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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Eroding Landscapes: Mountains, Hills and Rivers (GEGR10094)

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
SummaryThis course aims to provide students with a detailed, integrated knowledge of the physics and dynamics of erosion and landscape evolution in non-glaciated landscapes. Hills and mountains are continuously being denuded and dissected by erosional processes. In non-glaciated landscapes sediment is produced on hillslopes, delivered to channels, and eventually transported to basins.
Course description In this course, students will be introduced to the processes that sculpt these upland regions. The processes and their feedbacks will be analysed at different scales, from particles to mountain ranges and from single transport events (e.g. landslide, flood) to geological time scales. Theoretical, experimental (analogical and numerical) and field studies constitute the basis of this course. Lectures, practicals including numerical modelling exercises and field work will allow students to understand and quantify hillslope and fluvial processes and to gain knowledge on the interactions between these processes and on their relative importance in driving landscape evolution. The course includes a one-day field trip on Sunday of week 5.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Geomorphology (GEGR08002)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Written Exam: 60%, Course Work: 40 %, Practical Exam: 0%.
Class assessment: practicals and computer exercises.
Degree assessment: essays/projects (40%) and examination (60%).

The essay is a research essay: students will define a research question based on the landscape studied in the field and through analysis of topographic data in the lab. They will then produce a short (2000-word) research paper describing the research question, study area, observations and data, and a discussion of the observations and data to address the research question. Data typically consists of a mix of field data, data from topographic analysis (e.g., using ArcGIS) and/or numerical modelling results. The essay will be handed in on Monday of week 10, noon.
The exam consists of one essay question and between five and ten short questions referring to different topics covered by the course.
Feedback Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback in the following instances:
- Personal 1-to-1 feedback during the practicals, as the students progress on the exercises (once a week).
- Written feedback on the work the students hand-in at the end of each practical. Hand-in is not compulsory but strongly encouraged.
- Personal feedback on essay topics: students will pick their own essay topic (research paper style) and are encouraged to run their idea by the lecturers before committing to it.
- Personal 1-to-1 feedback during the field trip (day trip) as the students practice different techniques to collect data.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. a detailed understanding of the physical processes involved in fluvial and hill slope erosion
  2. a critical understanding of how local erosional processes act and interact to sculpt landscapes at catchment, mountain range and continental scales
  3. an ability to quantify both fluvial and hill slope processes in terms of mass conservation, and use this ability to make predictions about future behaviour of landscapes
  4. a knowledge of the tools that modern geomorphologist use to analyse these processes (e.g. topographic analysis, numerical modelling)
  5. an improved ability to critically review and consolidate knowledge and thinking in a discipline.
Reading List
Anderson R.S. and Anderson S.P. (2010), Geomorphology: the mechanics and chemistry of landscapes, Cambridge Univ. Press, ISBN 0-521-51978-6. (if there's one book that you want to buy, it's this one!)
Bierman, P.R. and Montgomery D.R. (2014), Key Concepts in Geomorphology, published by W. H. Freeman, ISBN 9781429238601 (strongly recommended).
Burbank D.W. and Anderson R.S. (2001), Tectonic Geomorphology, Blackwell, ISBN 0-632-04386-5.
Carson M.A. and Kirkby M.J. (1972). Hillslope form and process, Cambridge Univ. Press, ISBN 0-521-08234-X.
Knighton D. (1998), Fluvial Forms and Processes: A New Perspective, Hodder Arnold, ISBN 0-340-66313-8.
Tinkler K.J. and Wohl E.E. (1998), Rivers over rock, AGU Geophysical monograph 107, ISBN 0-87590-090-0.
Willett S.D., Hovius N., Brandon M.T. and Fisher D.M. (2006), Tectonics, Climate and Landscape Evolution, GSA special paper 398, ISBN 0-8137-2398-1.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information The course includes lectures, practicals and a one day field trip.
KeywordsErosion,hillslopes,rivers,sediment,physical and chemical processes
Course organiserDr Mikael Attal
Tel: (0131 6)50 8533
Course secretaryMiss Carry Arnold
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847
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