Students

GEOS7900 – Research Frontiers: Advances in Earth and Environmental Sciences

2021 – Session 1, Fully online/virtual

Notice

As part of Phase 3 of our return to campus plan, most units will now run tutorials, seminars and other small group activities on campus, and most will keep an online version available to those students unable to return or those who choose to continue their studies online.

To check the availability of face-to-face and online activities for your unit, please go to timetable viewer. To check detailed information on unit assessments visit your unit's iLearn space or consult your unit convenor.

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Simon Turner
Contact via 98508363
Room 215, Level 2, 10 Sir Christopher Ondaatje Avenue
Credit points Credit points
10
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This foundation unit deeply engages students with the broad topics, big questions, strategies, new directions of scientific thought and break-through methods currently dominating research in Earth and Environmental Sciences. Activities undertaken include tailored workshops and presentations by research groups and academics, seminar attendance, directed reading of research papers, and discussion and critiquing of wide-ranging research topics and trends. Students demonstrate their understanding of current research and develop their science communication skills through presentation of a seminar and written reports based on the research frontiers explored.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: demonstrate an understanding of current scientific issues in earth and environmental sciences
  • ULO2: critically evaluate current scientific methodologies and organizations in this research field
  • ULO3: competently access, use and synthesize relevant scientific information
  • ULO4: present ideas and concepts clearly with supporting evidence

General Assessment Information

ASSIGNMENTS/ RESEARCH PAPER

The assignments will consist of a paper, which results from your reading on individually selected topics, related to the weekly discussions. The first short assignment will consist solely of a synopsis of two presented research papers, presented in the form of a Nature News and Views article. The second, larger, paper is an in-depth analysis of one of the discussion topics. The paper you submit should be in the form of a paper for submission to the journal; Journal of Geophysical Research. It should be typed, double spaced, and about 3000 words in length and adequately illustrated with appropriate figures.

Two seminars will be given during the course of unit, each on one paper up for discussion in a given week. The format should be as per a conference presentation. The seminars will be assessed, as is student participation in the critical discussion of each paper.

The minimum requirements needed to obtain a pass grade for the unit are a passing grade in all of the assignments.

 

EXTENSIONS AND PENALTIES

Whenever possible requests for an extension should be submitted prior to an assignment’s due date. Late assignments will attract a penalty of 10% per day.

 

ACADEMIC HONESTY AND PLAGIARISM

Plagiarism involves using the work of another person and presenting it as one’s own. If you use the work of another person without clearly stating or acknowledging the source, you are falsely claiming that material as your own work and committing an act of PLAGIARISM. This is a very serious violation of good practice and an offence for which you will be penalised. You should read the University's policies and procedures on plagiarism. These can be found at: http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html  

The policies and procedures explain what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, the procedures taken in cases of suspected plagiarism, and the penalties if you are found guilty. Penalties may include a deduction of marks, failure in the unit, and/or referral to the University Discipline Committee.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
News and Views style article 20% No Week 7
unit participation 10% No N/A
paper discussion 30% No N/A
scientific letter 40% No Week 11

News and Views style article

Assessment Type 1: Essay
Indicative Time on Task 2: 10 hours
Due: Week 7
Weighting: 20%

a short synopsis of two presented research papers


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • demonstrate an understanding of current scientific issues in earth and environmental sciences
  • critically evaluate current scientific methodologies and organizations in this research field
  • competently access, use and synthesize relevant scientific information
  • present ideas and concepts clearly with supporting evidence

unit participation

Assessment Type 1: Participatory task
Indicative Time on Task 2: 30 hours
Due: N/A
Weighting: 10%

engagement with discussions, peer assessment and seminar attendance


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • competently access, use and synthesize relevant scientific information
  • present ideas and concepts clearly with supporting evidence

paper discussion

Assessment Type 1: Presentation
Indicative Time on Task 2: 20 hours
Due: N/A
Weighting: 30%

two seminars will be given during the course of unit in the format of a conference presentation


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • demonstrate an understanding of current scientific issues in earth and environmental sciences
  • critically evaluate current scientific methodologies and organizations in this research field
  • competently access, use and synthesize relevant scientific information
  • present ideas and concepts clearly with supporting evidence

scientific letter

Assessment Type 1: Report
Indicative Time on Task 2: 30 hours
Due: Week 11
Weighting: 40%

in-depth analysis of one of the discussion topics in the form of a paper for submission to a journal


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • demonstrate an understanding of current scientific issues in earth and environmental sciences
  • critically evaluate current scientific methodologies and organizations in this research field
  • competently access, use and synthesize relevant scientific information
  • present ideas and concepts clearly with supporting evidence

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Learning Skills Unit for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

INTRODUCTION

This unit is a seminar-style unit, where students will present on some of the seminal papers in Geodynamics, Earth Science and Environmental Science.  

The proposed schedule of topics covered are listed in the table below along with the staff member who will oversee the presentations and discussion. 

Students will be required to make one critical presentations on two of the seminal papers on these topics, and read all papers and contribute to a critical discussion.  Students will also write one short report, and one detailed report, on one topic of their choosing.  Students are also expected to attend all departmental seminars.

 

PROPOSED SCHEDULE OF SEMINAR TOPICS 2021

Week

Topic

Week 1

 

Introduction Crafting a seminar. Topic selection.(Simon Turner)

Week 2

The Plate tectonic revolution (Simon Turner)

Week 3

The forces behind plate tectonics (Juan-Carlos Afonso)

Week 4

Biodiversity monitoring with remote sensing and GIS (Andrew Skidmore)

Week 5

Nature of the planetary cores and D” (Tracy Rushmer)

Week 6

 

The origin of life (Simon George)

Week 7

Evolution of man (Kira Westaway)

Week 8

Sea level rise, coastal wetlands and blue carbon (Neil Saintilan)

Week 9

Climate change (Paul Hesse)

Week 10

Environmental impact (Mark Taylor)

Week 11

Setting boundaries for a habitable planet (Steve Foley)

Week 12

Geophysics of sub-volcanic plumbing systems (Steve Hansen)

Week 13

 

Free week

 

 

SCHEDULED CLASSES

The seminar classes are 2 hours per week, online. This year, classes have been scheduled for Mondays 3-5 pm. Please check the university timetable (https://timetables.mq.edu.au/2021/) and unit iLearn page in case of last minute changes.

 

GRADUATE CAPABILITIES

Students will enter a globalizing world of major environmental change and resource constraints, of scientific and technological advance and ethical challenge, of continuing political instability and possible international conflicts, of unlimited creativity and increasing social surveillance. To prepare students for life after university, various graduate capabilities are developed through the curriculum. These capabilities are described below.

No.

Capability

Brief Description

1

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

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. 

2

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

Graduates are to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments. 

3

Problem Solving and Research Capability

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.

4

Creative and Innovative

Graduates will be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. 

5

Effective Communication

Students develop the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. 

6

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

Graduates will 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. 

7

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

Graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others.

 

8

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

Graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. 

9

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake.  

 

TEXTBOOK AND TECHNOLOGY USED

There is no set textbook for this unit, but a number of reference texts worth considering are:

QE509.4.D38/1999        Davies G.F., Dynamic Earth, Plates, Plumes and Mantle Convection, 1999

QC806.F625                 Fowler C.M.R., The Solid Earth, 1990

QE501.T83                   Turcotte D.L. & Schubert G., Geodynamics, 1982

QE509.4 .S38               Schubert G., Turcotte D.L., Olson, P.,  Mantle Convection in the Earth and Planets,                               2001 

 

ILEARN

The unit has an iLearn site, which contains information such as the papers to be discussed in class.

Please note that some sections within the iLearn site require an internal username and password; the username is geos700 and please see, or call me to obtain the password. Information for students about access to online units is available at 

https://learn.mq.edu.au/webct/RelativeResourceManager/25994001/Public%20Files/uw/software.html

Below is a list of references that may be helpful in expanding certain aspects of the unit.

 

REFERENCES

QC806.A515                 Anderson D.L., Theory of the Earth, 1989

QE501.A7513/1984        Artyushkov E.V., Geodynamics

QB501.N47                  Beatty J.K. & Chaikin A. (Eds), The New Solar System (3rd ed.), 1990

QE509.B75                   Bott M.P., The interior of the Earth (2nd ed.), 1982

QE501.4.P35.B88                Butler R.F., Paleomagnetism, 1991

QE527.7 .C66/2001       Candie K.C., Mantle Plumes and their record in Earth History, 2001

QC806.C65                  Cook A.H., Physics of the Earth and Planets, 1973

QE511.4.C683/1986       Cox A. & Hart R.B., Plate tectonics: how it works, 1986

QC806.D39                  De Bremaecker J-C, Geophysics: The earth’s Interior, 1985

QB501.N18                  Dermott S.F. (Ed), The origin of the Solar System, 1977

QE501.E67/1990           Ernst W.G., The Dynamic Planet

QC827.I7                     Irving E., Paleomagnetism, 1964

QE509.E234/1998          Jackson I, The Earth's Mantle, 1998

QE509.J27/1992            Jacobs J.A. Deep Interior of the Earth, 1992

QE509.E232/2000          Karato S. et al, Earth's Deep Interior, 2000

QE511.4.K43/1996        Kearey P. & Vine F.J., Global Tectonics (2nd Ed), 1996

QE35.E18                     McElhinny M.W., The Earth, its Origin, Structure and Evolution, 1979

QE501.4.P35.M35/2000 McElhinny M.W. & McFadden, Paleomagnetism: continents and oceans, 2000

QC816.M4                   Merrill R.T. & McElhinny M.W., The Earth’s Magnetic Field, 1983

QC816.M47/1996                Merrill R.T., McElhinny M.W. & McFadden P.L. The magnetic field of the Earth: palaeomagnetism, the core, and the deep mantle, 1996

QE511.4.H57/2000        Richards et al, The History and Dynamics of Global Plate Motions, 2000

QE501.S3/1982             Scheidegger A.E., Principles of Geodynamics

QC806.S54/1997           Sleep N.H. & Fujita K., Principles of Geophysics, 1997

QE26.2.C35                  Smith D.G. (Ed), The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Earth Sciences

QC806.S65                   Stacey F.D., Physics of the Earth (2nd & 3rd eds.), 1977 & 1992

QE511.44.G46              Summerfield M.A., Geomorphology and Global Tectonics, 2000

QE340.B55                   Veevers J. J., Billion-year earth history of Australia and neighbours in Gondwanaland, 2000

QE340.B552                       Veevers J.J., ATLAS of Billion-year earth history of Australia and neighbours in Gondwanaland, 2001

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://policies.mq.edu.au). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit Student Policies (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/policies). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

To find other policies relating to Teaching and Learning, visit Policy Central (https://policies.mq.edu.au) and use the search tool.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/admin/other-resources/student-conduct

Results

Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) 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 or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@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 help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

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

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@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.