Deformation Processes

MQF Level 6


Deformation Processes

Module Type
ECTS Credits
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Module Description

This module will help the learner understand that all geological materials are deformed when subject to drag, shear, or compression resulting in cracking, folding, and stretching or flattening. These structures can be used for reading the Earth’s history. Students will learn about stress and strain, plate tectonics, structural analysis, techniques of collecting structural data (strike, dip), and some economic applications. The module will include field work and practical examples from Malta and elsewhere that will demonstrate brittle structures (fractures and joints), ductile structures (deformation, folds, lineation, foliation, shear zones) and tectonic structures (faults).  

The required tools and techniques of structural geology (geological map, geological cross-section, geologic compass, stereonet, orthographic projection, strain/stress ellipsoids, Mohr diagram) will be discussed and applied. Methods to determine stress in the field will be discussed in relation to regional stress fields of the Central Mediterranean.  Simple kinematic approaches, relationship of deformation structures to tectonics, and their importance for the structure of the crust and its sedimentary basins will be introduced.



Target Audience

This program caters to individuals interested in enhancing their academic and professional understanding of Geology and Earth Sciences.


Persons seeking to or working in:

  • advance their academic and professional knowledge of Geology and Earth Sciences;
  • advance their academic and professional knowledge of rocks, namely, classification, testing, and use in industry;
  • the construction and quarrying industry;
  • pursue a career in Geology and Earth Sciences;
  • geotechnical laboratories seeking to advance their knowledge and position.

Career Paths

The potential positions for which this programme aims to prepare could be and are not limited to:

  • Professional Geologist
  • Geological technician
  • Manager of geotechnical laboratory
  • Consultancy
  • Court Expert
  • Environmental auditor and Environmental Impact Assessment expert

How you’ll be assessed

The programme comprises a total of 8 modules. The method of assessment is assignment-based.

The course comprises:

  •  Lectures per module depending on the number of ECTS (twice a week);
  • 3-hour lectures;
  • 12 hours of guided learning, presentations, comprising synchronous online discussions, tutorials and/or videos;
  • Assessment may consist of field work carried out in specific location/s in the Maltese Island;
  • Self-study hours comprising research, reading and assignment work.




The programme includes different forms of assessment which allow for and promote students’ critical engagement. The formative and summative assessment tasks may include an in-class assignment and/or a home-based written assignment using diverse assessment tools which may take the form of online and in-class discussions, examinations, case studies, reports, proposals, essays, and presentations, etc., as applicable to the diverse modules.

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