SCIENZE BIOLOGICHE, GEOLOGICHE E AMBIENTALIGeological SciencesAcademic Year 2022/2023



Expected Learning Outcomes

The course introduces the basin analysis methods used in georesources exploration and gas storage (CO2, H, etc.) with special emphasis on the integration of stratigraphic, structural, and geophysical data. The course builds on two main disciplines: tectonics and stratigraphy. Seismic data will be used to characterize clastic and mixed depositional systems through time and space.


At the end of the course the student will gain:

Knowledge and comprehension of sedimentary basins in their plate tectonic environment and global tectonics; sedimentary basin formation.


Abilities to:

Outline the geometry of geological and sedimentary bodies and the relationships between tectonics and sedimentation. Collect and analyse surface and subsurface geological data;

Interpret collected data.

Reconstruct the evolution of sedimentary basins.

Course Structure

The course will consist of lectures, active and practical work also using interactive platforms (Mentimeter) and Basin Analysis software (Backstrip), field excursions, small group research projects on defined topics, seminars on selected topics. This will enhance knowledge and comprehension of course contents and acquisition of abilities.

Should teaching be carried out in mixed mode or remotely, it may be necessary to introduce changes with respect to previous statements, in line with the programme planned and outlined in the syllabus.

Required Prerequisites

The student should  have acquired  simple concepts of Physical Geology, Plate Tectonics, Stratigraphy, Geology, Structural Geology. 

Attendance of Lessons

Attendance is obligatory as stated in REGOLAMENTO DIDATTICO CORSO di LAUREA magistrale in Scienze Geologiche LM 74 COORTE 2022-2023

Detailed Course Content

Plate tectonics. Makeup of the Earth: compositional division, rheological division. Basins in their plate tectonic environment. Classification schemes of sedimentary basins. The mechanics of sedimentary basin formation. Basins due to lithospheric stretching: pure shear, simple shear. Basins due to flexure. Isostasy. Foreland basins. Basins associated with strike-slip deformation. Tectonic control on sedimentation. Basin stratigraphy. Relative sea level change and accommodation. Driving mechanisms for stratigraphic patterns. Sequence stratigraphy and seismic stratigraphy. Seismic interpretation concepts. Basin analysis. Subsidence and thermal history. Application to petroleum play concepts and gas storage.


The use of bathymetric maps and Google Earth to understand and classify sedimentary basins. Exercises on isostasy principle. Seismic stratigraphy: construction of chronostratigraphic diagrams (Wheeler). Exercises on geohistory and backstripping of sedimentary basins. Introduction to the interpretation of seismic profiles.

Textbook Information

1. Basin Analysis: Principles and Application to Petroleum Play Assessment, 3rd Edition

Philip A. Allen, John R. AllenBasin Analysis: Principles and Application to Petroleum Play Assessment, 3rd EditionWiley2013978-1-118-45030-7

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
11. Plate tectonics. Makeup of the Earth: compositional division, rheological division. Basins in their plate tectonic environment. Classification schemes of sedimentary basins. The mechanics of sedimentary basin formation. 1
2Basins due to lithospheric stretching: pure shear, simple shear. 1
3Basins due to flexure. Gravity and Isostasy. 1
4Convergent margins and related basins: forearc and backarc, foreland basins. Basin inversion. 1
5Basins associated with strike-slip deformation. 1
6Introduction to sequence and seismic stratigraphy.1
7Sea level variations and impact on sedimentation. Controls on sedimentation.1
8Seismic interpretation concepts. Stratigraphic-structural interpretation of seismic profiles.1
9Geohistory e analisi di bacino. Seppellimento, subsidenza e storia termica di un bacino1
10Sedimentary basins and geo-resources. Basins and gas storage.1

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

The assessment may be divided into two parts: midterm and final exams. Even if students do not attend the midterm exam, they may participate in the final exam. The assessment may also take place online if conditions should require it.

Students may ask for compensatory tools and dispensatory measures if needed contacting Prof. Giorgio De Guidi (CInaP delegate of Department SBGA).


The exam is generally written and consists of five questions (to be completed in two hours) on theoretical and practical contents exposed during the first part of the course. The time for the exam will be two hours and, if passed, the acquired score, will be considered in the final mark. 


The final assessment is oral and will deal with all contents (theory and practice) of the course. It may also take into account the development of a project. All the acquired knowledge and abilities will be evaluated. 

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

Sedimentary basins in plate tectonics. Formation of sedimentary basins. Seismic profiles interpretation and correlation with wells  data. Isostasy exercises. Wheeler charts.
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