|Year of offer||2018|
|Subject level||Undergraduate Level 1|
|Fees||Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date|
This subject is an introduction to Geology, Geography, Climate and Environmental Science. It provides an overview of the processes controlling the formation and evolution of our global environment. We begin by exploring the origin of the Earth as a planet within the solar system, its layered structure and (solid and fluid) constituent properties, and the importance of the orbital characteristics in controlling changes in the global climate. The evolution of the major physical features and landscapes of the Earth, including the mountain belts, continents, rivers, coastlines and ocean basins, are described in terms of plate tectonics and its constituent processes of continental drift, seafloor spreading and sea-level changes. The nature of volcanoes and earthquakes are discussed, as are surface processes, such as weathering, erosion and the transport of sediments. Natural chemical and energy cycles are highlighted and causes of biogeographic patterns are explored, all at a number of different time scales. The circulation and interactions of the atmosphere, ocean and land are also examined. The Earth’s present climate, the hydrological cycle and past and future climate change are studied, including glacial/interglacial cycles and their relationship to landscapes, biogeography and anthropogenic impacts.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should have gained a holistic view of the global environment, encompassing the solid and fluid Earth and its formation, evolution, and modern structure. Students will be familiar with: the materials that comprise the Earth and atmosphere and their impact on biota; the complex interplays between these four spheres; the modes of formation and the underlying processes that drive the evolution of the solid Earth and landscape and life; and changes in the Earth’s climate on modern and geological timescales. This subject provides the foundation for further study in Geology; Climate and Weather, Environmental Science and/or Geography.
The generic skills acquired in this subject include:
- learning how to approach problems when there may be no right answer;
- applying discipline knowledge to issues of public debate (e.g. climate change);
- tackling complex exercises within a team environment in the laboratory; and
- observing in the laboratory the basic materials of the global environment.