Skip to main content

Unit information: Planet Earth in 2016/17

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 Planet Earth
Unit code EASC10003
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Parkinson
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This is a broad introduction to Geology and covers the following topics: the structure of the earth and global tectonics, mineralogy, igneous petrology, sedimentology, metamorphism, structural geology, palaeontology, earth history and geological maps.

The course presents an overview of our Planet, showing how processes of the surface and interior have shaped its evolution and given rise to the present Earth structure, materials, life forms and global tectonics. We emphasise the inter-disciplinary bio-, chemico- and physico-principles that underlie many of the Earth systems examined.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Describe the structure, composition and properties of the constituent parts of the solid Earth, and explain the physico-chemical controls on their genesis and their influence on the near-surface to surface environment;
  • Describe the evolution of the Earth in terms of its chemical variation, thermal development, chronological and stratigraphic history recording the major events in Earth history;
  • Describe the development of life and explain its role as an integrated part of Earth processes;
  • Explain the movement of materials and energy within the solid Earth as visualised in the plate tectonic paradigm, and describe the resultant petrological, geophysical and tectonic expressions of this movement;
  • Explain the interaction between physical, chemical, biological and dynamic earth processes on varying spatial and temporal scales.

Teaching Information

This Unit comprises the Planet Earth series of 72 lectures and associated tutorials.

Assessment Information

Planet Earth (EASC 10003, 20cp)

25% from a January progress exam (1 hour) 75% from the summer exam (2 hours)

Reading and References

  • Benton, M.J. & Harper, D.A.T. An Introduction to Palaeobiology and the Fossil Record. Wiley Blackwell, 2009;
  • Henderson, P. and Henderson, G.M. The Cambridge Handbook of Earth Science Data. Cambridge; University Press, 2009;
  • Nichols, G. Sedimentology and stratigraphy. (2nd ed.) Blackwell, 2009;
  • Press, F., Siever, R., Jordan, T & Grotzinger, J. Understanding Earth 5th ed.). Freeman, 2007;
  • Woodcock NH and Strachan RA. Geological History of Britain and Ireland. Wiley, 2000.