EARTH101-22A (TGA)

Introduction to Earth System Sciences

15 Points

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Division of Health Engineering Computing & Science
School of Science
Earth Sciences


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Paper Description

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A paper that explores the interacting processes that affect the surface of the Earth, producing landforms and resources, with a focus on physical processes. Topics covered include coastal processes and hazards; climate change; weathering; erosion and mass movement; soil formation; the hydrological cycle; rivers and groundwater; and glaciers.

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Paper Structure

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The paper is composed of lectures, practicals and a field trip. Students are required to attend one three-hour laboratory session per week. Labs begin in the first week of the semester. As part of the requirements of this paper, students must attend a one-day field trip.

Learning resources accessed via Moodle support the paper. A summary of the course programme appears below, and there are more detailed versions available on Moodle.

The final examination is the only compulsory piece of assessment. However, attendance at laboratory sessions and the field trip all constitute part of the final assessment, so absences should be explained.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Describe and classify soils and explain the relative influence of soil forming factors in their development.
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  • Explain the application of land resource inventory maps for New Zealand.
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  • Characterise hazard mechanisms, impacts and mitigation measures on terrestrial slopes, in rivers and at the coast.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Identify key geomorphic features associated with coastal, fluvial and glacial systems, and explain the physical processes that shape them.
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Examine climate variability at different time scales and evaluate predictions of future climate
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  • Describe the dynamics of stream and glacial flow, sediment erosion and transport
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  • Describe the hydrological cycle, and the management of fresh water resources.
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  • Discuss groundwater storage and movement in a management context.
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  • Use a range of maps, photographs, and computer software to examine Earth’s features and processes.
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  • Use a variety of techniques to analyse samples and interpret data.
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  • Produce an essay discussing a topic of the paper using citations and an appropriate structure.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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The assessed practical work consists of completing sections of worksheets provided and handing in as physical copies.

Essay topics will be selected through Moodle and handed in electronically.

A short online test will be completed at the end of each of the 3 sections of this paper. Note these are timed tests, one submission per person and are open for a set period only.

The internal assessment/examination ratio is 60:40

Assessed work consists of (a) laboratory assignments (b) 3 tests (c) an essay (d) the final exam. Due dates for assessed work are provided below, in the course programme, on Moodle and in the Study Guide.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 60:40. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 40% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 60:40 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 40% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Laboratory assignments (10 of 11)
  • Other: In class
2. Field trip
3 Apr 2022
9:00 AM
  • Other: Hand-in question worksheet at end of field trip
3. Essay
20 May 2022
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Tests (3)
  • Other: In class hand in
5. Exam
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Recommended Readings

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Marshak, S., 2019. EARTH Portrait of a Planet (6th Edition). W. W. Norton & Company, New York. ISBN-13: 978-0393617511
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Other Resources

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The lectures will be recorded using Panopto and made available on Moodle. Students should not use the recorded lectures as their primary source of lecture content as experience has shown this not to be an effective learning approach.
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Online Support

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Online support will be provided via Moodle, which is accessible to all students who are enrolled in the paper.

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A 100-level 15 point paper in any of the science subjects offered by the University of Waikato typically involves less than 80 hours of supervised study and it is assumed that up to 70 hours will be spent in private study by an ‘average’ student.

There are three lectures and one three-hour practical session per week; and a one-day field trip. All the laboratory sessions involve completing worksheets, portions of which are submitted for marking at the end of each session. Students are expected to spend 30 minutes before the laboratory session to familiarise themselves with the content of the worksheet. During the field trip students will collect information to be used in subsequent laboratory sessions. Students will submit one essay on an aspect of the paper with the topics being posted on Moodle. There will be a limit to the number of students who can answer each topic. Students are expected to spend up to 25 hours to research and write their essay. More specific information on the requirements for the essay is provided in the Study Guide.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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This paper may be used as a prerequisite for 200-level ERTH papers.

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Restricted papers: ERTH104

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