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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Glacial Processes and Geomorphology (GEGR10075)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is designed to introduce students to glacial processes operating in past and present glacial environments. This will involve the study of glacier mass balance, glacier physics, ice motion and hydrology, glacial erosional and depositional processes and the past, present and future of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets. It will draw on methodologies that use theoretical, field based and remote sensing techniques to infer glacial processes. A field project in the Highlands enhances understanding of the links between process and form in glacial environments.
Course description The course will be structured around the following series of lectures providing a grounding in fundamental glacial processes. The field class to the Cairngorm Mountains will be used to demonstrate both the complexity and importance of linking process to form in the glacial environment.
Week 1: Introduction to physical glaciology, ice mass morphology and distribution.
Week 2: Mass balance and ice formation.
Week 3: Glacier hydrology.
Week 4: Glacier hydrology.
Week 5: Glacier motion.
Week 6: Glacier motion.
Week 7 Ice sheets and the global climate system - Greenland and the Arctic.
Week 8: Ice sheets and the global climate system Antarctica I.
Week 9: Ice sheets and the global climate system- Antarctica II.
Week 10: Student presentations and discussion.
Week 11: Student presentations and discussion and revision session
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Environmental Sensitivity and Change (GEGR08001) AND Geomorphology (GEGR08002)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Contribution towards weekend field trip
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  43
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment)
Degree assessment: One two-hour examination (2 questions) AND One 2,000 word essay from a selection of six essay titles.
Feedback Students will receive formative feedback following field class presentations at the end of the Cairngorm Field class and following 10 minute presentations that summarise and critique an academic paper.

These paper presentations will be given in weeks 10 and 11 and presented in pairs.

Feedback will be given on summative assessment in relation to the 2000 word course essay and the December exam. All students will be invited to an examination feedback session following release of the course results.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Glacial Processes and Geomorphology2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. develop a sound knowledge of glacier morphology and distribution and the dynamic of various ice masses with reference to mass balance, thermal properties, basal conditions and bed materials
  2. develop their skills of critical analysis through inter-disciplinary study
  3. develop their ability to produce a written report based on library research
  4. develop their research skills with respect to project design, primary field data collection, group research work and data analysis and presentation skills
Reading List
Bamber J. and Payne, A. (2005) Mass Balance of the Cryosphere. Camb. Univ. Press.

Benn D and Evans D (2010) Glaciers and Glaciation. Arnold. 2nd edition.

Cuffey K and Paterson W S (2010) The Physics of Glaciers. Pergamon. 4th edition.

Gurnell A. M. and Clark M. J. (eds) (1987). Glacio-fluvial Sediment Transfer - an Alpine perspective. Wiley.

Hooke R LeB (1998) Principles of glacier mechanics, Prentice Hall.

Knight P (1999) Glaciers. STP.

Sharp M., Richards K. S., and Tranter, M. (eds), (1998) Glacier Hydrology and Hydrochemistry, J. Wiley.

Particularly useful Journals include the Journal of Glaciology, Annals of Glaciology, Nature, Science, Nature Geoscience, Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters and Geology.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Transferable skill-learning objectives
- have developed their skills of critical analysis through inter-disciplinary study
- have further developed their ability to produce a written report based on library research
- have further developed their research skills with respect to project design, primary field data collection, group research work and data analysis and presentation skills
Course organiserDr Robert Bingham
Tel: (0131 6)51 4635
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Mcallister
Tel: (0131 6)50 4917
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