The University of Southampton
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GEOG3048 Desert Landscapes: Aeolian Processes and Change

Module Overview

The module will introduce students to the fundamental concepts underpinning our understanding of aeolian processes and forms, as well as to a range of measurement and geomorphic modelling methods, setting these within an environmental interpretation and management context.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To enhance enthusiasm for physical geography by exposing students to the Aeolian processes and change present in desert environments, and developing their interpretation and analytical skills through the use of a self-directed landscape study. Students will develop an appreciation of the temporal and spatial scales of desert landscape dynamics, as well as developing their generic quantitative and presentation skills

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify key processes and controls associated with aeolian landscape development (A1, GA7)
  • Work in an efficient and productive way in a small group environment (D4, GD7)
  • Analyse, calculate and solve aeolian process problems (C1, GC4)
  • Find and interpret scientific literature (D1, GD6
  • Deliver coherent oral presentations (D5, GD3)
  • Recognise and interpret the variation of temporal and spatial scales associated with aeolian bedforms, landforms and landscapes (A2, GA6)
  • Distinguish and compare similarities and differences in process and form under different environmental settings (B1, GB4)
  • Formulate and articulate relative merit and reasoning behind the use of geomorphic models (B2, GB2)
  • Manipulate aeolian data and apply it in problem solving (C2, GC5)
  • Operate a simple desert dune model using computer techniques (C3, GC1)
  • Appreciate and articulate underlying geomorphic principles in dryland settings (A3, GA10)
  • Use computational skills and apply them to computer modelling techniques (D2, GD4, GD5)
  • Articulate scientific knowledge to peers (D3, GD3)

Syllabus

This module is primarily designed for physical geographers, geologists, geophysicists, environmental scientists and oceanographers, but will appeal to anyone who is interested in understanding Aeolian process and change in desert landscapes. It will introduce students to the fundamental concepts underpinning our understanding of aeolian processes and forms, as well as to a range of measurement and dune modelling methods, setting these within an environmental interpretation and management context. More specifically the lecture series will be divided into three distinct sections. During the first weeks of the semester desert landscapes and the aeolian processes which shape and change landforms and landscapes will be covered in detail, including larger scale sand dunes, sand seas and yardangs, along with small scale sand and dust transport processes. During this section students will undertake a detailed literature-based study of a sand sea of their choice, which will form the basis of a selfdirected project. The second section of this course will make use of a user friendly dune modelling interface to explore research questions related to the sand sea project. The third component of the course explores landscape interpretation, including techniques to address management issues and examine how Aeolian landscapes change through time, their response to climate fluctuations, ways in which we can use ancient landscape records to further our understanding of modern processes, and how earth-based knowledge allows us to interpret aeolian landforms on other planetary bodies.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching methods employed will consist of a series of lectures, a number of help sessions for the individual project, workshops and an exam.

TypeHours
Independent Study112
Teaching38
Total study time150

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 60%
Exam  (2 hours) 40%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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