Geology of sedimentary basins


Earth and environmental sciences (2nd level)

Paleobiology and sedimentary geology (2nd Cycle)

Course code: MIB01
Year of study: none

Course principal:
Assist. Prof. Špela Goričan, Ph. D.


Workload: lectures 30 hours, seminar 10 hours, tutorial 20 hours, individual work 80 hours.
Course type: elective
Languages: Slovene, English
Learning and teaching methods: lectures, practical training (laboratory and field work).


Course syllabus (download)


First-cycle Bologna degree or a university degree in the natural sciences.


Content (Syllabus outline):

  • Sedimentary basins and their geodynamic settings
  • Classification of basin types in relation to plate-tectonic processes
  • Marine and terrestrial depositional environments, processes and facies
  • Stratigraphy of sedimentary sequences; impact of tectonics and climate
  • Petrography, geochemistry and diagenesis of sedimentary rocks; implications for provenance studies and burial history.



  • Nichols, G. 2009. Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (2nd edition). Wiley-Blackwell, 1-419.
  • Ingersoll, R.V. 2012. Tectonics of sedimentary basins, with revised nomenclature. In: Busby, C. & Azor, A. (Eds.) Tectonics of Sedimentary Basins: Recent Advances. Wiley-Blackwell, 3–43.
  • Busby, C., Ingersoll, R.V. (Eds.) 1995. Tectonics of Sedimentary Basins. Blackwell Science, 1-579.
  • Reading, H.G. (Ed.) 1996. Sedimentary Environments: Processes, Facies and Stratigraphy (3rd edition). Blackwell Science, 1-704.
  • Leeder, M. 1999. Sedimentology and Sedimentary Basins. From Turbulence to Tectonics. Blackwell Science, 1-529.
  • Allen, P.A., Allen, J.R. 2013. Basin Analysis: Priciples and Application to Petroleum Play Assessment (3rd edition). Wiley-Blackwell, 1-549.


Objectives and competences:

The course aims to emphasize the dynamic understanding of the stratigraphic record in relation to the tectonic setting of sedimentary basins. The students will expand their knowledge on stratigraphy and sedimentology, and will be introduced to basin analysis. Laboratory work will focus on sedimentary petrology but will also include excercises on sequence stacking patterns, stratigraphic cross sections and isopach maps. During field trips, the students will have the opportunity to inspect modern as well as ancient sediments of various depositional environments. The field trips to ancient rocks will preferentially visit different sedimentary sequences of the same age to provide an overview of a larger depositional system. As individual work, each student will analyse published stratigraphic sections of a selected area and prepare a written report.


Intended learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding:

The student understands the close relationship between the stratigraphic evolution and tectonic setting of sedimentary basins. He knows how to estimate accumulation and subsidence rates from outcrop data. He is able to interpret the basin-fill in terms of relative sea level, synsedimentary tectonics and climate. He knows how to use intrabasinal stratigraphic correlations to reconstruct the geometry and subsidence history of the basin. He can identify the composition and diagenetic features of sedimentary rocks and make inferences on sediment provenance and burial history. He is able to propose a geodynamic setting of the studied basin. He has sufficient knowledge to discuss source-to-sink aspects of the depositional system in a larger-scale paleogeographic context.



Written or oral exam (70 %), coursework (30 %).