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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Environmental Geochemistry (PGGE11172)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course consists of 14 one-hour lectures and 6 one-hour examples class/case study/presentation sessions. The lectures cover the main characteristics and geochemical processes of soils, a fundamental treatment of acid-base equilibria in aquatic systems, and an integrated approach to redox and complexation equilibria in soil waters. The other sessions are devoted to discussion of case studies which provide ┐real-world┐ application of the theory covered in the lectures and to student presentations and problem-solving workshops.
Course description Lecture 1 Characterisation of soils and sediments
Lecture 2 Soil properties, erosion and forensic science
Lecture 3 Mineral surface properties and cation exchange capacity
Lecture 4 Instrumental methods for mineral characterisation in environmental samples
Lecture 5 Characterisation of natural organic matter in soils and sediments
Lecture 6 Transformations of organic matter: formation of fossil fuels
Lecture 7 Composition of soil porewaters
Lecture 8 Interaction of porewater organic contaminants with solid phase soils and sediments
Lecture 9 Acid-base equilibria in natural waters 1
Lecture 10 Acid-base equilibria in natural waters 2
Lecture 11 Redox equilibria in natural waters 1
Lecture 12 Redox equilibria in natural waters 2
Lecture 13 Complexation equilibria in natural waters 1
Lecture 14 Complexation equilibria in natural waters 2

Case Study 1 Remediation of contaminated urban environments: importance of redox equilbria (Cr)
Case Study 2 Remediation of contaminated environments: importance of complexation equilbria (Pb)

Examples 1 Soils and sediments
Examples 2 Speciation and health implications
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements There are no pre-requisites but some chemical knowledge is recommended.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  50
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 76 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written assignment of 2000 words (75% of total assessment)
Oral presentation (25% of total assessment)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. understand the composition of soils and the main geochemical processes leading to soil formation.
  2. appreciate the differences in composition encountered in contaminated soils.
  3. understand the chemical equilibrium approach to determine speciation in aquatic systems.
  4. interpret pe-pH predominance and speciation diagrams.
  5. interpret geochemical research findings and present geochemical information verbally and in written essay format.
Reading List
Principles of Environmental Chemistry, R.M. Harrison (Ed), Royal Society of Chemistry, 2007. Chapter 3.

Environmental and Low Temperature Geochemistry, P. Ryan, Wiley Blackwell, 2014.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsEnvironmental geochemistry
Course organiserDr Margaret Graham
Tel: (0131 6)50 4767
Course secretaryMrs Alice Heatley
Tel: (0131 6)50 4866
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