GEOS920 Palaeoenvironments and biogeochemistry (session 2, 2017)
This unit will provide masters students with the foundations of palaeoenvironmental analysis as applied to some key geoscience problems. The unit will have a problem-based approach and will focus on understanding important processes, especially with examples from the Neoproterozoic, Cretaceous and the modern day. Fundamentals of ocean circulation, nutrient supply and the carbon cycle will be introduced. The veracity of biogeochemical oceanographic signals will be assessed, especially with respect to diagenetic overprinting. Box models will be introduced as a means for understanding geochemical and isotopic signals. The unit will cover co-evolution of life and its environment, the effect of bioturbation on sediments, especially across the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, and the geochemical record of life as expressed through biomarkers. The pros and cons of various proxies used for the reconstruction of palaeotemperatures will be assessed. The unit will build knowledge about important techniques and methods such as stable and radiogenic isotopes, organic geochemistry and microscopic techniques for assessing sediments and sedimentary rocks. Assignments will be designed to build high level research skills in this area.
This unit is co-taught with GEOS710 Records of palaeoenvironments: life and geochemistry (Master of Research). The lectures are the same, but the assignments differ slightly due to different learning outcomes. There is only one iLearn site for both units.
Web pages and electronic resources
The main unit web page will be on iLearn: https://ilearn.mq.edu.au/login/MQ/
iLearn is Macquarie's learning management system. Assignments, hand-outs, and reading material will be available here.
Classes: There will be 13 compulsory lectures/tutorials to introduce the unit and give you a grounding in the theory behind some of the techniques. It is important that you attend these sessions every week, as they include discussion sections, and also problem solving on hard copy handouts. These sessions will not be audio recorded. and will be in 12 Wally's Walk (E7A) 324, Friday 14:00-16:00.