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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Field Skills for Earth Surface Scientists (EASC09032)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis is a two-week field course to Inchnadamph in North West Scotland, which will take place from Thursday 26th May to Thursday 9th June 2016.
The course teaches a wide array of field skills needed by Geoscience students, including geological mapping, geomorphological analysis of river and glacial landscapes, quantitative field skills and methods of data collection including sedimentary logging.
The course develops an understanding of the relationship between landscape and geology and increases the ability of students to gather pertinent data from rock outcrops and surface features.
Lastly, the course provides an in-depth understanding of the geological history of the Northwest Highlands, with an emphasis on how this influences the modern landscape.
Course description A single lecture will be given in the week prior to departure that outlines the aims and objectives of the fieldtrip and gives background on the geological and geomorphological evolution of the area. During the field trip the days comprise the following.

Day 1: An Overview of Assynt Geology
Documentation of regional stratigraphy and geological structure: Knockan Crag, Loch Glencoul car park, Stronechrubie.

Day 2: Overview of Lewisian/Torridonian in Foreland
Study contact between Lewisian and Stoer Group (informally termed Torridonian). Walk through Stoer succession of sediments and volcanics. Clachtol and Achmelvich if time.

Day 3: Glacial Erosion and Subglacial Processes Glacial Deposits
Training in glacial erosional features and glacial tills near Inchnadamph: Unapool, Elphin and Lonan Valley.

Day 4: Fluvial Geomorphology
Training into measuring hydraulic geometry, discharge, sedimentology and geomorphic characteristics of fluvial systems Follow-up from previous day. Analysing downstream fluvial responses to sea-level change. Lonan Valley and Lochinver.

Day 5: Fluvial Geomorphology
Build on yesterday by looking at another river section and comparing results: Traligill (walk from lodge).

Day 6: Introduction to Geological Mapping
Learn basic techniques of compass use bearings and recording data on map using similar succession to previous day (Torridonian and Lewisian). Loch Assynt shoreline.

Day 7: Day Off (staff change)
Recharge/Recover and overview notebooks.


Day 8: Sedimentary Logging Through Cambrian Succession and Fold Structures.
Sedimentary logging exercise and sedimentology of the Cambrian succession: Skaig Bridge. Record folding in the upper parts of the succession: Achmore Farm.

Day 9: Predictive Mapping Using Stratum Contours Day 1
This will build on your mapping skills to consider how to predict the distribution of units and boundaries across the landscape using stratum contours - Lochan Feoir and Creag Sgiathaig.

Day 10: Predictive Mapping Using Stratum Contours Day 2
Having mapped some of the boundaries yesterday and projected statum contours during the evening this day will test those predictions through further mapping up into the hills - Lochan Feoir and Creag Sgiathaig.

Day 11: Mapping Exercise
A 3 day project for you to hone your independent mapping skills. Cam Loch/Ledmore.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Global Tectonics and the Rock Cycle (EASC08020) AND Introduction to the Geological Record (EASC08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Contribution to the field work costs in 2014 was 190
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesNot available for Visiting Students in 2015-16.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A broad and integrated knowledge of Highland geology and surface processes of the Quaternary and recent times.
  2. An ability to work as part of a group in order to collect and process data.
  3. An ability to bridge the timescales of the deep geological record with the Quaternary processes responsible for the modern landscape.
  4. An ability to reconstruct palaeo-environments based on their depositional record.
  5. An ability to apply quantitative theories in geomorphology to test the processes active in modern landscapes.
Reading List
A Geological Excursion Guide to the North-West Highlands of Scotland (2011)
by Kathryn M. Goodenough and Maarten Krabbendam.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserProf Alastair Robertson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8546
Course secretaryMiss Sarah Thomas
Tel: (0131 6)50 8510
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