KE4006 - Dynamic Earth

What will I learn on this module?

In this module you will learn about the application of Earth Sciences and research techniques to understanding our Dynamic Earth. This will provide you with the necessary understanding to a variety of issues and debates that have shaped current thinking and research in the Earth Sciences. Through lectures, lab classesEarth Sciences and fieldwork you will learn about the Earth Sciences, including topics such as:
• Earth structure, plate tectonics and origin.
• Igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks – how they form, how to identify them and their associated resources.
• Seismics and radar.
• Structural Earth Sciences, types of faults and folds, and what do they show?
• How rocks become soils, basic soil characteristics and resources of soils
• Earth history and a deep time perspective.
• Origins of life on Earth and uses of fossils.• Sediments and soils.
• Building stones and resources.
• Geo-hazards: causes, impacts, underlying processes and approaches to mitigation.
• Geochemistry.

A key component of the module will be the laboratory practicals that will introduce you to working in labs, using laboratory equipment and using the knowledge gained in lectures to solve problems. You will also develop a deeper appreciation of the interaction between physical and human aspects of the environment, thereby demonstrating informed concern about the Earth and its people.

On completion of the module, you will have the Earth Science knowledge and laboratory experience to give you confidence for future study and an improved ability to link theory, practice and application will serve to enhance your future employment prospects.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, lab practicals and fieldwork. Beyond timetabled sessions, your independent study will be guided and supported through your engagement with a range of interactive learning resources accessible on-line via the module eLP site.

The lectures will give you the background knowledge on a range of topics to facilitate your further study in laboratory practicals and engagement with the interactive reading list. The lab practicals will give you experience and confidence in using a variety of laboratory and Earth Science skills to understand and solve problems. You will also develop key employability skills (such as group working, time management, outdoor working, communication and concise writing) throughout this module.

In the laboratory practical sessions and on fieldwork you will develop crucial practical and observational skills that will set you up for fieldwork and lab work in Levels 5 and 6. This will include teaching you how to identify rocks and fossils, what these tell you about past environments/conditions and how these relate to key resources. You will also learn to use a range of equipment such as: binocular microscopes, grain size analysers, x-ray fluorescence analysers, nutrient tests, infiltration tests and soil-strength tests.

Formative feedback throughout the module and from on-line resources, will consolidate your learning as well as helping to improve your skills.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

In this module, you will gain practical laboratory experience with staff providing direct formative feedback in support of your learning and skills development.

Your class materials will be further supported by on-line resources available via the module eLP site. These resources include an interactive reading list with on-line access to a number of key articles and aligned with your weekly lecture programme. In a similar manner, your practical classes are supported by a ‘virtual learning’ resource to enhance your skills in mineral and rock identification. Formative on-line, multiple choice question (MCQ) tests, delivered via the module eLP site will help you self-evaluate your understanding of core information from each topic taught. You will be able to access your feedback and marks immediately on completion of each test. Such timely feedback will serve to reinforce your learning and improve your confidence during this relatively early part of your academic career.

Teaching staff operate an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:

An interactive e-reading list is available for Dynamic Earth, which can be added to and updated to support student’s topic areas of interest.

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• MLO 1: Discuss how evidence is used in the Earth sciences to test hypotheses, explore key issues and inform debates.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• MLO 2: Demonstrate an ability to conduct basic laboratory experiments and interpret data for the purposes of investigating natural processes.
• MLO 3: Show the necessary observational skills to describe and identify common minerals and rock types.
• MLO 4: Present data in an effective way to communicate results and enable interpretation.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 5: Work effectively as part of a group during laboratory practicals to efficiently complete tasks.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a five-slide (+1 title slide) powerpoint recorded presentation that presents how you have achieved each of the Module Learning Outcomes (MLOs). A template will be provided on the elp with additional instructions (minimum font size, number of images, maximum recorded time). The template will contain powerpoint slides titled by each learning outcome. You will need to use data, results, evidence and reflection from the laboratory practicals. To document how you have achieved each MLO. You will then record this presentation, using either the Powerpoint record function or Panopto, and submit your recording for assessment. Throughout the module you will be supported during the laboratory practicals to help you identify how you are achieving each MLO. Guides will be made available on the elp and a session will instruct you on effective presentation and the technicalities of making one. This will encourage you to reflect on what you have achieved throughout the module and give you practice at presenting information verbally – a key employability skill. (MLO1-5).





Module abstract

On this module you will learn about the application of Earth Sciences and research techniques to understanding our Dynamic Earth. Through lectures, lab classes and fieldwork you will learn all about Earth Sciences. You will also gain practical laboratory skills in using equipment and problem solving with geological data. Your learning will be further supported and enhanced through engagement with a range of interactive online resources available via the module eLP site such as formative MCQ tests. You will be assessed on what you consider to be your best lab report from a choice of three. You will receive formative support and guidance throughout the assessment process enabling you to achieve your full potential.

Course info

UCAS Code F840

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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