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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Field Skills for Geology and Physical Geography (EASC09051)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides key field skills required to observe, measure, process and interpret landscapes from both a geological and geographical perspective.

***Field course location and trip duration 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 course will be announced as soon as possible.***
Course description This course encompasses key field training provided for 3rd year GPG students through delivery of field courses including:
- 2-week field course to Inchnadamph in NW Scotland (prior to start of S1)
- 9-day field course based around the geology and geomorphology of southern Spain, which may be replaced by a 7-day virtual field trip should travel restrictions not allow us to travel to Spain for educational purposes. The trip will likely run during spring vacation, at some point between the 3rd and the 14th April 2023.

These courses will teach a wide array of field skills, including geological and geomorphic mapping, identification of relevant geologic evidence, landscape interpretation, quantitative field and GIS based skills, and methods of data collection.
The Inchnadamph trip aims to develop an understanding of the relationship between the surface and the subsurface and increases the ability of students to gather pertinent data from rock outcrops and surface features. The trip is broadly divided into two. A first week dedicated to the bedrock geology in terms of identifying lithologies, structural displacements, sedimentary environments and mapping. The mapping is over three days. The second week is dedicated to the geomorphology of the region, and the controls determined by the underlying geology. There are glacial exercises on mapping landforms, and a fluvial exercise that lasts 2 days.
The Spain trip focuses on the development of Neogene and Quaternary sedimentary basins and associated landscape evolution in the Betic Cordillera in SE Spain. By the end of the Spain trip, students will have a broad and integrated knowledge and understanding of the Neogene and Quaternary evolution of SE Spain which will be gained through analysis of the sedimentology and geomorphology of the area studied. The principal learning outcomes of the Spain component of the course are the further development of key integrated skills based on a region that experiences active tectonics and fast erosion, which will assist students when they undertake their dissertation project. Students will learn how to exercise the autonomy and initiative required to conduct the independent mapping project and will practice drawing on a range of sources to assist with making judgements. Should the trip be virtual, it will more heavily rely on the use of GIS-based mapping with online materials, but will aim to achieve similar learning outcomes.

For up to date information regarding field trip costs and dates please go to:
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Earth Dynamics (EASC08001) AND Geomaterials (EASC08021) AND Global Tectonics and the Rock Cycle (EASC08020)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 4, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Fieldwork Hours 85, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 99 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment Details
100% Coursework
Inch: 50% of course: Geological mapping, Fluvial exercise
Spain: 50% of course: Notebooks and exercises
All assessments are handed in during, or at the end of both field trips.

Assessment Deadlines
Inchnadamph Field Work ¿ Handed in during Field Trip
Spain Coursework ¿ Handed in during Field Trip
Feedback Assessments are carried out in the field, and all work is handed in by the end of the trips. This means that there are lots of opportunities to discuss progress with staff and demonstrators. On both trips, notebooks are looked at and formative feedback is given early during the trip. Discussions are ongoing throughout evening work sessions, and so feedback is constantly given on all aspects of student learning on these trips.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop a broad, integrated knowledge of the geology and evolution of both the Assynt region and its place in the geological evolution of NW Britain, and the Neogene and Quaternary evolution of SE Spain.
  2. Develop a broad, integrated knowledge of the processes that shape the Earth's surface and how to quantify them including measurements of hydraulic geometry, stream gauging, mapping of quaternary landforms, measurements of sediments, GIS methodologies, and topographic measurements (e.g., channel slope and width).
  3. Develop and enhance field skills required for the effective documentation and interpretation of data from both rock outcrops, topography, and measurements of Earth Surface processes. These skills will include mapping, cross-section construction, sediment logging, field surveying, analysis of sediments and quantitative methods of data collection.
  4. Develop skills in visualising map and related field data in three dimensions using appropriate graphical techniques.
  5. Develop skills in synthesising the evolution of an area in terms of its geology and its surface processes through the integrated use of field measurements, maps, application of theoretical models of landscape evolution, cross-sections, diagrams and accompanying reports.
Reading List
Students are expected to read widely on their selected topic area. Additional generic papers in how to conduct research or write proposals etc will be provided throughout the semester.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsGeology,Physical Geography,Field Skills,Mapping
Course organiserDr Mikael Attal
Tel: (0131 6)50 8533
Course secretaryMr Johan De Klerk
Tel: (0131 6)50 7010
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