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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Planetary Geochemistry (EASC10112)

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 will investigate key aspects of the geochemistry of the planets and planetary bodies which comprise our solar system. The evolution of these bodies through time will be investigated, from the birth of the solar system to the present day. The course will be taught as a mixture of student-led seminars and debates, and independent research assignments.
Course description The course will investigate a number of topics in current geochemical research over an eight week period. Each week a new topic will be investigated in relation to planetary geochemistry. Examples of topics include, but are not limited to:
- From dust to planets in less than 100Myr: modelling the formation and early evolution of the solar system
- Accretion and core formation in the early Earth and the Moon-forming impact
- Meteorites as building blocks for the rocky planets; are chondrites representative of the bulk silicate Earth?
-Origin of melt anomalies with the Earth's mantle: critiquing the plume hypothesis
- Comparison of volcanic activity on Earth, Mars and Venus: how composition, accretion and size control planetary evolution
- Formation of the first continental crust on Earth, and the onset of modern style plate tectonics
- The Earth's core: light element composition, inner core crystallisation and their control on the Earth's magnetic field
- Geochemistry beyond the inner solar system: icy moons, large asteroids and super-Earths
- Kimberlites, and diamonds as a probe of the deep Earth

A reading list consisting of 2 to 3 topical peer-reviewed journal articles will be issued to the students each week, which should be read prior to the workshop/seminar session. Each week, the background to each session will be briefly introduced, and students will present short 15 minute oral presentations on the selected papers. This will then be followed by an instructor-led topical debate and discussion. Each student will present 2 papers during the course (subject to class size). Presentations will be both peer assessed and graded by staff. Students will additionally prepare an essay on one of the topics presented, not including material from sessions in which they have already orally presented.
This course will allow students to gain further skills in independent learning and critical analysis and in debating, but at the same time having the comfort of knowing a staff member will be available to assist them in identifying the key points during discussions.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Geomaterials (EASC08021) AND Practical Geochemistry and Data Analysis (EASC10103) AND Igneous, Metamorphic and Ore Processes (EASC10107)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesMust have taken similar courses as pre-requisites. Acceptance into the course will be on CO discretion.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 1, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 24, Summative Assessment Hours 25, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 48 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework: 100%

30%: Student oral presentations of research papers: students will prepare and present 2x15 minute talks throughout the course. These will be assessed by staff.

10%: Peer feedback exercise: students will peer review presentations and provide constructive feedback. Feedback sheets will be graded by staff.

60%: Written presentation. Students will prepare a 2000 word essay/report summarising key aspects on one of the chosen topics. This will not be a topic which students have orally presented in.

Deadline will be Friday 6th April 2018 at 12noon. Work to be submitted via Turnitin. Please note that due to fieldwork teaching of Kate and Geoff, the turnaround time for feedback and marks for this assessment will be delayed.
Feedback Students will receive written and oral feedback on the seminars within the session they present, both from staff and their peers. Class-led discussions will provide immediate feedback on whether their peers agreed on the key points highlighted, with additional written peer feedback at the end of each session. Staff will additionally grade and assess presentations and provide individual feedback for student presenters at the end of each session. Written feedback on reports will be given by staff.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Synthesise and critically analyse key data and complex arguments from peer reviewed literature
  2. Gain experience of oral communication of complex ideas
  3. Be confident at peer assessing oral presentation and providing useful, constructive feedback
  4. Gain insight into the chemical evolution of planets within the solar system
  5. Become familiar with key topics in modern geochemistry and planetary research
Reading List
A new reading list will be set at the start of the course each year. It will consist of peer-reviewed literature that is easily accessible by the students.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course is designed to help students become independent learners. Students will gain skills in researching, assessing and critically analysing scientific literature and then synthesising complex data and arguments into oral and written presentations. they will gain oral and written communication skills and debating skills to a professional level.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Kate Saunders
Tel: (0131 6)50 2544
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Thomas
Tel: (0131 6)50 8510
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