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Unit of study_

GEOS2124: Earth's History and the Biosphere

The Earth's environments are continuously disrupted by astronomical, geological, and anthropogenic processes acting at various temporal and spatial scales. Understanding the rise, decline and resilience of past life-forms and environments is key to assessing the future sustainability of our environment and the ecosystems it supports (cf. UN Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15). In this unit of study, you will develop a deeper understanding of Earth as a life-support system and will learn how the Earth's rich and changing biodiversity through time is used, in conjunction with other methods, to timestamp the 4.5-billion-year history of our planet. You will discover how the Earth's sediments are record-keepers of environmental and biological change and how tectonic processes and the landscapes they create can shape Earth's climate, and enhance the resilience of species to climate change. You will learn the techniques to document and interpret past environments and past geological settings by integrating and interpreting multi-dimensional datasets including fossils, stratigraphy, and structural data. During a week-long field geological excursion (near Yass), you will be exposed to an ancient reef system disrupted by geological processes associated with a long-lived subduction zone, which will sharpen your observation skills and 3D geological thinking.

Code GEOS2124
Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
24cp of 1000-level units of study, including (GEOS1003 or GEOS1903) and (GEOS2114 or GEOS2914)
GEOL2123 or GEOL2124 or GEOS2924

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand and apply concepts of stratigraphy to geological time
  • LO2. Recognise major fossil groups, their evolution and significance for understanding the rise and decline of past life-forms, ecosystems and environments.
  • LO3. Understand mountain building processes and document geological environments through 3D mapping techniques integrating paleontological, stratigraphy and structural data, to understand past geological events and their environmental consequences.
  • LO4. Recognize and explain how the Earth is in a constant state of change through the action of coupled environmental, biological and geological processes.
  • LO5. In the field or in the lab, source and analyse information, assess its reliability and significance, become adept at extracting patterns from noisy datasets.
  • LO6. Communicate (oral and written) scientific information to various audiences.
  • LO7. Engage in teamwork for scientific investigations and for the process of learning.
  • LO8. Develop a sense of responsibility, ethical behaviour and independence as a learner and as a scientist.