Study Abroad and Exchanges



GEO3075 : Glacial Meltwater Processes and Products (Inactive)

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Glaciers constitute a major component of the earth’s system and are of fundamental importance when considering landscape evolution, climate change and sea level change. Glacial meltwater plays a vital role in governing the dynamics of ice masses and in extending the influence of glaciers and ice sheets well beyond their margins. Glacial meltwater is also responsible for numerous distinctive landforms and deposits which can be used to reconstruct former climates. The study of glacial meltwater therefore deserves a place within Physical Geography. This module provides you with a challenging insight into glacial meltwater processes and products. During the module we will engage with the latest research findings and active topics of debate within the subjects of Glaciology, Glaciohydrology and Glacial Geomorphology.

This module aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the principles, theory and practice of glacial hydrology, glacifluvial geomorphology, glacifluvial sedimentology and glacilacustrine processes and forms.

Outline Of Syllabus

The Syllabus will cover:
•       Introduction to the glacial and meltwater systems
•       Meltwater generation mechanisms
•       Meltwater runoff measuring and modelling
•       Nature of glacier 'plumbing' system
•       Controls on glacier meltwater routing
•       Meltwater storage: ice-marginal , supra-, en- and subglacial lakes
•       Meltwater runoff regimes
•       Meltwater and glacier motion
•       Glacier outburst flood ‘jökulhlaup’ generation mechanisms
•       Jökulhlaup characteristics
•       Glacifluvial sediment flux
•       Proglacial fluvial systems
•       Geomorphic and sedimentary impact of jökulhlaups
•       Glacial mega flood landscapes
•       Subglacial meltwater erosion and deposition
•       Subglacial deposition
•       Glacilacustrine and glacimarine processes
•       Glacilacustrine and glacimarine landforms and sedimentary associations
•       Meltwater as an agent of glacier sediment entrainment


Pre- field trip computer practical.


Three day (two night) compulsory residential field trip to Glen Roy and Glen Spean, Inverness-shire, Scotland.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion156:0056:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1100:00100:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical22:004:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork38:0024:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce key concepts across a range of glacial meltwater themes and present case studies.

Fieldwork will enable students to be trained in the use of morphological and sedimentary data collection techniques which will allow the interpretation of meltwater processes within the UK’s most spectacular meltwater landscape. Practical classes will allow students to analyse secondary data sets before embarking on the fieldwork and integrate their data sets following fieldwork.

Attendance at practicals and field trips are 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 Examination902A502 hours, 2 questions from 6
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M502000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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

The report assesses the ability of students to analyze and present a range of primary and secondary field data. The report assesses their ability to relate field results to literature and their development of critical argument. Over all the field report assesses written communication skills and report writing style.

Reading Lists