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Unit of study_

GEOS3009: Coastal Environments and Processes

The aim of this course is to introduce students to a variety of Coastal Environments and the major processes which control the morphodynamic evolution of these systems. The course offers a unique opportunity of learning the full spectrum of marine sedimentary environments from siliciclastic, temperate, highly urbanised and impacted estuarine ecosystems to carbonate, tropical, pristine and undeveloped/protected coastal and continental margin environments. The course is divided in three sections: Section A covers the basic morphodynamics and processes impacting carbonate-dominated coastal and continental margin environments. The focus is on carbonate reefal and margin systems and their geologic and biologic responses to past, present and future environmental changes; Section B covers the basic morphodynamics of temperate and tropical coasts, including beach morphodynamics and basic knowledge on waves and currents; Section C consolidates all concepts learnt in the previous sections by applying them to numerical modelling. There is a compulsory weekend fieldtrip to the NSW coast to study beach morphodynamics and fieldwork techniques. Depending on the year, there may be a voluntary fieldtrip to a coral reef environment, for example, The University of Sydney One Tree Island Research Station.

Code GEOS3009
Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
12 cp from (GEOS2X11 or GEOS2X15 or GEOS2X16 or GEOS2X21 or BIOL2022)
GEOS3909 or MARS3003 or MARS3105

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

  • LO1. understand the main carbonate-dominated coastal to continental margin environments (including reefs) and the major process influencing them
  • LO2. relate the different types of reef environments with different physical, chemical and biologic factors
  • LO3. demonstrate the long term (geologic) development and sedimentary architecture of reefal and deltaic systems in space and time to changes in past climate, sea level and tectonic regimes
  • LO4. establish the range of likely impacts of predicted future global climate changes on reef systems
  • LO5. demonstrate techniques in evaluating and interpreting remote sensing data used to characterise coastal and continental margin environments
  • LO6. demonstrate understanding of coastal processes and the morphodynamics of coastal systems
  • LO7. define a beach system by its morphodynamic state and associated basic processes
  • LO8. learn about the nature of wave breaking, transformation and impact on coastal environments
  • LO9. establish scientific data analysis and interpretation techniques, using PYTHON & MATLAB
  • LO10. setup, run and analyse data using a numerical model
  • LO11. develop the ability to identify and evaluate relevant environmental information from written and spoken scientific presentations
  • LO12. provide guidelines of how to address coastal studies in real-life situations.