GEOL102-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Environmental Earth System Science

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


This course provides foundational knowledge, understanding and practical skills aligned to complex challenges of the modern era from an Earth Science perspective. We currently face a number of critical problems that result from the complex interaction of Earth Systems that have no simple solution. Such challenges are known as ‘Wicked Problems’. From an Earth Science perspective, wicked problems include the modern period of human-induced climate change, access to critical resources, and the risk posed from natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and landslides. This course explores these problems and outlines the geologic approaches available to help better understand these problems. The course will develop fundamental geologic skills including geoscientific data collection, analysis and visualisation, hazard analysis, spatial mapping, and written communication. Upon completion of this course, you will have acquired an appreciation for the role geoscience plays in creating, understanding and mitigating some of the most pressing issues facing humanity today, including * Rock and mineral derived contaminant cycling * Geologically derived carbon cycling and climate change * Hydroclimate, water resources and geosphere-hydrosphere-anthrosphere interactions * Novel metal resources * Plate tectonics; mountain building; faulting & folding * Natural hazards; earthquakes; landslides; tsunamis; volcanoes * Disaster risk; human-earth system interactions

This course introduces and explores some of the key Earth Science challenges facing humanity. These include climate change, access to resources, and living with natural hazards. During the course, we will explore these processes and their potential impacts and investigate how fundamental geologic skills can be brought to address these challenges.

Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing this course will:
1. Understand fundamental geological concepts and terms.
2. Interpret Earth processes and events using scientific observations, knowledge and reasoning.
3. Discover and explain how Earth works as a system of interacting components and the role humans play in influencing this system.
4. Identify the physical processes governing the transport of water through surface and subsurface systems.
5. Understand geological processes and resources relevant to society.
6. Identify and solve common geological problems by synthesizing multiple independent observations

Students will be able to:
7. Explain the processes that define the global biogeochemical cycles of mercury, carbon and water
8. Communicate how changes in one component of the Earth System will impact other components of the Earth system through the complex transferral of matter and energy
9. Measure and calculate the flux of mass (e.g. water) through the Earth System across a variety of spatial and temporal scales
10. Interpret the landscape to identify potential geohazards which could impact society
11. Analyse the complexities of managing geohazards within complex natural and human systems
12. Identify and prioritize resources for the mitigation of geohazards

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.


Timetable Note

The expected student workload breakdown for GEOL102 is:

Contact time: 70 hours
• Lectures – 36 hours
• Lab work/Tutorials – 28 hours
• Workshop – 6 hours

Independent work: 80 hours
• Lab preparation and review – 5 hours
• Practical Assignment – 20 hours
• Test and Exam Preparation – 25 hours

Self-guided learning (e.g. course content review; independent study) – 30 hours

Course Coordinator

Tom Robinson


Travis Horton , Tim Stahl and Kate Pedley


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Campus streams lab report 20%
Labs & Quizzes (multiple) 35%
LEARN Quiz 1 15%
Alpint Fault report 30%

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Earle, Steven; Physical Geology - 2nd Edition ; 2nd edition; BCcampus, 2019 (Retrieved from

Goff, James R. , De Freitas, Christopher R; Natural hazards in Australasia ; Cambridge University Press, 2016.


Restrictions: GEOL113; GEOL115

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $951.00

International fee $4,750.00

* 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 .

All GEOL102 Occurrences

  • GEOL102-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023