Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Landscapes, Natural Hazards and Human Opportunities

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This unit is available for students who have followed the unit GEO2008 (Geomorphology: Basic Principles. Methods and Applications). It offers a series of lectures, presentations and practical sessions (field and/or laboratory sessions) that build on the themes covered in the GEO2008 but also expanding on the key concepts to link them to landscape literacy, assessment of its synergies between the human and physical systems, hazards and opportunities.

This unit offers students the opportunity to cover more intensively recent scientific literature related to hazard issues and management, and explore the opportunities of how applied geomorphology can feed into the field of environmental management. It integrates key methods of analysing the earth's surface with the increasingly important issue of responsibly managing this environment. This module will also review typical approaches to geohazard risk management including planning and development controls, monitoring and dissemination, and engineering mitigation.

Many applied geomorphology projects lead to recommendations for management and engineering mitigation of natural processes, hazards and risk to protect communities and infrastructure. To this end, practical sessions comprise:
1. a processes study of choice, demonstrating an ability to collate, describe and analyse processes data on a spatial and/or temporal basis;
2. review and development of risk management plans and development control, and risk/hazard mitigation for a site of choice.

The application of geomorphological mapping in landscape interpretation forms part of the fieldwork component. In this session, students are involved in an assessment of field observation and mapping skills and supported by background research of specific sites of interest. The spatial approach is emphasized by using also maps, Google Earth images and topographic maps.

Study-unit Aims:

1. Build on the themes covered in GEO 2008 through a series of lectures, presentations and practical sessions;
2. Integrate key methods of analysing the earth's surface with the support of models and research offered by the international scientific community;
3. Review typical approaches to geohazard risk management;
4. Involve students in practical sessions that lead to recommendations for management and engineering mitigation of natural processes, hazards and risk of selected fieldwork sites;
5. Assesses the ability of students to present their understanding of a specific applied geomorphological and natural hazard, and their ability to critically evaluate complex arguments in presentations and report writing.

Learning Outcomes:

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

1. report on key methods used to investigate specific geomorphological processes through a review of key scientific literature and contemporary research models;
2. describe approaches to hazard management and prepare management plans of selected case-studies from presentation work and/or fieldwork trips;
3. demonstrate the relevance of applied geomorphological skills in the field of environmental management literature, with a focus on specific case-studies.

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

1. explain and evaluate the methodologies, problems and applicability of geomorphological techniques;
2. identify processes and/or landforms in visual images of the landscape or in the field; and to link these with key concepts covered in the study-unit;
3. practice techniques for recognition and analysis of landforms and processes, especially in the context of coastal landform morphology and the processes of landform development;
4. strengthen their competence in presentation and delivery skills through the presentation seminar; and
5. assimilate information and data from a range of sources and provide a clear synthesis of defined topics in the form of field report writing.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main texts:

- McGuire B., Mason I., Killburn C., 2002. Natural Hazards and Environmental Change. Series: Key issues in environmental change, Oxford University Press,Year: 2002.
- Otto, J.C. and Smith, M.J., 2013. Geomorphological mapping. Geomorphological techniques.
- Bryant E. 2005. Natural Hazards, Cambridge University Press.

Supplementary Texts:

- Griffiths, J.S. 2003. Mapping in Engineering Geology, Geological Society of London, London.
- Tucker, M.E. 2003. Sedimentary Rocks in the Field, 3rd edition, Wiley, Chichester.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Fieldwork and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM1 No 30%
Fieldwork SEM1 No 70%

LECTURER/S Ivan Calleja
Ritienne Gauci

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.