GEOL246-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019

Special Topic: Earth Surface Dynamics

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2019
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2019
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 26 July 2019
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 27 September 2019


Earth surface behaviour is a primary interface between geology and society. Knowledge of that behaviour therefore informs societal behaviour and development. This course will provide students with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to be able to investigate and report on the sustainability of proposed site-specific land-uses in the context of future dynamic Earth surface system behaviours.

Changes to the surface of the Earth impact society’s existence on that surface. Thus, Earth surface behaviour is a primary interface between geology and society, and knowledge of that behaviour informs societal behaviour and development. This course will provide students with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to be able to investigate and report on the sustainability of proposed site-specific land-uses in the context of dynamic Earth surface system behaviours. Specific topics studied will include landscape evolution and Mātauranga Māori; the use of remote sensing data and simulation models to analyse and understand surface topography and changes; how dynamic equilibrium manifests in landscapes; field and laboratory experiences; Earth surface processes; response of rivers to changing environmental conditions; and synthesis of knowledge and skills in technical report production. Student learning will be largely self-motivated and experiential, with extensive use of exercises, case and field studies, and technical, oral and written reporting.

Learning Outcomes

Students who have completed this course satisfactorily will be able to:
1. Use a range of modern technologies to identify, describe, and quantify the properties and behaviours of Earth surface systems and subsystems. (NZQF level 6; “demonstrate knowledge and skills related to the ideas, principles, concepts, chief research methods and problem-solving techniques of a recognised major subject”)
2. Infer future properties and behaviours of earth surface systems. (NZQF level 6; “demonstrate intellectual independence, critical thinking and analytic rigour”)
3.  Evaluate proposed uses of field sites in the context of Earth surface system processes and behaviour. (NZQF level 6; “demonstrate the skills needed to acquire, understand and assess information from a range of sources”)
4.   Communicate the results of evaluations and analyses through written reports to a scientific audience. (NZQF level 6; “demonstrate communication and collaborative skills”)

Goal of the Course

Successful students in this course will acquire the ability to investigate and understand the ways in which a range of Earth surface systems, materials and processes interact to alter the land surface, and the consequences of such alterations for societal assets.

Summary of the Course Content

GEOL246 will provide a range of opportunities for students to develop specific attitudes, skills and knowledge through a variety of learning and educational experiences, including:
1. Hands-on learning in understanding how land surface processes work; e.g. mechanics of landslides, soil erosion, river erosion and deposition ,
2. Learning to understand how land surface features have developed, e.g. river terraces, hillslopes, alluvial fans
3. Analysing, interpreting and mapping landforms both in the field and from remote sensing as the basis for land-use planning (e.g. for sustainable development and disaster risk reduction)
4. Project work and presentations, both individually and in groups, involving information acquisition, analysis, synthesis and reporting.

University Graduate Attributes

This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

Employable, innovative and enterprising

Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

Biculturally competent and confident

Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

Globally aware

Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


GEOL111 and either GEOL113 or GEOL115. RP: GEOG109; 100-level statistics or maths

Recommended Preparation

GEOG109; 100-level statistics or maths

Timetable Note

One 1-hour lecture every week

One 3-hour lab per week

One 1-hour tutorial per week

Field trip
One 1-day field trip

Course Coordinator

For further information see School of Earth and Environment on the departments and faculties page


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Mastery Exercises 30% Mastery Exercises
Tutorial Attendance 10% Tutorial Attendance
Assignment 20% Geomorphology Map
Presentation 40% Final Report and Presentation

Mastery Exercises 30%
Tutorial Attendance 10%
Geomorphology Map 20% 23 August
Final Report and Presentation 40% 18 October

Textbooks / Resources

There are no required textbooks for this course.  However, you will be required to read assigned material posted on-line and/or placed on-reserve in the central library as indicated by your course instructors.


Prerequisites: 30 points of any 100-level physical science;  or 15 points of a 100-level physical science and one of the following: 15 points of 100-level engineering mathematics or mathematics

Pre Req. Options Course Codes
111, 113, 115
111, 112, 113, 116
111, 112, 114
101, 102, 111
110, 118, 119, 171
101, 102, 103, 120

Additional Course Outline Information

Academic integrity


Marks and Grades
The Department of Geological Sciences uses the following scale to convert marks into grades:
100 – 90 A+ 75 – 79 B+ 60 – 64 C+
89 – 85 A 70 – 74 B 55 – 59 C
84 – 80 A- 65 – 69 B- 50 – 54 C-
Below 50 D/E

The Department of Geological Sciences reserves the right to adjust this mark/grade conversion, when deemed necessary.

Late Work
It is the policy for this course that late work is not accepted. Or, late work should be accompanied with a detailed explanation of why the work is late.  The work will be marked and marks will be subtracted for each day the work is late.  Days late include week-end and holidays.  

Academic Liaison
Alex Nichols (room 321,, phone (03) 364 2987 ext 94410) is in charge of liaison with students in geology courses.  Each year level will appoint a student representative(s) to the liaison committee at the start of the semester.  Please feel free to talk to the Academic Liaison or the student rep about any problems or concerns that you might have.

Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities should speak with someone at Disability Resource Service. Their office is on Level 2 of the Puaka-James Hight Building (Central Library). Phone: +64 3 369 3334 or ext 93334, email:

Policy on Dishonest Practice
Plagiarism, collusion, copying and ghost writing are unacceptable and dishonest practices.
• Plagiarism is the presentation of any material (text, data, figures or drawings, on any medium including computer files) from any other source without clear and adequate acknowledgement of the source.
• Collusion is the presentation of work performed in conjunction with another person or persons, but submitted as if it has been completed only by the names author(s).  
• Copying is the use of material (in any medium, including computer files) produced by another person(s) with or without their knowledge and approval.
• Ghost writing is the use of another person(s) (with or without payment) to prepare all or part of an item submitted for assessment.  

In cases where dishonest practice is involved in tests or other work submitted for credit, the student will be referred to the University Proctor.  The instructor may choose to not mark the work.  

Reconsideration of Grades
Students should, in the first instance, speak to the course co-ordinator about their marks.  If they cannot reach an agreeable solution, students should then speak to the Head of the Geological Sciences Department. Students can appeal any decision made on their final grade.  You can apply at the Registry to appeal the final grade within 4 weeks of the end of the semester.  Be aware that there are time limits for each step of the appeals process.  

Special Considerations Applications
If you feel that illness, injury, bereavement or other critical circumstances has prevented you from completing an item of assessment or affected your performance, you should complete a Special Considerations application form, available from the Registry or the Student Health and Counselling Service.  This should be within five days of the due date for the required work or the date of the examination.  In the case of illness or injury, medical consultation should normally have taken place shortly before or within 24 hours after the due date for the required work, or the date of the test or examination.  For further details on Special Consideration applications, please refer to the Enrolment Handbook or visit  You have the right to appeal any decision made, including Special Considerations decisions.  

Missing of Tests
In rare cases a student will not be able to sit a test.  In such cases, the student should consult with the course co-ordinator to the Head of the Department of Geological Sciences to arrange alternative procedures.   This must be done well in advance of the set date for the test.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $883.00

International fee $4,000.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment on the departments and faculties page .

All GEOL246 Occurrences

  • GEOL246-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019