Geology at Sir Thomas Rich's School

Head of Department:Mr David Green

GCSE Geology (WJEC Examining Board)

This subject is offered as a lunchtime option to interested year 9 students, who apply for places at the end of year 8. The course is completed in one year, requiring a commitment of 3 lunchtimes per week. Assessment is 75% examination (1hr 30 mins) and 25% structured coursework, based on field and laboratory work.

The syllabus covers the following topics:

  • The nature and formation of minerals and the different types of rocks; igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic.
  • The nature and formation of geological structures; fods, faults and unconformities.
  •  The methods of dating rocks and interpretation of geological history
  • The development of landscapes theough natural processes, geological; rock types and structures and by human agencies.
  • Major geological ideas: the Rock Cycle, Plate Tectonics, Global Climatic Change
  • The development of life on Earth
  • The movement of Britain through geological time Geological "News"
  • Great Fossil finds, Geological Hazards - earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, man-made geological hazards
  • The work of professional geologists: exploration for minerals and fuels, geotechnical work, research

AS Geology (WJEC Examining Board)

This subject is studied primarily by Year 12 students (though often there are Year 13 students taking it as an extra AS option). Three modules are involved:

Foundation Geology (GL1)

Matter - The internal structure and composition of the Earth and the evidence upon which our ideas are based. The nature of the Earth's crust: minerals: igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks.

Energy - The formation of minerals and rocks, involving internal and external sources of energy; the Rock Cycle. The model of Plate Tectonics, and its role in controlling volcanic, earthquake, and mountain building activity.

Time and Change - How, by understanding the present, we can interpret the history of the geological past. The preservation, types and uses of fossils. Dating rocks on the relative and absolute time scales. Folding, faulting, unconformities, and the use of geological maps to interpret geological structures and history.

Investigative Geology (GL2)

This module consists of a problem-solving exercise based on a geological map, photographs and actual specimens of rocks, minerals and fossils. It is internally assessed and externally moderated. It requires students to use their geological and investigative skills, acquired through GL1 laboratory and field work, to assess aspects of the geology of a hypothetical area.

Geology and the Human Environment (GL3)

Natural Geological Hazards

Hazards related to:

  • Volcanoes, Earthquakes and Mass Movement (landsides mudflows etc.);
  • The processes, causes and possible methods of control of all of these, their prediction and lessening of their impact on human societies.

Human-related Geological Hazards

Hazards related to:

  • the disposal of waste,
  •  mining and quarrying,
  •  water supply from underground sources.

Civil Engineering

Assessing and minimising the potential hazards resulting from the construction of

  • dams and reservoirs,
  • cuttings and tunnels
  • buildings