BSc Geography and Geology with a year abroad
Year of entry: 2018
Course unit details:
Tectonics, Climate and Landscape Evolution
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||School of Earth and Environmental Sciences|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
This course illustrates the importance of Earth surface processes in sculpting modern landscapes and in the longer-term development of mountain ranges. A number of recent exciting and controversial hypotheses regarding potential linkages between climate change and tectonics are considered. Students are introduced to the latest quantitative techniques and modelling approaches, and encouraged to evaluate hypotheses and develop their own ideas. Students will also develop practical skills including ArcGIS and numerical modelling.
To gain a detailed understanding of:
1. the processes operating at the Earth’s surface that control weathering, erosion, sediment transport and deposition,
2. the role that surface processes play in landscape evolution at a range of scales, including their importance on geological time- and length-scales through feedback relationships with tectonics and climate change.
3. the latest techniques and hypotheses in quantitative geomorphology.
On completing the course students will:
• Understand the major processes that govern landscape evolution, and the landforms and deposits that they produce
• Be able to evaluate hypotheses linking surface processes, tectonics, and climate change
• Have exposure to the latest techniques in quantitative geomorphology
• Be familiar with numerical models of landscape evolution
• Be able to load and visualise digital topographic data in ArcGIS
10 x 1 hr lectures, 9 x 2 hr practicals. Lecture and practical are linked each week.
Introduction and motivation
Hillslope and other processes
Quaternary dating methods (no practical)
Landscape evolution modelling I
Landscape evolution modelling II
Environmental change and summary
Assessed practical (Week 2) (10%)
Literature review exercise (10%)
Oral presentation (10%)
Theory Exam will be 2 hours long and will concentrate on fundamental principles and hypotheses through multiple choice (1/3) and essay (2/3) questions. (70%)
Individual hand-written comments on the work submitted to be returned to students two weeks after submission.
Individual hand-written comments on printouts of the work submitted to be returned to students two weeks after submission.
Marks and general comments to be posted on Blackboard within two weeks of the presentations.
General feedback to be posted on Blackboard.
Anderson, R.S. & Anderson, S.P. (2010) Geomorphology: The Mechanics and Chemistry of Landscapes. Cambridge University Press
Burbank, D.W. & Anderson, R.S. (2000) Tectonic Geomorphology (1st edition). Blackwell
Burbank, D.W. & Anderson, R.S. (2011) Tectonic Geomorphology (2nd edition). Wiley-Blackwell
Allen, P.A. (1997) Earth Surface Processes. Blackwell
Leeder, M.R. (1999) Sedimentology and Sedimentary Basins: From Turbulence to Tectonics. Blackwells
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Practical classes & workshops||18|
|Independent study hours|
|Simon Brocklehurst||Unit coordinator|