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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geography

Undergraduate Course: Eroding Landscapes: Mountains, Hills and Rivers (GEGR10136)

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, group work and practicals including numerical modelling exercises 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.
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 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 16, Fieldwork Hours 8, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Summative Assessment Hours 80, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 70 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) Directed learning hours: 74
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100 %
Class assessment: practicals and computer exercises.
Degree assessment: one practical report (40%) and one essay/project (60%).
The essay is a research essay: students will define a research question based on the landscape studied 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 (collected in previous years), data from topographic analysis (e.g., using ArcGIS) and/or numerical modelling results.

Assessment deadlines:
Assessed practical report (40%): Week 5
Essay (60%): Week 11
Feedback Feedback will be provided in the following instances:
- Personal 1-to-1 feedback during the practicals, as students progress on the exercises (once a week).
- Feedback on the work the students hand-in at the end of each practical, including formative feedback on early exercises before assessed exercises have to be completed.
- Feedback during small group exercises and discussions.
- 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.
No Exam Information
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 hillslope 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' is one book that you want to buy, it i'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
KeywordsErosion,hillslopes,rivers,sediment,physical and chemical processes
Course organiserProf Simon Mudd
Tel: (0131 6)51 9090
Course secretaryMiss Leigh Corstorphine
Tel: (01316) 502572
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