth, the interaction between the different earth systems, as well as the role played by Geological engineers and Geologists in  present Society.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

José Carlos Ribeiro Kullberg, Paulo do Carmo de Sá Caetano


Weekly - 5

Total - 90

Teaching language



No special requirements


K.CONDIE & R.SLOAN (1998). Origin and Evolution of Earth. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 485 p.
W.HAMBLIN & E.CHRISTIANSEN (1998). Earth’s dynamic systems. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 8ª ed.
F.PRESS, R.SIEVER, J.GROTZINGER & T.JORDAN (2003). Understanding Earth. W.Freeman & Co., New York, 4ª ed.
B.SKINNER, S.PORTER & D.BOTKIN (1999). The Blue Planet: an introduction to Physical Geology. MacMilan Publ. Co., New York, 4ª ed.
A.STRAHLER & A.STRAHLER (1996). Introducing Physical Geography. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2ª ed.
VALLEJO, L. I. Gónzalez de (Coord.) (2002) Ingeniería Geológica. Prentice Hall, Madrid, 744 p.

Teaching method

Different learning methods are used in this course:

- Tutorial teaching, corresponding to the programmed lectures and laboratory sessions

- E-learning methods are available by use of the Moodle  platform, where students can contact instructors for dialogues and questions that they need to ask. This learning component does not substitute the mandatory office hours.

Evaluation method


Subject matter

The importance of Geosciences. The Earth in the Solar System; origin and evolution.
Seismology: seismic waves, scales, zones and maps, seismograms; seismic prevention. The internal structure of the Earth; units and discontinuities. Meteorites.
Continental and oceanic morphology; characteristics of the different units. The continental drift. Plate tectonics – the Hess sea floor spreading theory and the Vine-Matthews hypothesis. The geomagnetic reversal time scale. Transform faults and lithospheric plates. The origin of mountain ranges (subduction and obduction). Stratigraphy: the duality of the stratigraphic classification, units and general principles. The study of a sedimentary basin (eustatism and subsidence). Stratigraphic contacts.
Tectonics and structural geology: deformation in the crust (brittle and ductil). Concept of structural level, tectonic environments and associated structures. Fold and fault nomenclature.
The role of geology in current Society and Geology as an applied science and decision support in engineering. Geological Engineering and the three main areas of activity: geotechnics, geological resources and geoenvironment. Geological resources in Portugal and legislation. Groundwater. Land characterization. Rock mass concept. Soil characterization. Examples of geo-environmental studies.
Laboratory sessions
Essential minerals. The rock cycle. Macroscopic analysis of the main types of rocks and related geological processes. The geologist’s compass. Topographic maps. Geological maps: sections and interpretation.


Programs where the course is taught: