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Semester 1

Formation and Evolution of Continents (EASC10080)


Earth Science





Normal Year Taken


Delivery Session Year



Passing of courses equivalent in content and level to those listed in the UoE prerequisites for this course.

Course Summary

The Formation and Evolution of Continents (FEC) course is multidisciplinary and integrative. The course integrates the magmatic, structural, metamorphic, sedimentary and geophysical features and concepts reflecting the operation of major physiochemical and tectonic processes in the Earth that have controlled its evolution since more than 4 billion years ago. FEC fosters a deep-Earth (solid Earth processes)/deep-time orientated view of the Earth and its differentiation, with a focus on the formation of the Earth's crust, culminating in the development and growth of continents.

Course Description

The Course in 2021 will be delivered live. The lectures may or may not be in-person, depending on lecture environment circumstances, as the lecturer has underlying medical issues to consider. A blended learning environment will be employed as back-up. Six themes will be developed, spaced over 8 weeks of semester 1. Lecture presentations will be supported by live recordings, student exercises and reading focused on specific aspects of each theme, and brief live sessions that will link the lectures and exercises and go on to synthesise those for each theme. Students should engage with the thematic online presentations, the exercises and the live sessions for 4-5 hours each week.Lectures will be divided into sections, or vignettes, that introduce and address key questions in each theme. Each vignette will culminate in one (or more) key questions that students will then be able to address through online exercises and reading of designated literature. Each theme will conclude with a short session that utilises the previously presented material and the students learning to arrive at an understanding of the current state of knowledge the theme, including the outstanding questions that remain.Each lecture is supported by powerpoint notes and each Theme by keynote references that are selected to complement and extend the lecture content, provide further insights into concepts and models, and enhance student knowledge and appreciation of underlying data . These are deposited as pdfs on the LEARN site for the course, along with all lecture materials and background information. The FEC course is designed to be state-of-the-art in terms of content. Hence, students are expected to engage in 50-60 hours of independent reading and supplementary study, guided by the keynote papers provided and focussed on the central questions related to each theme and discussed in live Collaborate or Media Hopper sessions.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 70%, Coursework 30%, Practical Exam 0%

Additional Assessment Information

Written Exam: 70%, Course Work: 30 %, Practical Exam: 0%.Coursework (30%): consists of 10% calculation exercise and 20% short answer questions Written Exam (70%): essay Details of the specific assessments will be provided during the course itself, but the essentials are given below:Coursework Assessment Component (30%)The coursework assessment will take place in the fifth week of the Course (week 6 of semester). There is a calculation-based exercise, and a short answer style question. The assessment exercises/questions will be based on material presented, developed and discussed in the first two themes with in the FEC course focussed on the nature and composition of the continent crust, and the significance of arc processes in forming crust. Answers to the Calculation Exercise are to be submitted online via a submission box in the course LEARN site by 12noon on the Wednesday of the week in which the exercise is set. Answers to the coursework assessment (300 words maximum for each question) are to be submitted online via a submission box in the course LEARN site by 12noon on the Thursday of the week in which the assessment is set.Written Examination Component (70%)This will take the form of an essay-style examination sat in the December Examination diet. Students will answer one from a choice of three questions. The questions will be based on material developed and discussed within themes 3, 4, 5 and 6. Details of mode of sitting the exam and submitting work if it is done remotely rather than in a formal exam setting will be provided when these issues are clarified.

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