This course explores the nature and critical issues of major types of Earth resources - energy, metallic, non-metallic, water, soil - and the impacts that resource usage has on the Earth environment.
Coordinator: Prof Eric Oelkers
- Module details
Title Earth Resources & Sustainability UG Code GEOL0025 Coordinator Prof Eric Oelkers Other Contributors Dr Adrian Jones Term 2 Credit 15 credits Written Exam 60% (unseen two and a half hour exam) Coursework 30% (3,000 word essay & practical assignments) Oral Presentation 10% (10 minutes) Pre-Requisites Some first and/or second year Geology modules (e.g. GEOL0006, GEOL0007, GEOL0011) Maths & Stats Content and Requirement General GCSE-level (or equivalent) knowledge of maths Total Number of Hours of Student Work 188 hours Hours of Lectures/Seminars 20 hours Hours of Practicals/Problem Classes 20 hours Hours of Tutorials As needed Days of Fieldwork None Other None
An important aspect of the course is that it will be jointly delivered both by academic and by industry personnel, and students will be introduced to the societal and financial drivers for resource identification.
- Energy density requirements for Earth
- Environmental impacts and the era of coal energy
- The era of methane energy
- Nuclear energy from resources to sequestration
- Alternative energy sources
- Climate change and atmospheric pollution
Practical laboratory topics
- Targetting Earth resources using remote geological techniques
- Measuring environmental impacts with geochemistry
- Prospecting with geophysical techniques
- Petroleum and shale gas research
- Identifying ore rocks and minerals
- Geological pathfinders
- Bioremediation of waste
Coursework packages (essential directed reading topics: select 1)
- Nuclear energy
- Acid rain
- The deep carbon cycle
- Energy challenges
- Abundant metals
- Strategic metals
- High density fuels and future ZEPPS (zero energy emission power plants)
Resources of the Earth: Origin, Use, and Environmental Impact by Craig, Vaughan and Skinner, 4th Ed Prentice Hall, 2010.
This course explores the nature and critical issues of major types of Earth resources - energy, metallic, non-metallic, water, soil - and the impacts that resource usage has on the Earth environment. The concept of sustainability for Earth materials will be approached through discussion of thematic position topics, to encourage students to reach their own conclusions. Students will learn timescales and how geological processes control formation and distribution of resource materials, and the scope for environmental and climatic change at the Earth's surface. Key is the identification and characterisation of materials and the tools for exploration and planning for the consequences of exploitation as practised by the resource industries.
The intended learning outcomes is to demonstrate that Earth materials, which provide the foundations of modern society, are finite in abundance and non-equally distributed yet can be appreciated and profoundly informed from a geological perspective.