Vince/ Course/ IntroStructGeo/ IntroStructSyl15.html

Tentative Syllabus: Professor Vince Cronin's Section of Geology 3445 Introduction to Structural Geology

Professor Cronin reserves the right to revise this syllabus as necessary throughout the semester. Notice of revision will generally be given during one or more lecture meetings, or via email broadcast to registered students in the course.

Important note: This syllabus is not a contract.

The lecture section of this course meets Monday-Wednesday-Friday from 11:15 AM until 12:05 PM in Baylor Science Building (BSB), room E-414, and the lab meets on Tuesdays in the same room from 2:00 until 4:45 PM. Labs begin on September 1. Weather/heat permitting, we might spend some of these lab sessions in the field.

This lecture section is taught by Professor Vince Cronin, Ph.D.
Lab/Office: BSB E441 . . . . . Telephone: (254) 710-2174
Office hours: MWF 9:55-11:00 AM, or by appointment

All email communication to Professor Cronin concerning this course must originate from your Baylor email account.

Purpose Of This Course

This is an introductory survey course in structural geology, intended for undergraduate students who aspire to develop into practicing geoscientists. It is important for undergraduate geoscientists to acquire and retain knowledge of structural geology.

Students in this course are expected to study (i.e., not just skim) the assigned material, which should require no less than ~6-8 hours of concentrated work outside of class/lab each week. If you are not willing to devote that amount of time to this course, you will not learn the material and, hence, there is little point in your taking this course. You need to commit to doing good work and learning the course material, or consider choosing a different and less intellectually taxing major.

Required Books

Required Lecture-Section Textbook: Fossen, 2010, Structural Geology: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-51664-8, 463 p.
Online resources for this book are available at

The labs will be run using a combination of home-brewed exercises supplemented by material from Rick Allmendinger's structural lab book (

Course Homepage and Grade Access

The homepage for this course is

Grades for in-class exams and in-class activities for this course are mainly accessed online via Canvas.
To get to Canvas (which is a "learning management system" used by Baylor), start at the Baylor homepage, select the STUDENTS link on the left of the screen, choose Online Tools on the left side of the subsequent screen, and then choose Canvas. This will link you to a login page for Canvas. After logging in with your Baylor ID and password, choose the 201530 GEO 3445 01 - Structural Geology course.

Approximate Lecture Schedule

In addition to the university holidays this semester (Labor Day, Fall Break, Thanksgiving), there will be no class in the lecture section of this course on the following days because Professor Cronin will be out of town.

DatesNo. DaysTopicsRequired Prior Studying in Fossen (2010)Anticipated Quiz Date
Aug 24-283Introduction & whole-Earth structurechapter 1Aug 31
Aug 31-Sept 43Deformation & strainchapter 2Sept 9
Sept 9-112Finite strainchapter 3Sept 14
Sept 145Stresschapters 4 & 5Sept 25
Sept 25-282Rheologychapter 6Sept 30
Sept 30-Oct 94Brittle deformationchapter 7Oct 12
Oct 12-215Faultschapters 8-9Oct 23
Oct 23-Nov 94Deformation mechanismschapter 10Nov 11
Nov 11-163Foldschapter 11Nov 18
Oct 25-282Foliation & cleavagechapter 12Nov 23
Nov 2-63No Class -- GSA Meetingread a good book
Nov 23-302Shear zones & mylonitechapter 15Dec 2
Dec 21Contractional deformationchapter 16on final exam
Dec 41Extensional deformationchapter 17on final exam
Dec 71Recap/Summaryallon final

About Quizzes

The first quiz on August 31, and concerns whole-Earth structure.
All other quizzes are scheduled to occur at the beginning of class, on the class day following the end of a given topic. Except for valid University excuses with written documentation (e.g., illness, bereavement, athletic, performance), there will be no make-up or re-take quizzes this semester. All make-up quizzes will be administered within one week (or within 3 class meetings) of the original quiz unless other arrangements are made with Dr. Cronin within 3 days of the original exam. No quizzes will be administered early.

Material on lecture quizzes will be drawn from the assigned textbook chapter. Students are responsible for having read all of the assigned chapters in the lecture and lab books. You should assume that every exam is cumulative in nature, so anything from earlier in the course might be part of a subsequent quiz.

About Lab

Approximate Lab Schedule

DatesTopicRequired Prior Studying
Aug 24-28No Labs The First Week--
Sept 1Introduction, 1-D strain, vectors, codinghandouts in lab
Sept 8Matrices, simple programming, strike, dip, rake, bearinghandouts
Sept 15Spatial data, contouring, structure contourshandouts
Sept 22Geologic maps and simple cross sections; plasticine modelshandouts
Sept 29Ground-surface traces from structure contourshandouts
Oct 6Physical models of deformationhandouts
Oct 13Introduction to GPS Strainhandouts
Oct 20GPS Strain Results--
Oct 27GPS Strain Student Presentations--
Nov 2-6No Labs -- GSA Meetingread a good book
Nov 10to be decided--
Nov 17to be decided--
Nov 24to be decided--
Dec 1to be decided--

Support Items To Be Supplied By You (The Student)

You must bring all supplies necessary to complete the lab assignments. Failure to bring the necessary materials to lab will result in a reduction to your final grade, because being prepared to learn is essential for success.. You will need:

  1. A rudimentary scientific calculator with trigonometric functions ($10-$15)
  2. Access to a computer outside of the classroom for word processing, spreadsheet computations, Web surfing, and emailing text with attachments
  3. A field notebook (recommended: Rite in the Rain Geological Field Book No. 540 F,
  4. One or more 3-ring binder(s) for 8.5x11" paper, for handouts and other paper stuff
  5. Other laboratory supplies as appropriate, including tracing paper, a ruler with metric divisions, a protractor, a pencil and eraser
  6. Appropriate personal equipment during field work, including but not limited to clothing appropriate to the weather, a hat appropriate to the conditions, footwear appropriate for field work, sufficient water to keep you hydrated, something to write with, a protractor, a ruler or small tape measure, sun screen or bug repellant if appropriate, and so on.

Some Rules, Practices, Pronouncements, Pontifications, Disclaimers, Understandings

Final Course Grade

It is a little bit difficult to specify how grades will be determined this semester, because the course will simply be different than in the past. It is fair to say that the grades will be based on a mix of traditional exams, projects, participation in lecture and lab, and effectiveness of your preparation (reading and study) outside of class.

  • Oral exams might be given to augment the written exams. While the topics covered in the corresponding written exam will be emphasized, any previous coursework (including the contents of assigned reading and labs) is fair game.
  • Written assignments and oral presentations will be graded based on content, language (use of standard English), legibility, style and presentation. Correct use of standard English is a grading criterion in all elements of this course.

    If you do not attend at least 75% of the lecture meeetings and at least 75% of the lab meetings, the final course will be an F, in accordance with University standards.

    The final exam is scheduled for Saturday, December 12, 2:00-4:00 PM in our regular classroom (BSB E-414). You cannot take the final exam early, so don't schedule that fabulous ski vacation in Grenoble or Igls for anytime before December 13.
    It is not easy to receive a grade of A in this course. It is not just a matter of showing up and doing a reasonable job on exams. To receive a grade of A in this course, a student must consistently display a mastery of the assigned material as judged by Dr. Cronin.

    Students who want to do an undergraduate thesis/research project with Dr. Cronin must earn a grade of A- or better in this course.

    Academic Integrity

    Academic integrity refers to the "integral" quality of the search for knowledge that a student undertakes. The work a student produces, therefore, ought to be wholly his or hers; it should result completely from the student's own efforts. A student will be guilty of violating academic integrity if he/she...
    (a) knowingly represents work of others as his/her own,
    (b) uses or obtains unauthorized assistance in the execution of any academic work, including possessing or using a stolen copy of one of Professor Cronin's exams, or
    (c) gives fraudulent assistance to another student.
    After McGlynn, A.P., 2001

    In the spirit of being a good steward of university resources, you must be careful not to abuse samples, maps, models, reserve materials, or other resources provided for your use in this course.

    Students agree that by taking this course, all required papers, exams, class projects or other assignments submitted for credit may be submitted to or similar third parties to review and evaluate for originality and intellectual integrity. A description of the services, terms and conditions of use and privacy policy of is available on its web site: Students understand all work submitted to will be added to its database of papers. Students further understand that if the results of such a review support an allegation of academic dishonesty, the course work in question as well as any supporting materials may be submitted to the Honor Council for investigation and further action.

    For answers to frequently asked questions about geology and science, go to

    If you have any questions or comments about this site or its contents, drop an email to the humble webmaster.
    All of the original content of this website is © 2015 by Vincent S. Cronin