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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Earth Dynamics (EASC08001)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryVolcanoes, earthquakes, mountain chains and the diversity of the Earth's rocks tell us that the Earth has been a dynamic planet since its formation 4.6 billion years ago. This course has two main aims: to impart an understanding of the processes which shape the Earth, and to develop practical skills in recognising the evidence of these processes in rocks, both in the field and in the laboratory. The course will have a primary focus on the materials of which the Earth is made, how the major constituents are distributed between core, mantle and crust and how this changes with time through the agencies of plate tectonics and volcanism. Geological resources, from energy, to minerals, and water, are essential for all aspects of society. How these resources are categorised, and where they are they formed is part of our fundamental understanding of the Earth as an integrated system.
Course description Week 1. September 21st - 25th
L1 - Earth in space and its Solar System context. Meteorites, volcanoes and the materials and composition of the Earth (de Hoog)
L2 - Earth through time: an introduction to the evolution of the Earth, geological time and the evidence for a 4550 million year old planet (de Hoog)
L3 - Earth Structure. Introduction to the lithosphere - asthenosphere and natural forces. Observations supporting plate tectonic theory. Palaeomagnetism and plate motion through time. Oceanic and continental plates (Kirstein)

IT exercise 1: Web based Virtual Fieldtrip accessed via Learn.

Practical 1: Assay of the Earth Earth materials and Composition

Week 2. September 28th- October 2nd

L4 - Plate boundaries, sea floor spreading and the age of ocean floor. Types of plate boundaries. Sea floor spreading rates, magnetic anomalies and age of oceanic crust. Earthquakes and plate boundaries; volcanoes and plate boundaries (Kirstein)
L5 - Oceans: Mid Ocean Ridges and subduction zones, seamounts and hotspots, plate motions (Kirstein)
L6 - Sediments - Formation of sediments, transport processes, depositional environments and plate tectonic controls (Kirstein)

Practical 2: The nature of the lithosphere and asthenosphere

Meet at Appleton Tower, ready to depart at 0900 am. ATTENDANCE IS COMPULSORY

Week 3. October 5th - 9th
L7 - Shaping the landscape 1: Mountain building, Archimedes Principle, mountain roots. Ductile and brittle deformation. Generating and sustaining topography (Kirstein)
L8 - Shaping the landscape 2: continental rifting, passive margins, sedimentation (Kirstein)
L9 - Introduction to geophysics, seismology and the structure of the Earth. Importance of geophysics, and investigation of the structure of the deep earth through seismology (Main)

Practical 3: Aspects of the motions of lithospheric plates

Week 4. October 12th-16th
L10 - Earthquakes and seismotectonics. Different types of waves which travel through the Earth, and examine how seismology can be used to locate, measure and understand earthquakes (Main)
L11 - Refraction and reflection seismology. Differences between refraction and reflection seismology and how each technique allows us to comprehend the subsurface. Using active seismology to assess near surface solid earth structures (Main)
L12- Magnetism. Earths magnetic field, geophysical techniques which use magnetic properties of the solid Earth to understand geological processes (plate tectonics, sea-floor spreading etc) (Main)

Practical 4: Be a Seismologist

Week 5. October 19th - 23rd
L13 - Gravity measurements, how certain corrections needs to be applied to measurements to yield useful results, and what the results mean to understanding the subsurface (Main)
L14 - Magmas and igneous rocks; why volcanoes form; igneous intrusions (Fitton)
L15 - Volcanoes and volcanic hazards (Fitton)

Practical 5: Introduction to a microscope- optical mineralogy.

Week 6. October 26th - 30th.
L16 - Introduction to rock-forming minerals (Fitton)
L17 - Basic crystallography (Fitton)
L18 - Composition and texture of igneous rocks; mineralogy and classification (Fitton)

Tutorial: Maps practical exercise

IT exercise2: Introduction to Holyrood Park Learn exercise to be completed before field trip.

FIELD TRIP 2: Holyrood Park / Salisbury Crags / Arthurs Seat
Sat 24th October OR Sun 25th October.
Meet at 09:00 sharp at the grassy parkland area near the roundabout just inside from the St Leonards / Pollock Halls entrance to Holyrood Park. Field trip ends at approximately 12:30 pm. ATTENDANCE IS COMPULSORY

Week 7. November 2nd - 6th

L19 - Magma evolution and fractional crystallisation (Fitton)
L20 - Supervolcanoes, hot-spots and large igneous provinces (Fitton)
L21 - Non-silicate minerals; economic mineral deposits (Fitton)

Practical 7. Salisbury Crags exercise; Salisbury Crags dolerite under the microscope; Top-ten silicate minerals.

Week 8. November 9th - 13th

L22 - Deformation of rocks: Stress, strain and deformation markers. Brittle and ductile behaviour and their manifestations faults, shear zones and folds. Folding and thrusting in mountain belts young and old (de Hoog)
L23 - Metamorphism: The process of metamorphism. Change in mineralogy and texture to yield new rocks from old. Recrystallisation, reaction, equilibrium. The main metamorphic rock types in brief, arranged by texture and structure (de Hoog)
L24 - Metamorphic rocks and minerals: The key metamorphic minerals in rocks of shale-like composition.
Factors of metamorphism: Pressure (P), temperature (T), fluids and strain. Timescale as a key parameter (de Hoog)

Practical 8 : Igneous rocks in hand specimen and under the microscope; fractional crystallisation exercise; non-silicate minerals in hand specimen.

Week 9. November 16th - 20th

L25 - Contact Metamorphism - aureoles, thermal gradients and mineral zones in pelites. Isograds and index minerals. The Ballachulish example. Regional Metamorphism its scale and importance. Barrows zones, mineral isograds and index minerals; relations to P-T diagrams and mineral stabilities (de Hoog)
L26 - Regional metamorphism (de Hoog)
L27 - Geological resources. Types of resource : Energy, fossil and renewable; Minerals and geological processes; Environmental Services, air and water; Impact on human welfare through history (Haszeldine)

Practical 9: Deformation in the Earth.

Week 10. November 23rd - 27th
L28 - Fossil energy, natural processes of genesis, maturation and concentration. Unconventional hydrocarbons. Extraction methods and impacts of use, such as air quality, radiation, climate change (Haszeldine)
L29 - Minerals: process styles of enrichment; sedimentary, industrial, metallic and Rare. Technology demands, trade, security of supply (Haszeldine)
L30 - Water resources and supplies in UK and globally, processing demands, population change. Ocean acidification and sea level change. Outlook for human control or adaptation, mining sea bed and asteroids (Haszeldine)

Practical 10: Metamorphic rocks and minerals; Contact and Regional Cases.

Week 11. November 30th - December 4th
Revision week - Revision question and answer session with course lecturers.

Practical 11: Geology of the mobile phone
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs NONE
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  145
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 30, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 2, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 27, Fieldwork Hours 14, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 117 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 60%, Course Work: 40%, Practical Exam: 0%.

You must pass both components to obtain an overall pass.
Course Work
The course work component includes your weekly practical workbooks as well as field trip attendance and notebook write up. The practical workbooks will be examined twice during the semester. The first practical mark will be based on work completed in selected sections the first set of practicals (Block 1, up to the end of Week 5), the second on work completed in selected sections of the second set of practicals (Block 2, practicals in Weeks 7-10). Your practical books will be submitted at our Assessment Submission Point (Grant Institute, Teaching Organisation Office) for marking mid-way through the semester (end of Week 5 to beginning of Week 6) and following your Week 10 practical. They will be marked within a week of submission and will be available for collection by you in time for your next practical or for end-of-semester revision.
Incomplete practicals or practical workbooks, or absence from a practical where workbooks are marked, will be penalised unless you have special circumstances supported by doctors note or letter from your Student Support Co-ordinator. Be sure to submit your two field-related IT assignments within your workbook.
In addition to the practical workbook you are required to submit your field notebook for marking after each field trip. The second mark will contribute towards your overall practical mark.

Theory Examination:
A two-hour theory exam based on short answers and multiple choice questions will be held at the end of Semester 1. Further information will be provided on this in due course.
The Semester 1 Theory examination will be worth 60% of your final mark.
The theory re-sit examination will be held in August 2016.

If you fail to pass both components at first attempt the following will happen:
Fail coursework, pass exam: Alternative coursework will be assigned which requires all exercises in the practical folder to be completed AND extra petrographic description work. Deadline to submit work to TO Grant Institute 3 pm March 30th, 2016. Exam mark stands no resit allowed.
Fail exam, pass course work: Resit exam in August exam diet; Coursework mark carried forward.
Fail exam, fail coursework: Resit exam in August exam diet; Alternative coursework to be completed including all exercises in the practical folder AND extra petrographic description work. Deadline to submit work to TO Grant Institute 3 pm March 30th, 2016.

Marks should be regarded as provisional until after the final examiners meeting, which will be held in January 2016.

Assessment deadlines
Practical workbooks to be handed in after the practical during week 5 or week 6 depending on practical session as follows:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday practical classes to hand in by 4pm on Friday Week 5.
Thursday, Friday practical classes to hand in by 4 pm on Monday of Week 6.
Feedback Feedback is the process of giving constructive comment to you so that you can improve your performance. During this course there is an opportunity for verbal feedback during all practical sessions. Your practical folders will be assessed twice during the course and comments made on the quality of work and where improvement is possible. There are also two field trips. After the first trip, formative feedback will be provided which can feed forward to your assessed notebook mark after the second field excursion.
If at any point during the course you require clarity please contact the CO in the first instance.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Earth Dynamics1:30
Resit Exam Diet (August)1:30
Learning Outcomes
Students will develop a broad understanding of key, defining geological concepts and theories: the internal divisions of the Earth and its dynamic evolution via plate tectonic processes, the formation ofsedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks, the mechanisms by which rocks deform and break at depth in the Earth, and the dynamic geological settings in which these processes operate. This will be achieved through routine, geological techniques: laboratory practicals including hand specimen and thin section analysis, fieldwork and ICT exercises. These ICT exercises will involve interpretation of deep Earth processes from geophysical data sets and virtual fieldwork exercises. Practical classes will be the basis for investigating professional level problems and issues to formulate evidence-based solutions using the techniques listed above. During these practical sessions students are expected to manage their time effectively and work both independently and with others.
Reading List
Dynamic Earth - An introduction to Physical Geology by EH Christiansen & WK Hamblin
Jones & Bartlett Learning
Understanding Earth by JP Grotzinger & TH Jordan
Freeman 7th edition

General interest reading
Volcanoes and the making of Scotland by B Upton
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Students must take ONE of the following practical classes each week. EITHER Mon 2-5pm OR Tue 9-12noon OR Wed 2-5pm OR Thur 2-5pm OR Fri 2-5pm.
Students must sign up for practical classes on LEARN during Welcome week (week 0) as these classes start in week 1.
Course organiserDr Linda Kirstein
Course secretaryMrs Nicola Muir
Tel: (0131 6)50 4842
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