Study Abroad and Exchanges



GEO2106 : Earth Surface Processes (Inactive)

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Understanding and monitoring the processes operating on the Earth’s surface and their resultant expression as landforms is vital for the interpretation of ancient environments, the mitigation of natural hazards, maintenance of ecosystems and the use of the natural environment as a resource. Understanding the relationship between modern-day processes and landforms underpins our knowledge of long-term landscape evolution, whilst realistic prediction of the impacts of climate change is underpinned by a fundamental understanding of Earth Surface Processes.
This module provides students with the theoretical background relating to the active geomorphology of a range of Earth environments. The module (optional, but a compulsory prerequisite for Physical geography residential field courses at Stage 2) is designed (a) to explore in significantly greater depth material introduced in GEO1020 (Introduction to Physical Geography) and in GEO1019 (Physical Geography Field Course); (b) to provide an essential knowledge base and practical and field skills for both compulsory field modules in Stage 2 and optional field modules in Stage 3; and (c) to provide essential theoretical background for F800, FH82 and L701 students undertaking dissertation research in active Earth environments, complementing the GEO2111 and CEG2715 dissertation planning modules.

This module aims to:
•       Provide students with a sound theoretical knowledge base relating to active geomorphological processes within a range of dynamic Earth environments.
•       Introduce different theoretical perspectives and to develop understanding of land-forming processes and landform evolution.
•       Prepare students for fieldwork-based modules to be taken in Stages 2 and 3.
•       Provide a solid theoretical introduction for students researching dissertation projects in process geomorphology.
•       Introduce students to a range of data collection and analysis techniques appropriate for use on Stage 2 and 3 field courses and for a wide range of geomorphological dissertations.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus will cover a range of earth surface processes. Specific topics that will be covered include:

•       Glacier dynamics, erosional and depositional processes and glaciated landscapes.
•       Coastal and beach processes, landscapes, and management.
•       Fluvial systems, karst processes, hillslope and weathering processes.

The module will contain a series of practical classes and one day-long non-residential field trip. The practical classes will cover a range of methods and techniques applicable for the investigation and understanding of earth surface processes:

•       Hydrological and fluvial techniques.
•       Aerial photo interpretation.
•       Surveying.
•       Geographic Information Skills (GIS) for earth surface process applications.
•       Geomorphological mapping.
•       Field description and interpretation of sedimentary sections.
•       Laboratory analysis of sediments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture151:0015:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical73:0021:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00Workshop/Group Presentations
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1153:00153:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce key concepts within a range of Earth Surface Process domains, present case studies and emphasise the importance of a sound theoretical basis for student dissertation projects. Fieldwork will enable students to be trained in the use of specific field data collection techniques which will allow the interpretation of landforms and sediments. Practical classes will allow students to gain direct experience of a range of physical geography techniques and skills relevant to the investigation of Earth Surface Processes.

Attendance at practicals and the field trip is compulsory. Attendance registers will be taken for all practical sessions and field days. In the absence of mitigating circumstances non-attendance will result in zero for missed components.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A502 hours, 2 questions from 6
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M50Semester 1 practical/filedwork portfolio 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The group presentation will be assessed to provide an appraisal of the students’ engagement with the field and practical components of the course and their ability to make, synthesise and interpret independent observations and measurements.

The portfolio of practicals will be assessed, allowing evaluation of student engagement within practicals.

The synoptic exam will examine the lecture-based knowledge gained by students. Lectures, supplemented by student reading, impart the essential knowledge base for this and other follow-on modules (fieldtrips, dissertation) and it is appropriate to formally test this knowledge base.

Reading Lists