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GEOS126 – Marine Geoscience

2017 – S2 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor
Stefan Löhr
Contact via Email
Office 334, 12 Wally's Walk
By Appointment
Lecturer
Christopher Firth
Contact via Email
By Appointment
Lecturer
Lucy McGee
Contact via Email
By Appointment
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit introduces students to the marine environment through study of the oceans, past and present. From the perspective of a marine scientist this unit considers: aspects of the geological history and dynamics of the oceans; recent techniques for probing the ocean's depths; physical oceanographic processes; ocean circulation patterns; depositional environments; marine environments supporting life; long term global climate change; and human interactions with the marine environment. The unit includes practical exercises including a boat trip to investigate sediment in a local estuary.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  2. Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  3. Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  4. Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  5. Comprehend that ocean waters have not always had exactly the same composition as at present and understand some of the processes that change this composition.
  6. Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.
  7. Understand scientific methodology.
  8. Be competent in accessing, evaluating and synthesising appropriate information, using this to solve geoscience problems, and present ideas in a clear, concise report with supporting evidence.

General Assessment Information

General Assessment Information

All assessment tasks must be submitted electronically via the unit iLearn site. Students must keep a copy of their reports. The submission deadlines are as follows:

Report 1: 9.00 AM, 18th Sept 2017

Report 2: 9.00 AM, 13th Nov 2017

Late penalties: 10 % of your mark will be deducted for the first day that the assignment is received after the deadline, and 5% for each further day. Extensions for late assignments will be granted only if misadventure (including incapacitating sickness) can be demonstrated. If you need to apply for an extension, you must EMAIL THE UNIT CONVENOR BEFORE THE DUE DATE of the assignment and state the reason you are seeking an extension. This will not be granted automatically, but will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Reports: You will be given specific details of what is expected closer to the date.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Report 1 17% Week 7
Report 2 17% Week 13
Quizzes 16% Weekly
Final Exam 50% Final exam period

Report 1

Due: Week 7
Weighting: 17%

You will be investigating data collected from the Port Hacking field trip (Saturday 26th August). You will analyse the collected sediments to identify the sediment source and transport processes. This report has a group (30%) and an individual component (70%).


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  • Understand scientific methodology.
  • Be competent in accessing, evaluating and synthesising appropriate information, using this to solve geoscience problems, and present ideas in a clear, concise report with supporting evidence.

Report 2

Due: Week 13
Weighting: 17%

The North and South American continents have not always been joined as they are today. The Central American ‘land-bridge’, known as the Isthmus of Panama, gradually formed between 13 and 1.9 Ma. Your task will be to investigate the implications of the closing of the Straits of Panama on ocean circulation, climate and marine biogeography.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Comprehend that ocean waters have not always had exactly the same composition as at present and understand some of the processes that change this composition.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.
  • Understand scientific methodology.
  • Be competent in accessing, evaluating and synthesising appropriate information, using this to solve geoscience problems, and present ideas in a clear, concise report with supporting evidence.

Quizzes

Due: Weekly
Weighting: 16%

Quizzes will be given weekly, starting Week 2 and will cover material from the lectures, practicals and the weekly reading topics.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Comprehend that ocean waters have not always had exactly the same composition as at present and understand some of the processes that change this composition.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.

Final Exam

Due: Final exam period
Weighting: 50%

The Final Exam will cover material from the lectures, practicals, weekly readings and assignments.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Comprehend that ocean waters have not always had exactly the same composition as at present and understand some of the processes that change this composition.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.

Delivery and Resources

The class will be delivered through iLearn, lectures, practicals as well as set weekly reading. In addition, you are encourage to do your own research.

You are required to attend 1 lecture session and 1 two-hour practical session each week. Note that there is no practical in week 1:

Lecture:         Thursdays 1 PM - 2 PM, Y3A T1

Practical:        Multiple slots offered, all in E5A 250

Lecture slides and related material are provided on the iLearn unit website.

Textbook

There is no prescribed text for this unit because there are no recent, comprehensive marine geology textbooks. Most readings you will be assigned are from Douglas Segar's "Introduction to Ocean Sciences". The third edition of this excellent book is available free of charge as an ebook from the author's website (http://www.reefimages.com/oceansci.php). This book has an oceanographic focus so that additional readings will be made available via iLearn to cover the palaeoceanographic and marine geology elements that are part of GEOS126.

Make sure you have a look at the Encyclopedia of Marine Geosciences (Springer, available as ebook through the library), this features brief articles covering all aspects of marine geology and is very helpful if you have trouble understanding any of the concepts. Finally, if you can find a second-hand copy, James Kennett's "Marine Geology" (1982) and Seibold & Berger's "The Sea Floor" (1996) are both well worth looking at.

Fieldtrip

A half-day fieldtrip to Port Hacking will also give you some hands-on marine science experience. Participation in the fieldtrip is not compulsory, but you are strongly encouraged to attend. The trip is scheduled for Saturday 26th August. More details will be announced at the start of semester.

Unit Schedule

2017 Dates Lecture Topic Lecturer Practical Due Dates
Week 1 (31/7) The Ocean Planet - Why study marine geoscience? Stefan Löhr NO PRAC IN WEEK 1  
Week 2 (7/8) Plate Tectonics – Birth & death of ocean basins Lucy McGee TBD  
Week 3 (14/8) Origin & morphology of ocean margins Chris Firth Plate tectonics  
Week 4 (21/8) Mountains to the sea - erosion, transport & deposition of sediments Stefan Löhr Implications of basin size & shape  
Fieldtrip (26/8)  
Week 5 (28/8) Sediment transport: the role of waves & currents Stefan Löhr Particle size, deposition and accumulation rates  
Week 6 (4/9) Sedimentation on the continental shelf, slope and rise Stefan Löhr Classification of sediments 1: lithogenic sediments  
Week 7 (11/9) Biogenic sediments & sedimentation in the deep sea Stefan Löhr Classification of sediments 2: biogenic  & authigenic sediments Assignment 1 Due
Mid-Semester Break (18/9-1/10)  
Week 8 (2/10) Atmospheric circulation Stefan Löhr Primary production, export production & the carbon pump  
Week 9 (9/10) Ocean circulation Stefan Löhr Atmospheric circulation & coriolis  
Week 10 (16/10) Ocean chemistry Stefan Löhr Causes of ocean circulation  
Week 11 (23/10) Drivers and impact of sea level change Stefan Löhr Why is the ocean salty?  
Week 12 (30/10) Palaeoceanography - the deep sea record Stefan Löhr The sedimentary record of glacial-interglacial cycles  
Week 13 (6/11) Critical events in ocean history Stefan Löhr Causes and impact of ocean oxygen depletion Assignment 2 Due

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.
  • Understand scientific methodology.
  • Be competent in accessing, evaluating and synthesising appropriate information, using this to solve geoscience problems, and present ideas in a clear, concise report with supporting evidence.

Assessment tasks

  • Report 1
  • Report 2
  • Final Exam

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Comprehend that ocean waters have not always had exactly the same composition as at present and understand some of the processes that change this composition.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.

Assessment tasks

  • Report 1
  • Report 2

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Be competent in accessing, evaluating and synthesising appropriate information, using this to solve geoscience problems, and present ideas in a clear, concise report with supporting evidence.

Assessment tasks

  • Report 1
  • Report 2
  • Quizzes
  • Final Exam

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Comprehend that ocean waters have not always had exactly the same composition as at present and understand some of the processes that change this composition.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.

Assessment tasks

  • Report 1
  • Report 2
  • Quizzes
  • Final Exam

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Comprehend that ocean waters have not always had exactly the same composition as at present and understand some of the processes that change this composition.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.
  • Understand scientific methodology.
  • Be competent in accessing, evaluating and synthesising appropriate information, using this to solve geoscience problems, and present ideas in a clear, concise report with supporting evidence.

Assessment tasks

  • Report 1
  • Report 2
  • Final Exam

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.
  • Understand scientific methodology.
  • Be competent in accessing, evaluating and synthesising appropriate information, using this to solve geoscience problems, and present ideas in a clear, concise report with supporting evidence.

Assessment tasks

  • Report 1
  • Report 2

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.
  • Be competent in accessing, evaluating and synthesising appropriate information, using this to solve geoscience problems, and present ideas in a clear, concise report with supporting evidence.

Assessment tasks

  • Report 1
  • Report 2
  • Final Exam

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Comprehend that ocean waters have not always had exactly the same composition as at present and understand some of the processes that change this composition.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the science behind a number of marine geoscience issues including those related to shallow water sedimentation, plate tectonics in ocean basins, and climate change over geological timescales.
  • Understand how ocean basins have changed their configuration through time due to the operation of plate tectonics.
  • Describe the source of ocean sediment, both organic and inorganic, and the processes that control where this sediment is deposited over time.
  • Describe the deep and shallow circulation patterns of the ocean and what influences their configuration now and in the past.
  • Describe the causes of long-term sea level change and evaluate the major factors that may have induced “ice ages” or major glaciation events throughout Earth’s history.
  • Understand scientific methodology.
  • Be competent in accessing, evaluating and synthesising appropriate information, using this to solve geoscience problems, and present ideas in a clear, concise report with supporting evidence.

Assessment task

  • Quizzes