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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE1561 Earth

10 creditsClass Size: 90

Module manager: Dr Alexander Dunhill

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

SOEE1560 Introductory Earth Sciences

This module is not approved as a discovery module


This module is intended to give an introduction to:
- the Earth Sciences, placing importance on fundamental geological concepts and processes (dynamic Earth; plate tectonic theory; basic mineralogy and petrology; Earth history and palaeontology),
- and the fostering of basic geological skills (rock and mineral identification; geological maps).

Learning outcomes
"On completion of this module a student will:
- be familiar with the basic evolution of Earth as a planet;
- be able to outline the theory of Plate Tectonics, giving examples of different types of plate boundaries and where they are found on the earth;
- have an appreciation for the dynamic nature of planet Earth and how this drive the rock cycle;
- have an appreciation of Deep Time and the age of the Earth;
- have an understanding of how the rock record preserves a history of past geological events (Earth system history) and some of the many limitations of this;
- be able to name the three major rock types and outline the main features/criteria of each;
- have knowledge of earth materials, focusing on the common rock forming silicates, oxides, sulphides/sulphates and carbonates;
- be able to identify some of the main rock forming minerals;
- understand that natural processes work to shape the landscape and also to produce rocks, and be able to link some common rocks with their environments of formation;
- have an understanding of the basics of structural geology focusing on folds, faults and dipping strata;
- be able to read and use geological maps;
- have an understanding of how the rock record preserves a history of past geological events (Earth system history) and some of the many limitations of this;
- be familiar with basic concepts of palaeontology. Understand how the fossil record has helped to divide up geological time;
- appreciate the wealth of economic resources discovered and exploited by geologists. Appreciate the importance of the role of geologists in society, both today and in the past.

NB: Due to the likely fluid nature of the Covid19 situation over the approaching academic year, the scheduling and delivery of practical and laboratory activities forming part of this module may be subject to change. Every effort will be made to meet the module learning outcomes in every situation but it may result in the postponement or replacement of any practical and field activities with online activities."

Skills outcomes
Identification of rocks and minerals in hand specimen and thin section.
The interpretation of geological maps.


The lecture course will cover the following topics:
- brief history of geology/earth science;
- evolution of Earth as a planet;
- plate tectonics and dynamic Earth theory;
- Earth materials - introduction to petrology and mineralogy;
- common rock forming silicates, oxides, sulphides, carbonates and evaporites;
- rock cycle and petrology as linked to environments of formation;
- igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic petrology;
- structural geology;
- earth system history;
- stratigraphic principles;
- basic palaeontology;
- geological time; geological maps.

The practical course and field course will cover the following topics:
- hand specimen and thin section identification of common rocks and main rock-forming minerals; O.S. and geological map reading and interpretation (likely done virtually with photographs and videos due to Covid19);

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours8.00
Private study hours72.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Independent online learning:
Students will have weekly online (hosted on the VLE) MCQ quizzes to complete, these will be based on that week's lecture material.

Private study:
Students will be expected to read relevant chapters from course texts that will be recommended to them, and to independently consolidate and review material covered in lectures and practicals.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Online quizzes: will help to consolidate learning from week to week, as well as test the students' knowledge of material covered and provide formative assessment.

Mid-term optional tutorials: short one-to-one meetings which students will be invited to attend to discuss any course issues.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportPractical Assessment50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

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

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Open Book exam0 hr 45 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

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

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 10/05/2023 16:29:07


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