Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Introduction to Oceanographic and Geomorphic Processes

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This unit examines the fundamental processes which drive two domains of physical geography: oceanography and geomorphology. The study-unit adopts the concept of Dynamic Equilibrium where sets of driving forces act upon resistance frameworks. These driving forces include plate boundary dynamics and the resultant landforms both above as well as below the current sea-level. Minerals and rock typology are considered as part of the resistance framework and discussed within the context of the cycle of rock change.

Weathering, erosion, and sedimentation processes are also discussed and their role is demonstrated in analyses of geostratigraphy, sedimentary paleo-environments, and depositional landforms. The principles of marine ecology are addressed within oceanography and the role of human activity in the oceans is also discussed. The emphasis lies on the spatial distribution of the processes under investigation as well as the interaction between apparently discrete phenomena.

Study-unit Aims:

1. Introduce the science of physical geography to students;
2. Explore and expand the linkages that exist between the main branches of physical geography (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere);
3. Direct students to focus on the main driving forces that power geomorphic and oceanographic processes;
4. Introduce students to the concept of Plate Tectonics and its resultant landforms;
5. Introduce students to marine ecosystems and their distribution at a global scale.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. describe and associate particular terrestrial and marine landforms with different types of plate boundaries;
2. identify the main rock types and describe their characteristics and modes of origin;
3. describe the main agents of erosion and deposition and explain the processes through which they create particular landforms;
4. describe the spatial, environmental, and biotic characteristics of the main global marine habitats.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. read a given terrestrial landscape and identify the main processes of erosion and deposition which have shaped, and are currently shaping, such landscapes;
2. identify the main rock types in the field and describe their mode of origin.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- Pinet, P. (2014) Invitation to Oceanography (7th Ed.) Jones and Bartlett.
- Huggett, R. (2011) Fundamentals of Geomorphology (3rd ed.) Routledge, UK.

Supplementary readings:

- Anderson R. S. and Anderson S. P. (2010) Geomorphology - The mechanics and chemistry of landscapes, Cambridge University Press.
- Holden, J. (2012) An Introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment (3rd ed.) Pearson.
- Ritter, D. F., Kochel, R. C., and Miller, J. R. (2007) Process Geomorphology (4th ed.) W.C. Brown.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Deguara Joanna Causon
Sephora Sammut

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.