GEOL10060 Introduction to Earth Sciences

Academic Year 2021/2022

This module introduces students to Earth Science, the multi-disciplinary study of the past, present and future of planet Earth and other planets in our solar system.

The course is in 3 parts, each comprising 5-8 lectures, one or two laboratory class(es) and an independent on-line exercise. Most lectures and all practicals will be presented Face-to-Face, with recordings of all lecture and practical classes also provided online.

No previous knowledge of the subject is assumed. The examinable content is that presented in the lectures, practical exercises and independent on-line exercises. No textbook is required.

The first part considers the origin of the solid Earth, its atmosphere and oceans and how these have evolved over the past 4,600 million years. It examines in detail the concept of plate tectonics and explains how this relates to the global distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes, and impacts on other important processes that shape the Earth, including oceanic circulation, and climatic patterns.

The second part examines how surface processes and burial generate the sedimentary rocks that record Earth’s history. This geological record is an archive of environmental change over time. Particular emphasis is placed on detailing the broad scale geological evolution of Ireland via analysis of sedimentary rocks of different age.

The final part reviews the history of life on Earth as recorded in the fossil record, and emphasises the coupled evolution of the geosphere and biosphere. Selected key events in the evolution of life through time are discussed, including the origin and early evolution of life, evolution of animals and plants, and global scale environmnetal catastrophes through time. Particular emphasis is placed on the role mass extinction events have played, and whether the global scale biotic changes the Earth is currently experiencing warrants the descriptor ‘the sixth mass extinction event’.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the module students will:

(a) be familiar with the structure of the Earth, including an understanding of the concepts of plate tectonics and its role as a control on the occurrence of various natural phenomena.

(b) have an understanding of the geological evolution of Planet Earth through time

(c) appreciate that the Earth can be considered as a system that functions via a series of interconnected physical chemical and biological global-scale processes.

(d) have a broad understanding of the geological history of Ireland

(e) understand how the sedimentary rock record including its fossil content is formed, and how the relative age and absolute age of such successions is established.

(f) appreciate how the geological record is an archive that documents environmental change over time at different spatial and temporal scales

(g) have acquired practical skills linked to the interpretation of geographical and geological maps

(h) have increased awareness that the Earth is currently undergoing environmental change that is global in scale and occurring at an unprecedented rate

Indicative Module Content:

The first part considers the origin of the solid Earth, its atmosphere and oceans and how these have evolved over the past 4,600 million years. It examines in detail the concept of plate tectonics and explains how this relates to the global distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes, and impacts on other important processes that shape the Earth, including oceanic circulation, and climatic patterns.

The second part examines how surface processes and burial generate the sedimentary rocks that record Earth’s history. This geological record is an archive of environmental change over time. Particular emphasis is placed on detailing the broad scale geological evolution of Ireland via analysis of sedimentary rocks of different age.

The final part reviews the history of life on Earth as recorded in the fossil record, and emphasises the coupled evolution of the geosphere and biosphere. Selected key events in the evolution of life through time are discussed, including the origin and early evolution of life, evolution of animals and plants, and global scale environmnetal catastrophes through time. Particular emphasis is placed on the role mass extinction events have played, and whether the global scale biotic changes the Earth is currently experiencing warrants the descriptor ‘the sixth mass extinction event’.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning

54

Lectures

22

Practical

8

Online Learning

16

Total

100

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Learning is through a series of lectures and practical classes which will be mainly be presented face-to-face, but with recordings of all lectures and practicals also made available online. In addition to the lecture and practical classes there are online reading exercises. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Multiple Choice Questionnaire: MCQ on final part of course 1 hour End of Trimester Exam n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No

40

Multiple Choice Questionnaire: MCQ exam on second part of course Week 8 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No

30

Multiple Choice Questionnaire: MCQ exam on first section of course Week 5 n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No

30


Carry forward of passed components
No
 
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
Repeat Within Two Trimesters
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Online automated feedback
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Oral individual and group feedback in Practical classes. Pre-exam quizzes are provided with and without correct answers, to allow students to measure their preparedness for MCQ exams. Results of mid term tests are provided within two weeks as far as possible.

Name Role
Sahar Amirnezhad Mozhdehi Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Miss Aileen Doran Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Patrick Orr Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Fani Papageorgiou Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Deirdre Ann Walsh Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Jennifer Dian Craig Tutor
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
 
Autumn
     
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 09:00 - 09:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 Wed 09:00 - 09:50
External & School Exams Offering 1 Week(s) - 6, 9 Wed 09:00 - 09:50
Practical Offering 1 Week(s) - 5, 7, 8, 11 Wed 15:00 - 16:50
Practical Offering 2 Week(s) - 5, 7, 8, 11 Thurs 15:00 - 16:50
Practical Offering 3 Week(s) - 5, 7, 8, 11 Fri 11:00 - 12:50
Autumn
     
Spring
     
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31 Mon 13:00 - 13:50
External & School Exams Offering 1 Week(s) - 23, 25 Mon 13:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 29, 30, 31, 32 Wed 13:00 - 13:50
External & School Exams Offering 1 Week(s) - 23, 28 Wed 13:00 - 13:50
Practical Offering 1 Week(s) - 21, 24, 25, 31 Wed 15:00 - 16:50
Practical Offering 2 Week(s) - 21, 24, 25 Thurs 10:00 - 11:50
Practical Offering 2 Week(s) - 31 Thurs 10:00 - 11:50
Practical Offering 3 Week(s) - 21, 24, 25, 31 Thurs 15:00 - 16:50
Spring