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Understanding Planet Earth (ERTH10002)

Undergraduate level 1Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2017
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 1
Subject codeERTH10002
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject will allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the processes governing the geological evolution of the Earth. This will be achieved via the lecture series, practical sessions and a four-day field trip, providing hands-on and theoretical investigations employing Victoria’s geology.

Initial topics covered in this subject include minerals, rocks and fossils.

The subject continues on to cover the topics of structural, metamorphic and economic aspects of our regional geology.

These studies are integrated with field case studies, during a four day field trip to collect fossils, rocks and minerals that are used to interpret the geological evolution of the region.

On completion of this subject, students should understand and be able to identify the basic components that make up planet Earth; comprehend the diversity of the rock-forming minerals, the processes by which rocks form and evolve; the use of structural geology in interpreting the relationships between rock units in time and space; the contribution of palæontology to the study of evolution; and climate change over geological time. Students should appreciate the contribution of geology to the interpretation of the history of planet Earth.

Intended learning outcomes

This subject builds upon the theoretical big picture approach of ERTH10001 The Global Environment. It provides greater depth to many of the topics introduced in ERTH10001 The Global Environment using geological studies to a gain an understanding of the evolution of the Melbourne and Victorian environment.

On completion of this subject students should appreciate how different types of data, samples and observations are integrated to interpret Earth processes. Students should also have begun to develop practical skills in the acquisition of data in the field and laboratory, essential to unravelling such processes.

Generic skills

On completion of this subject students should be able to apply their discipline knowledge to issues of public debate. These include the ozone hole, the greenhouse effect and sea level rise. The subject will provide experience in presenting technical topics in written form, a skill that is useful in later work. Students will also participate in some simple collaborative projects that will enable them to develop skills for the design and completion of technical experiments. Other generic skills acquired in this subject include learning how to sharpen observation skills and how to grapple with unravelling complex processes.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
EVSC10001 The Global Environment
Semester 1

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • Assessment of practical class exercises (10%);
  • a mid-semester 2-hour practical examination (25%);
  • field exercises during the mid-semester field trip (40%);
  • a 1-hour written examination held in final teaching week (25%).

A pass in the practical and fieldwork components is necessary to pass the subject.

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    Principal coordinatorAnne-marie Tosolini
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours3 x one hour lectures per week for eight weeks; 1 x three hour practical class per week for eight weeks; 4 days of field excursion during the mid-semester recess
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period24 July 2017 to 22 October 2017
    Last self-enrol date 4 August 2017
    Census date31 August 2017
    Last date to withdraw without fail22 September 2017
    Assessment period ends17 November 2017

    Semester 2 contact information

Time commitment details

Estimated total time commitment of 170 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    To be advised

    Recommended texts and other resources

    "Earth's Dynamic Systems", Web Edition, Hamblin and Christiansen (available online)

    "Understanding Earth", 6th Edition, Grotzinger and Jordan

  • Subject notes

    Special Requirements: Students should consult the Earth Sciences web site for field trip dates, charges for excursions, accommodation and food, and other information including safety and behaviour requirements: http://www.earthsci.unimelb.edu.au/field-trips

    This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course.

    Previously known as 625-104 The Earth, Atmosphere and Oceans (prior to 2010)

  • Breadth options
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and Exchange students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad.

Last updated: 16 November 2018