Study Abroad and Exchanges



GEO3110 : Tectonic Geomorphology

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Tectonic geomorphology is the study of the interplay between tectonic and surface processes that shape the landscape in regions of active deformation. Recent advances in the quantification of rates, physical basis of tectonic and surface processes have rejuvenated the field of tectonic geomorphology. Modern tectonic geomorphology is an exciting and highly integrative field, which utilizes techniques and data derived from studies of geomorphology, seismology, paleoseismology, geochronology, structural geology, geodesy, and Quaternary climate change. This module will provide the basis to understand this active research field.

Outline Of Syllabus

Active tectonics on Earth:
•Introduction to plate tectonic theory.
•Constructive & Destructive Plate Margins: An introduction to rifting, sea-floor spreading and subduction.
•Collision Tectonics and Orogeny.
Geomorphic markers:
•Geomorphologic response to active faulting
•Impact of erosion, sedimentation and climate on active faulting
Chronological Techniques:
•Space and field based techniques for the identification and evaluation of Quaternary deformation
•Morphochronology (the dating of Quaternary landforms).
Application of the techniques in Active tectonics:
Practical: Mapping and evaluation of the morphology affected by active deformations

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture92:0018:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical43:0012:00Desk practical - 20 per group/ 2 sessions except for last practical which will be whole cohort
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical23:006:00GIS practical - Computer cluster
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1161:00161:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

•       Lectures provide an introduction and illustration of the key processes driving global plate tectonics and an understanding of their importance in landscape development, both at the present day and at a variety of timescales during the Cenozoic (last 60 million years).
•       Seminars allow the student to (i) demonstrate their understanding of the key concepts introduced in the lectures; (ii) practise the critical evaluation and presentation of complex arguments; (iii) take part in informal discussion, encouraging an expansion of ideas introduced in the lectures and in the group presentations.
•       Practicals allow the student to have a hand-on understanding of the concepts presented in the lectures and discuss in the seminar. They will also prepare for the examination.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A40N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M40Hand in following the last 3h practical
Practical/lab report2M20GIS Practical - GIS portfolio
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The coursework written examination requires the student to present their understanding of tectonic geomorphology problems, and to provide critical evaluation of competing arguments. The short questions will test understanding of tectonic geomorphology tools (40% mark).

The desk practicals are undertaken to test the student’s ability to extract key arguments from an unseen field area and to present their way of approaching the problem in a synthetic manner. The student will make morphological map and be given a list of key questions to help critical and quantitatively analyse the area. The hand-in will contribute to 40% of the final mark.

GIS practicals are undertaken to test the student’s ability to manipulate GIS data and create informative maps and figures in a region of active tectonics. The portfolio will contribute to 20% of the final mark.

Reading Lists