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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Applied Environmental Geochemistry (EASC10048)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is designed to build on environmental geochemistry introduced in previous years (e.g. in the 3rd-year Aquatic Systems course and EG field courses) and is delivered through a suite of 1.5-hour sessions that include lectures followed by time for students to engage with and review the subject material. Students are expected to pursue independent study through recommended readings in order to reinforce and broaden their understanding of core material delivered in lecture. The course is assessed through a 90-minute exam in May. Consequently, the course is not suitable for students visiting for semester 1 only.
Course description The course is divided into the following topics, with one or more lectures dedicated to each.
- Organic matter cycling: from organisms to fossil fuels.
- Controls on the preservation and distribution of organic matter in marine sediments.
- Biomarkers: applications of organic compounds, alone and with inorganic and stable isotopic parameters, as tracers of natural processes in present and past environments.
- Geochemistry of trace metals in natural and contaminated environments.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Global Environmental Change- Foundations (EASC09056) AND Environmental Geochemistry of the Earth's Surface (EASC08024)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesOnly available for full year visiting students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 15, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 100%, Course Work: 0 %, Practical Exam: 0%.

The 90-minute final exam consists of a first section of short-answer questions (obligatory, ~ 30 minutes total) followed by two sections (~30 minutes each) in which one of two essay-style questions is selected.
Feedback Extended lecture periods are intended to permit students to raise questions about and discuss lecture material and recommended readings. This may be supplemented by exercises, conducted during these periods or in additional tutorials, (in semester 1 or in semester 2, prior to the May exam). These exercises/turorials will not be assessed, but feedback will be provided (e.g. on responses to mock exam questions).
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)1:30
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)1:30
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will develop a thorough understanding of the principal techniques used in environmental geochemistry through this course.
  2. They will gain a detailed understanding of organic and inorganic geochemistry within a practical 'applied' context.
  3. They will view key natural and anthropogenic processes and issues, relevant to terrestrial, aquatic and marine systems in professional level contexts which contain an inherent degree of unpredictability.
  4. Students will learn how to interpret and apply organic and geochemical tracers, and will enhance their learning through extensive reading, and will therefore be expected to inform their discussions with reference to recent developments.
Reading List
S. Libes: Introduction to Marine Biogeochemistry (Academic Press)
Killops and Killops: Introduction to Organic Geochemistry (Blackwell)
D. Langmuir: Aqueous Environmental Geochemistry (Prentice Hall).
Additional recommended readings will be provided throughout the course.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Greg Cowie
Tel: (0131 6)50 8502
Course secretaryMiss Eilein Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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