Year
2021
Units
4.5
Contact
2 x 1-hour lectures weekly
1 x 3-hour practical fortnightly
1 x 2-hour computer lab per semester
7 x 1.5-hour on-line exercises per semester
1 x 2-hour on-line tutorial fortnightly
Enrolment not permitted
EASC1201 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
SACE Stage 2 (Year 12) Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry or equivalent is desirable.
Assessment
Computer Laboratory, Physical Laboratories, Online Tutorials, Fortnightly Quizzes, Maths Competency Quiz and Final Examination
Topic description

There is an ever growing awareness that understanding our Earth and its environments holds the key to sustaining life, as we know it, on planet Earth. Our environment consists of a complex web of interacting cycles, processes, and systems. This topic discusses these by way of introduction to the Earth and Environmental Sciences. It begins with the origins of the Universe, Big Bang Theory, formation of the solar system and the planets within it and discusses the ways in which planet Earth is unique in comparison. The timeline of life on Earth is examined and includes discussion on the dinosaurs and their extinction as well as other fossil evidence found in geologic records. The topic discusses the basic geology that underpins the Earth's make up (rocks, minerals, plate tectonics) and the concept of a 'restless' earth by way of examples including earthquakes, volcanoes, avalanches, landslides, floods and storm surges as well as other natural disasters. The movement of water on Earth between the land, ocean and atmosphere is discussed, and its importance to the environment is detailed. Basic concepts in the study of natural hydrologic systems are introduced and include both surface water in rivers and lakes as well as groundwater.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Provide an overview of the processes which lead to the formation of the planet Earth and its evolution throughout time
  • Describe our planetary environment and the governing cycles and processes which control its behaviour
  • Describe the processes and phenomena which directly affect the nature and behaviour of the "solid" Earth, namely, rock and mineral formation, plate tectonics, earthquakes and volcanoes
  • Describe the natural hydrologic processes which control the occurrence, movement and distribution of water on the Earth in both groundwater and surface water environments
  • Provide students with an appreciation of the critical role water plays in shaping the land surface through discussions on river flows, floods and other natural disasters, and its critical role in present day environmental pollution and management problems
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the unifying principles and processes which are critical in understanding both the evolution and behaviour of the planet Earth with particular focus on aspects relating to geology, geophysics and hydrology
  2. Have a capacity for critical thinking
  3. Develop both quantitative and qualitative problem solving skills

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.

FULL

If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.