You are here: Home » Study Plan » Subject




Course year 1
CFU 12
Teaching units Unit Tettonica globale e Bacini sedimentari Mod.1
Geology and Paleontology (lesson)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: GEO/03 CFU: 5
Geology and Paleontology (exercise)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: GEO/03 CFU: 1
Teachers: Francesca REMITTI
Unit Tettonica globale e Bacini sedimentari MOd. 2
Geology and Paleontology (lesson)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: GEO/02 CFU: 5
Geology and Paleontology (exercise)
  • TAF: Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class SSD: GEO/02 CFU: 1
Teachers: Stefano CONTI
Exam type oral
Evaluation final vote
Teaching language Italiano
Contents download pdf download


Francesca REMITTI
Stefano CONTI


This course aims to explore the relationships between tectonic processes and the formation of sedimentary basins, namely the relationships between global tectonics and sedimentary basins. After a brief review of the basic principles, processes and classification schemes, the different basins will be analyzed in their specific tectonic settings in relation with stress regimes that generated them and wherever possible the modern or recent examples will be described before the ancient ones. The review will cover basins around the world, but a particular attention will be paid to the Italian basins in order to familiarize with the regional geology and tectonics.The study of the history and evolution of the basins will bring to get a global vision of the geological processes that lead to the formation of environments favorable to the production and migration of hydrocarbons.
For a more complete understanding of the learning objectives, please refer to the learning outcomes expected following the completion of this training course.

Admission requirements

A good knowledge of the basic concepts of stratigraphy and sedimentology, structural geology and tectonics, geophysics, petrography and regional geology is essential in order to be able to carry out large-scale syntheses.

Course contents

1 CFU The interior of the Earth;
1 CFU the framework of Plate tectonics;
1 CFU ocean ridges; continental rifting and rifted margins; 0.5 CFU transform faults,
1 CFU subduction zones; orogenic belts;
0.5 CFU the mechanism of plate tectonics,
0.5 CFU -Classifications of the sedimentary basins.
0.5 CFU - Mechanisms of crustal uplift and subsidence. Wilson Cycle, Introduction to basin analysis techniques
1.5 CFU - Basins related to divergent settings with modern and fossils examples;
1.5 CFU - Basins related to convergent settings with modern and fossils examples of basins;
1.5 CFU - Basin related to transform settings, Hybrid basins with modern and fossils examples of basins.
1 CFU Field Excursion

Office Hours:
I will be available for office visits everyday, but you have to contact me to make an appointment at any time via Email and Skype. All my contact details are below:

Teaching methods

The course is delivered in Italian in the manner described below. Lectures and group discussions carried out with the aid of audiovisual media (Power Point presentations) (10 CFU). In addition, classroom exercises and guided excursions (2 CFU) will be provided. Attendance is not compulsory but strongly recommended. The lessons could be held face to face or remotely depending on the evolution of the COVID19 health situation. The teaching and learning methods may vary according to the evolution of the health emergency In addition to lectures and didactic excursions, forms of collaborative learning are experimented in the course: teaching each other and learning together through the teacher, discussions and debates. Depending on the interests of the students, it will be possible to focus on some types of basins in order to have a deeper picture through reading articles in magazines on the types of chosen basins. Work will be carried out at home regarding reading of texts and scientific articles and a presentation chosen by the student regarding a specific basin, a tectonic environment or a subsidence mechanism. The course would like to be an environment where everyone, in a pleasant way, learns new things and gain confidence in what they have learned.

Assessment methods

The assessment of the profit takes place through an intermediate test, concerning module 1 and a final examination. Both tests must be passed and the final score, expressed in thirtys, will be the average of the two tests. To get the final honors (cum laude) the student must have received the honors in both tests. The intermediate test will be a written test which will consist of 3 open-ended questions or alternatively, at the student's choice, an oral test which will consist of 3 questions. The score of the test will be in thirty (maximum score for each question 10 points) The test will focus on the principles of plate tectonics, and will be worth 50% of the score. The final exam will be a discussion that will start from a specific basin, chosen by the students in agreement with the teacher, which will be analyzed in the light of the plate tectonic theory and genetic processes. The student must be able to analyze the highlights and possible problems in terms of risks and potential geo-resources and compare it with other examples. The final exam will have a score of thirty and will be worth 50% of the score.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students should able to:
- classify sedimentary basins on the basis of plate tectonic setting;
- identify lithospheric processes responsible of sedimentary basins formation (divergent, convergent and strike-slip processes);
- describe the mechanisms (thermal, lithospheric thinning, loading/unloading) controlling the reaction of the lithosphere to these processes;
- link lithospheric mechanics to basin formation;
- verify that basins formed by the interplay of the various processes and mechanisms will have different overall geometries, different internal architectures and different thermal and subsidence histories;
- relate basins to specific plate tectonic environments;
- describe specific examples of basins related to spreading, subduction and strike-slip plate-tectonic regimes;
- interpret and describe the mode of origin of sedimentary basins;
- explain why particular types of basins may be characterised by particular patterns of sedimentation;
- characterise the structural style of sedimentary basins;
- discuss how tectonic and eustatic changes affect basin stratigraphy;
- recognise, explain and predict lateral variations of sedimentary facies in a variety of basin settings;
- relate depositional style to basin setting;
- infer aspects of burial history and basinal fluid migration from diagenetic features;
- discuss the main factors driving subsidence in basins (tectonics, sediment loading);
- predict how basin fill is likely to evolve in relation to compaction and tectonic subsidence;
- recognise the connection between basin subsidence and thermal evolution of the fill;
- use burial indices to produce palaeogeothermal signatures which may themselves be specific to basin origin;
- predict where hydrocarbons might be found.


Appunti e materiale didattico fornito dal docente.

KEAREY P. and VINE F. J., (2010) - Global Tectonics. 3rd Ed., Blackwell

EINSELE G. (2000) - Sedimentary Basins. 2nd Ed. Springer-Verlag.

BUSBY C.J. & INGERSOLL R.V. (eds.) (1995) - Tectonics of sedimentary basins. Blackwell Science, Cambridge. (Please note that this book is no longer available in print form, but it can be freely - and legally!- downloaded from the following website for personal use only:

ALLEN P. A. & ALLEN J. (2005) - Basin Analysis. Principles and Applications. 2nd Ed. Blackwell.

ALLEN P. A. & ALLEN J. (2013) - Basin Analysis. Principles and Applications to Petroleum Play Assessment. 3rd Ed. Wiley-Blackwell.

Research papers about hot topics.