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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Landscape Dynamics - techniques and applications (GEGR10108)

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
SummaryThe form of terrestrial landscapes results primarily from the competition between tectonic and erosion forces. These forces operate over a variety of spatial and temporal scales. For example, plate tectonics dictate where mountain belts are created but their overall form is controlled by interactions with processes at the Earth¿s surface e.g. erosion processes. Exploring how and at what scale these interactions occur is at the centre of understanding key characteristics of Earth¿s landscape. The course describes specific techniques (e.g. fission-track dating; cosmogenic nuclide dating) widely used to determine rates of change in the landscape and examines specific case studies where they have been applied.
The focus is primarily on active mountain belts where the interactions of tectonic activity and climate are well documented.
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Earth Dynamics (EASC08001)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Class assessment: Student presentations (week 5)

Degree assessment: One 2000 word essay 40%; One 2 hour examination 60%

Overall mark for the course (ie degree coursework and examinations) of at least 40 required to pass course.
Feedback On a weekly basis a published paper is read and discussed. Students are asked to highlight the merits of the approach taken and to examine the impact. In week 5 students do an in class presentation on the topic of the essay. There is time for questions at the end so students can demonstrate their understanding and also clarify any uncertainty. Written feedback is provided on the presentation content and style which provides a formative basis for writing the class essay.
Class essay are all marked and commented on with a formal cover feedback sheet highlighting the positives and negatives of the piece of work.
The lecturer all respond to e-mail rapidly and encourage students to discuss the course content with them.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. 1. To develop a detailed, integrated understanding of the interactions between tectonic and erosion forces at a variety of scales.
  2. 2. To assess, critically analyse and understand the temporal and spatial variation of key processes that sculpt the landscape.
  3. 3. To obtain a detailed, critical understanding of key techniques (some of which are relatively specialised) used to obtain rate information and be able to analyse and interpret results.
  4. 4. To explore feedbacks in the Earth system.
Reading List
Every lecture has a list of reference papers in addition the following text books are of use:
Geomorphology (R.S. Anderson & S.P. Anderson) Cambridge University Press.
Low temperature thermochronology: Techniques, Interpretations and Applications (P.W.Reiners & T.A. Ehlers (eds) Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry volume 58.
Tectonic geomorphology (D.W.Burbank & R.S. Anderson) Wiley Blackwell.
Cosmogenic Nuclides: Principles, Concepts and Applications in the Earth Surface Sciences (Dunai T.J.) Cambridge University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills 1. To develop skills of data analysis and critical analysis
2. To improve presentation skills so students are comfortable presenting on a specialised topic to an informed audience
3. To develop the skills needed to produce a coherent, logical written report based on background reading and library based research
4. To develop the skill of making judgements when information comes from a range of sources
KeywordsGeomorphology; thermochronology; cosmogenic nuclides; tectonics; climate; erosion.
Course organiserDr Linda Kirstein
Course secretaryMiss Kirsty Allan
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847
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