Skip to main content

Unit information: Environmental Geoscience Field Skills in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Environmental Geoscience Field Skills
Unit code EASC20018
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Buss
Open unit status Not open

Successful completion of the first year of an Earth Sciences programme; EASC20032 Soils and Environmental Analysis



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

A one-week residential field class to the Island of Tenerife, Spain. Tenerife provides an ideal environment for the field study of soil development and plant ecology in the context of geology, topography, and climate. This unit is available only to Honours Environmental Geoscientists.

The primary aims of this field class are to:

  • develop student's skills in the description and mapping of soils.
  • study soil formation in the context of local geology (parent material), climate, topography and vegetation.
  • investigate relationships between soils, climate and plant diversity.
  • learn to collect and record detailed and useful field notes.
  • produce a webpage as a part of a group effort that records observations and experiences during the field class.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the field class you will be able to:

  • Record legible and useful field notes.
  • Describe the physical geography of a site.
  • Observe and describe physical properties of soils in profile.
  • Identify soil horizons and their boundaries.
  • Identify diagnostic subsurface horizons.
  • Perform field measurement of soil pH and texture.
  • Use a Munsell soil colour chart.
  • Name soil orders based upon field observations.
  • Produce a webpage.
  • Work effectively in a team to meet a strict deadline.

Teaching Information


Assessment Information

Field notebooks and completed webpages must be submitted by 9 pm the final day of the field class. Coursework assesssment ratios are:

  • independent notebooks (50%),
  • group webpages (30%),
  • individual participation (20%).
  • Assessment will be based on faculty criteria and dept guidelines on field notebooks.

The participation mark is based upon individual student effort during the field class. This includes involvement in group activities and general willingness to follow field class guidelines that are described in detail in the course handout. A single participation mark is recorded at the end of each day by staff for each student based upon observations of their field work activities that day. General feedback about level of participation during the field class is given, in particular if the degree of effort is not considered satisfactory.

Reading and References

There is no formal recommend reading list for this field class, but students are encouraged to read widely on the topic of soil formation and more specially the subjects of soil, climate, vegetation, geology and physical geography of Tenerife. Students will be provided with a field guide in the autumn term which they are expected to read before arriving in Tenerife, in addition to reviewing their Year 2 Soil Geoscience course notes.