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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Geomaterials (EASC08021)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIn this course we explore the fundamental nature of the material which constitutes the Earth and other planets. In the Mineral Science section we consider how atoms are arranged in crystalline materials and how this ultimately governs the nature of geomaterials. Interaction of crystalline materials with light, X-rays and electrons are used to introduce the theoretical and practical basis behind the polarising microscope, X-ray diffraction and electron microscope/microprobe. In Composition of the Earth we review the main groups of Earth Materials, considering (1) how structure, chemistry, physical properties, and occurrence are interrelated, (2) how earth materials are used in modern research as information sources to reveal the nature of Earth processes, and (3) introduce theoretical aspects of modern Earth Materials research (e.g. phase stability and transitions). In the final section Chemical Equilibria we consider how the stability and occurrence of geomaterials can be predicted and determined numerically using thermodynamics, and consider factors governing the rates of Earth processes at variable depths.
Course description The week-by-week schedule is given in a separate sheet available from the course Learn page.
Further Course Information can be found at the following links:
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Earth Dynamics (EASC08001)
Students MUST have passed:
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements If students have not taken Earth Dynamics, they will need the permission of the Course Organiser to take this course.
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  90
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 55, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 119 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment Details
Assessments are based on, Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %.

Coursework consists of 50% portfolio of material from practicals, and 50% take-home assessment which is given to students at the end of the course, and covers all the materials from the course (Mineral Science, Composition of the Earth, and Chemical Equilibria).
To pass the course students must achieve an overall (i.e., aggregate) mark of 40% or more.

A1 (90-100) = Excellent; outstanding (1st). A2 (89-90) = Excellent a high 1st. A3 (70-79) = Excellent; (1st). B (60-69) = Very good; (2.1). C (50-59) = Good; (2.2)
D (40-49) = Pass; (3rd). E (30-39) = Marginal fail. F (20-29) = Clear fail.
G (10-19) = Bad fail. H (0-9) = Very bad fail.

Further assessment and feedback information
All details related to extensions procedures and late penalties can be found in the School of Geosciences Handbook, which can be found on the Learn UG Student Information Hub.

Assessment Deadlines
Each of assessed coursework (Portfolio of material from practicals; Take-home assessment) will be submitted electronically on LEARN. Students have to scan the answers and drawings they have made and submit a single document via LEARN for each assessment.
Portfolio: Thursday of Week 9, Semester 1, 12noon
Take-Home Assessment: Thursday of Week 11, Semester 1, 12noon
Feedback Students are actively encouraged to discuss academic problems with lecturers and demonstrators during practical classes. Assessed coursework will be returned to students 15 working days after the submission deadline, with individual feedback from instructors and with recommendations as to how students can improve their grades.
General class feedback is also given in practical classes or on the LEARN course site.
In some lectures, instant feedback is provided to large classes using the TOPHAT system.
Information will be given to students prior to setting assessed work.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Gain a broad knowledge and understanding of the constituent materials which make up the solid Earth, and how the study of minerals can be used to understand the processes which have shaped the Earth throughout geological time.
  2. dentify, describe and interpret geomaterials from an atomic level to a hand specimen scale, and to be familiar with the foundations and application of modern methods used to study geomaterials: diffraction, optical mineralogy, electron microbeam analysis
  3. Have a broad understanding of the most important groups of minerals which constitute the Earth, and develop an understanding of the relations between different groups of materials, their occurrence, formation and stability, and how this information can be used to understand processes occurring on the Earth.
  4. Understand how stability of earth materials can be predicted and determined using thermodynamics, and how the rates of atomic processes govern Earth processes.
  5. This course will develop students theoretical understanding of the study of Earth materials, observational and analytical skills, and numerical skills through lectures and practicals.
Reading List
Nesse, WD (2011) Introduction to Mineralogy. Oxford.
Anderson GM (2009) Thermodynamics of Natural Systems. Cambridge University Press.

Klein C (2007) Mineral Science. Wiley.
Klein C and Philpotts A (2016) Earth Materials. Cambridge University Press.
Deer, Howie & Zussmann (1992) An Introduction to the Rock Forming Minerals. Prentice Hall
Best MG (2002) Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology. Blackwell Science.
Gill R (2008) Chemical Fundamentals of Geology. Springer.
Ganguly, J. (2008) Thermodynamics in Earth and Planetary Sciences. Springer.
Cemic, L. Thermodynamics in Mineral Sciences
McKenzie & Guilford, Atlas of Rock-forming Minerals. Routledge
McKenzie & Adams, A Colour Atlas of Rocks and Minerals in Thin Section. Manson

Further reading
Putnis, A. Introduction to Mineral Sciences. Cambridge.
Langmuir D (1997). Aqueous Environmental Geochemistry. Prentice Hall.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Quantitative ability (through practical based mathematical calculations), observational and individual analytical skills (lab practicals) and group work through take-home class assessment exercises.

Students are actively encouraged to discuss academic problems with fellow students and to work in collaboration: invaluable transferable skills. This course will develop students theoretical understanding of the study of Earth materials, observational and analytical skills, and numerical skills through lectures and lab-based practicals.
Course organiserDr Tetsuya Komabayashi
Tel: (0131 6)50 8518
Course secretaryMr Johan De Klerk
Tel: (0131 6)50 7010
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