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Unit of study_

GEOS3103: Environment, Sediment and Climate Change

Sediments and sedimentary rocks cover most of the Earth's surface, record much of the Earth's geological and climatic history and host important resources such as petroleum, coal, water and mineral ores. The aim of this unit is to provide students with the skills required to examine, describe and interpret sediments and sedimentary rocks for a variety of different purposes. Specific foci of the unit will be the identification of the recent or ancient environment in which sedimentary materials were deposited, the environmental controls which produce sedimentary structures, and the processes that control the production, movement and storage of sediment bodies. On completion of this unit students will be familiar with the natural processes that produce and modify sediments across a range of environments at the Earth's surface, including fluvial, aeolian, lacustrine, marginal marine and deep marine environments. The various controls on the sedimentary record such as climate and sea-level change, as well as diagenesis and geochemical cycles will also be discussed. Practical exercises will require students to examine global datasets, and determine the properties and significance of sediments and sedimentary rocks. The course is relevant to students interested in petroleum or mineral exploration, environmental and engineering geology as well as marine geoscience.

Code GEOS3103
Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
(GEOS2114 or GEOS2914) or (GEOS2116 or GEOS2916) or (GEOS2124 or GEOS2924)
Assumed knowledge:
(GEOS1003 or GEOS1903)

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

  • LO1. Comprehend how the cycling of matter, elements and energy at the Earth’s surface influences coastal systems and the composition of sediments.
  • LO2. Explain the role of life in early diagenesis and sediment formation.
  • LO3. Describe how major biogeochemical cycles can be altered by human activity and how this is recorded in sediments.
  • LO4. Recognise the impact of the Anthropocene on sediments and their associated ecosystems.
  • LO5. Understand the processes responsible for transporting sediments into and within oceanic basins.
  • LO6. Recognise different types of lithogenous, biogenic and hydrogenous marine sediments, where they form and the physical and biochemical conditions under which they form and are preserved.
  • LO7. Understand the controls on carbonate and silica production and deposition and their relationship to global carbonate and silica cycles.
  • LO8. Appreciate the climatic/tectonic significance of evaporates.
  • LO9. Identify different types of terrestrial sediment facies.
  • LO10. Describe the processes responsible for the production and preservation of lithified and unlithified sediment in terrestrial and marine environments.
  • LO11. Design and execute laboratory-based research in environmental sedimentology.
  • LO12. Be able to constrain both accuracy and precision in laboratory-based analyses.
  • LO13. Demonstrate a sense of responsibility, ethical behaviour and independence as a learner and as a scientist.
  • LO14. Operate safely in research laboratories.
  • LO15. Identify and utilise common techniques for describing and analysing sediment and sedimentary rocks.
  • LO16. Communicate scientific information appropriately, both orally and through written work.