AG-210 The Quaternary and Glacial Geology of Svalbard (15 ECTS)

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ID:
AG-210
CREDITS:
15 ECTS
START DATE:
14 August 2017
END DATE:
1 December 2017
COURSE PERIOD:
Autumn semester (August–December), annually.
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AND EXAMINATION:
English
CREDIT REDUCTION/OVERLAP:
None
GRADE:
Letter grade (A through F)
COURSE MATERIAL:
Curriculum/reading list: Ca. 600 pages
COURSE COSTS:
Fieldwork, NOK 400 (2 days x NOK 200 per overnight stay)
COURSE CAPACITY MIN/MAX:
10/20 students
EXAMINATION SUPPORT MATERIAL:
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue
APPLICATION DEADLINE:
15 April 2017

INSTRUCTORS:

Lena Håkansson
Lena Håkansson
Associate Professor, Quaternary and glacial geology

Course requirements:

60 ECTS within general natural science, of which 30 ECTS within the field of geology/geosciences. The applicant must be enrolled in a programme at Bachelor level, or document that the courses are approved into the applicant’s current study programme.

Academic content:

The course gives insight into the Quaternary glacial history of Svalbard, introducing important methods in the fields of glacial sedimentology, stratigraphy, geomorphology and geochronology and how these can be applied to reconstruct past glaciers and ice sheets. Students are introduced to glacigenic sediments and landforms through fieldwork, lectures and laboratory exercises. We will focus on the description of terrestrial glacial records and use examples from Svalbard in particular and the Arctic in general. Further, we will be discussing how these records can be interpreted in terms of paleoenvironmental change.
Students will take this course in combination with AG-211 Arctic Marine Geology; these two courses are designed to complement each other.

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • Have a basic understanding of the Late Quaternary glacial history of Svalbard
  • Have broad knowledge of important methods in glacial sedimentology, stratigraphy, geomorphology and Quaternary geochronology and of how these methods can applied to ice sheet reconstructions
  • Be able to describe Quaternary and glacial landforms and sediments common to the Arctic and be able interpret them in terms of paleo-environmental change
  • Be familiar with a selection of both recent and classic research within the field of Quaternary glacial geology in Svalbard.

Skills
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • Be able to apply important field techniques in glacial sedimentology, stratigraphy and geomorphology
  • Have training in mapping glacial landforms using GIS
  • Be able to identify major lithofacies in Quaternary sedimentary successions in Svalbard
  • Have acquired both independent and team-work skills.

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • Have training in how to present own data both in the form of scientific reports and through oral presentations.
  • Have training in how to carry out an independent research project using state-of-the-art field methods and in recording observations in accordance with high academic standards.

Learning activities:

The course extends over a full semester. Initially, students attend two days of compulsory Arctic survival and safety training.

The course consists of three modules; 1) field school, 2) lectures and exercises and 3) individual term projects.

1) During the field school students will practice using state-of-the-art field techniques and collect data for term projects. Fieldwork will be carried out in smaller groups and each group will report on the findings in a written field report.
2) The lectures and exercises are divided into thematic blocks covering the fundaments of Quaternary glacial geology focusing on Svalbard and the Arctic.
3) The last part of the course will be scheduled for individual work on term projects. Each student will be assigned a research topic based on data collected during the field school. The project work is supervised one-on-one. Term projects will be presented through a written report in the format of a scientific paper and through an oral presentation.

Total lecture hours: 34 hours.
Total exercise hours: 22 hours.
Total seminar hours: 13 hours.
Excursion: 7 days fieldwork with 2 overnight stays and 5 day-trips from Longyearbyen.

Compulsory learning activities:

Fieldwork
Field report: a written group report presenting field data
Laboratory exercises and seminars

All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.

Assessment:

Method Duration
Percentage of final grade
Term project; Written report
Oral presentation of report
40 %
20 %
Multiple choice exam  1 hour 40 %

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.
Each assessment is graded, and subsequently combined into a single grade. Partial grades for each assessment will be available.

Application deadline: 15 April 2017

More information: Syllabus AG-210 autumn 2015

Students in the field

AG-210 fieldwork. Photo: Anne Hormes/UNIS.

Students on Nordenskiöldbreen

AG-210 field excursion to Nordenskiöldbreen. Photo: Endre Før Gjermundsen/UNIS.

CONTACT INFO

The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
Fax: +47 79 02 33 01
E-mail: post@unis.no / webmaster@unis.no
Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
Org. no. 985 204 454

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