Undergraduate Course: Glacial Processes and Geomorphology (GEGR10075)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course is designed to introduce students to glacial processes operating in past and present glacial environments. This will involve the study of glacier mass balance, glacier physics, ice motion and hydrology, glacial erosional and depositional processes and the past, present and future of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets. It will draw on methodologies that use theoretical, field based and remote sensing techniques to infer glacial processes. A field project in the Highlands enhances understanding of the links between process and form in glacial environments.
***PLEASE NOTE FIELD COURSE LOCATIONS MAY CHANGE FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, INCLUDING SECURITY RISKS, INCREASED COSTS OR INABILITY TO ACCESS FIELD LOCATIONS. ANY CHANGES TO THE MAIN DESTINATION OF THE FIELD TRIP WILL BE ANNOUNCED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE***
This course aims to provide students with a fundamental knowledge of the physics and dynamics of glacier ice masses, enabling them to understand what controls glacier formation and the subsequent behaviour of ice masses. It also develops a critical understanding of the processes associated with glacial environments, in both ice-contact and proglacial situations and considers the future stability of the world┐s ice masses in a warming climate.
The course will be structured around a series of lectures providing a grounding in fundamental glacial processes. The field class to the Cairngorm Mountains will demonstrate both the complexity and importance of linking process to form in the glacial environment.
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Written Exam: 60%, Course Work: 40 %, Practical Exam: 0%.
Exam in December diet, will require answering two questions (from six) based on the lecture programme and background reading associated with the course. The course work will involve producing one 2000 word essay from a selection of six essay titles.
Course Essay - Week 9
||Students will receive formative feedback following field class presentations at the end of the Cairngorm Field class and following 10 minute presentations that summarise and critique an academic paper. These paper presentations will be given in weeks 10 and 11 and presented in groups of ~three.
Feedback will be given on summative assessment in relation to the 2000 word course essay and the exam. All students will be invited to an examination feedback session following release of the course results.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S1 (December)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- demonstrate a thorough understanding of glacier and ice sheet morphology and distribution and the dynamics of various ice masses with reference to mass balance, thermal properties, basal conditions and bed materials
- demonstrate the ability to explain critically the processes controlling meltwater transport through the glacial system, with specific reference to supraglacial, englacial and subglacial hydrology
- demonstrate an understanding of how and why ice masses are changing in a warming climate and the implications for future sea level
- demonstrate skills of critical analysis through inter-disciplinary study and their ability to i) produce a written discursive essay based on library research and ii) to give a team presentation summarising the findings and significance of a selected academic paper
- develop their research skills with respect to project design, primary field data collection, group research work and data analysis and presentation skills
|Bamber J. and Payne, A. (2005) Mass Balance of the Cryosphere. Camb. Univ. Press.|
Benn D and Evans D (2010) Glaciers and Glaciation. Arnold. 2nd edition.
Cuffey K and Paterson W S (2010) The Physics of Glaciers. Pergamon. 4th edition.
Gurnell A. M. and Clark M. J. (eds) (1987). Glacio-fluvial Sediment Transfer - an Alpine perspective. Wiley.
Hooke R LeB (1998) Principles of glacier mechanics, Prentice Hall.
Knight P (1999) Glaciers. STP.
Sharp M., Richards K. S., and Tranter, M. (eds), (1998) Glacier Hydrology and Hydrochemistry, J. Wiley.
Particularly useful Journals include the Journal of Glaciology, Annals of Glaciology, The Cryosphere, Nature, Science, Nature Geoscience, Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Research Letters and Geology.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Transferable skill-learning objectives
- have developed their skills of critical analysis through inter-disciplinary study
- have further developed their ability to produce a written report based on library research
- have further developed their research skills with respect to project design, primary field data collection, group research work and data analysis and presentation skills
|Course organiser||Prof Peter Nienow
Tel: (0131 6)50 9139
|Course secretary||Miss Carry Arnold
Tel: (0131 6)50 9847