UCL Department of Geography
GEOGG136 – Non-biological Indicators for Environmental Reconstruction
  
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GEOGG136 – Non-biological Indicators for Environmental Reconstruction

OPTION COURSE GEOGG136 – Non-biological Indicators for Environmental Reconstruction

(15 credits; Term 2)

Staff:
Jonathan Holmes (convenor) and others

Aims:
The aim of this module is to introduce students to a range of physical and geochemical techniques used for environmental reconstruction. The module will:

  • Provide an overview of the application of non-biological proxies in sediments to the reconstruction of environmental variables

  • Provide specific theoretical and practical training in the use of selected techniques for the analysis of sediments for environmental reconstruction

  • Explore the limitations of specific techniques and associated uncertainties in reconstructions

    Content:
    The module will cover theoretical and practical training in the use of non-biological indicators in environmental reconstruction, with particular emphasis on the laboratory analysis of Quaternary sediments. Techniques to be covered will be selected from the following: basic sediment description and characterization; particle-size analysis; mineral magnetics; sediment geochemistry using XRF; analysis of contaminants; carbonate geochemistry using ICP-OES; stable-isotope analysis of carbonates and organic material.

    Assessment:
    Lab-book write-up for practical classes (50%) and a 2000-word essay on application of non-biological indicators to environmental reconstruction (50%)

    Format:
    The module is based upon lectures and on supervised practicals.

    Learning Outcomes:
    At the end of the module students should have:

    • a knowledge of the range of techniques used in environmental reconstruction;

    • an understanding of the complexities associated with the interpretation of non-biological data;

    • a critical appreciation of the advantages and limitations of the different techniques for reconstruction of past environments

    • an understanding of the complexities associated with the interpretation of non-biological data;

    • a critical appreciation of the advantages and limitations of the different techniques for reconstruction of past environments.

    • Explore the limitations of specific techniques and associated uncertainties in reconstructions