GV1DE-Our Dynamic Earth

Module Provider: Geography and Environmental Science
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Hazel McGoff

Email: h.j.mcgoff@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
Earth is a dynamic and evolving planet with a record of plate tectonic and environmental change over its 4.6 billion year history. This module explores the geological structure and the processes that shape our planet. A series of practicals are designed to explore the science behind these key processes.


The key processes that occur in the Earth System will be explored with the emphasis on understanding their characteristics, how they impact human societies and their geological significance.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Students will be able to understand the major processes occurring within major geological and Earth Science Systems. They should be able to explain the processes by which volcanoes and earthquakes develop and their prediction, as well as the deep structure of the Earth. The practical sessions will give those taking this course a ‘hands on’ approach to geological processes via simulation exercises.

Additional outcomes:
Students' observational and recording skills will be enhanced through practical laboratory sessions. Their key skills of problem solving, critical appraisal of scientific information and written communication skills will also be developed.

Outline content:

Lecture and practical content includes: - the deep structure and zoned nature of the Earth - heat transport within the Earth System - the structure of the mantle and its role in the Earth system - the evidence for plate tectonics - the origin and prediction of Earthquakes - volcanic systems and their hazards - the nature of the magnetic field on the Earth.

Global context:
The very nature of the course covers evidence from the entire globe. All the continents are covered and include evidence from numerous international locations each week. The students are encouraged to monitor volcanic and earthquake observatory data from around the world.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
One interactive lecture each week and a two hour practical session.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10
Seminars 2
Practicals classes and workshops 20
Guided independent study 68
Total hours by term 98.00 2.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Set exercise 50

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
Discussions in class, on-line quizzes.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One and a half hours.

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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