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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

GEOG1040 Dynamic Landscapes

20 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Dr Megan Klaar

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Dynamic Landscapes introduces students to the principles and applications of geomorphology. Topics include the concepts underpinning geomorphology, and focuses on how geomorphic processes (e.g. erosion and weathering processes) drive a number of natural hazards including landslides, mass movements, glacial lake outburst and glacial surges, volcanic eruptions, sinkholes and coastal erosion. A series of micro- meso and macro-scale studies will be presented in a range of global environments.


GEOG1040 has the following aims:
1. To introduce students to the basic principles of geomorphology.
2. To introduce students to the application of these principles to a range of global environments and natural hazards.
3. Through field and/or desktop/computer practicals, to develop students’ practical skills in collecting and analysing geomorphological data.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students who have engaged well with the syllabus should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:
1. Basic physical principles in geomorphology.
2. The role of continuous ‘slow' processes and rarer, high-magnitude, events in shaping landscapes.
3. Weathering, and sediment and solute transfer processes in a range of the Earth’s environments.
4. The hydrological cycle from the global to hillslope scale.
5. How the spatial and temporal scale of processes affects their impact on the development of geomorphological landscapes.
6. How geomorphology affects human interaction with the landscape and vice versa.

Skills outcomes
A. Knowledge and understanding.
A2. The diversity of global environments and the operation of, and inter-relationships between physical and biological systems over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales.
A3. Patterns and processes of environmental change and their inter-relationships with human activities.
A9. The theory and application of quantitative, visualisation and other spatial techniques across a wide range of geographical contexts

B. Cognitive skills.
B3. Critical analysis and interpretation of data and text.
B4. Developing reasoned arguments.
B5. Solving problems and making reasoned decisions.

C. Practical/professional skills.
C1. Plan, design, execute and report geographical research both individually and as part of a team.
C2. Undertake effective laboratory and field work (with due regard for safety and risk assessment).
C3. Employ a variety of technical and laboratory-based methods for the analysis and presentation of spatial and environmental information (e.g. GIS, water chemistry, etc).
C4. Collect, interpret and synthesise different types of quantitative and qualitative geographical data.

D. Key skills.
D1. Learn in familiar and unfamiliar situations.
D2. Communicate effectively (in writing, verbally and through graphical presentations).
D3. Apply numerical and computational skills to geographical information.
D4. Use information technology effectively (including use of spreadsheet, database and word processing programmes; Internet and e-mail).
D7. Manage time and organise work effectively.


The teaching on this module will be organised into blocks. Apart from Block 1, which will always be the first component of the module, the blocks may be taught at different times in different years depending on staffing and the timetabling of components on other modules (like fieldtrips). Some blocks may overlap and run concurrently. Each block comprises about a quarter of the module and each will be taught using a combination of approaches.

Block 1.Geomorphological concepts.
This block will involve lectures and practicals that cover the following topics: (i) fundamental geormorphological principles including balance and transfer equations, and the frequency and magnitude of geomorphological events; (ii) approaches to studying geomorphology, including palaeo-reconstructions, process measurement, landscape measurement, and computer modelling. (iii) geomorphology and people (how are people affected by geomorphological processes and how do people, in turn, shape the landscape?)

Block 2. Erosion and weathering
Using lectures and workshops, this block will cover the processes behind the basic components of balance and mass transfer equations and will also look at how weathering and erosion are mediated by climate, biological processes, tectonic (geological) processes, and human activity. Examples from a range of environments will be used to support the theory in this block. A key component of the block will be the hydrological cycle; many geomorphological processes are hydrological or are affected by hydrological processes.

Block 3. Collecting and analysing geomorphological data.
This block will involve collection and analysis of data collected either individually or as part of a group field trip. Data analysis will be supported by practicals and explanatory lectures.

Block 4. Application of concepts to study of a particular environment.
Using lectures and workshops, this block will introduce students to case study examples of study of the landforms and processes from a range of global environments. Specific topics may vary year on year, but will often include glacial environments, fluvial landforms and processes, and slope development in temperate environments. Applications could include academic interest, or else natural hazard management and natural resource management, for example.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours30.00
Private study hours133.00
Total Contact hours37.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Lectures and practicals will be accompanied by reading lists (textbooks and journal articles), with an expectation of around three hours reading in support of each lecture.
- Preparation for each workshop will involve up to four hours of work.
- Further private study time will be spent preparing coursework and revising for the exam.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored via the workshops (see above) and also via performance on a data- analysis report. Feedback on the coursework will be provided via individual comments on students’ scripts and a generic feedback document uploaded to Minerva.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1600 words40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:32:19


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