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Glaciology & Volcanism in Iceland - ENV00026H

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  • Department: Environment and Geography
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. David Rippin
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Summer Vacation 2020-21 to Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

This module will provide students with a unique opportunity to study glacial, volcanological and fluvial processes and landforms, as well as natural hazards that arise as a result of the interaction of these three key elements of the environment. The module will build on practical experience gained in previous field-studies in the 1st and 2nd years, but will also introduce some more advanced techniques for studying the environment. Learning through field-work is an important part of studies carried out in physical geography - the 'hands-on' experience provided is an important complement to theoretical studies carried out back home. Carrying out such fieldwork in an exotic location provides a unique experience, and Iceland in particular will enable students to experience and study environments not accessible within the UK.

As this is an optional field course module a charge additional to tuition fees is incurred by students taking this module. Costs will vary depending on number of students on the module, exchange rates, changes in accomodation charges by providers etc. In 2017-18 the cost of the field course per student, with 23 students attending the module, was £1620 per student.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will develop:

  • The ability to apply methods and techniques learnt in a new fieldwork setting.
  • The ability to collect and critically analyse a set of physical data, and where appropriate, select numerical approaches and techniques appropriate for the purpose.
  • To keep accurate field-notes, demonstrating the ability to synthesise multiple data-sets while in the field.
  • To write a scientific-paper-type document on one of themes developed during the fieldtrip integrating field observations, and current research literature, also demonstrating the ability to pull practical and theoretical information together coherently.
  • An ability to critically evaluate the physical processes operating in glaciological and volcanological environments.
  • An ability to effectively and fluently present original thoughts and concepts based on the relevant literature in a range of formats.
  • An ability to access relevant scientific information from a variety of different sources and relate this to observations made in the field.

Generic / Employability Skills:

The module will provide students with a very specific range of skills and abilities related to the fields of glaciology, volcanism and environmental change.

More, generic skills that will arise from this are:

  • Ability to devise methodologies for collecting relevant data.
  • Ability to give oral presentations supported by visual aids.
  • Ability to work in a group.
  • Ability to think critically about research methods.
  • Development of independent research skills.
  • Problem analysis and task prioritisation.
  • Time management.


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 50
N/A 25
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
N/A 25

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay:3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on the assessment will be provided throughout. Oral feedback will be given on presentations while in Iceland, as well as in detailed written form subsequently. Detailed, specific written comments will also be provided on field-books, and also on the 3000-word write-up. Detailed comments giving generic information on good practice, relevant to the whole class, will also be provided and disseminated via the VLE.

Indicative reading

Benn D. and D.J. Evans. 2010. Glaciers and Glaciation (2nd edition). Hodder Education, 816pp

Bennett M.W. and N.F. Glasser. 2009. Glacial Geology: Ice Sheets and Landforms (2nd edition). Wiley-Blackwell, 400pp

Francis and Oppenheimer. 2003. Volcanoes. OUP Oxford. 536pp

Holden, J. 2010. An Introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment (2nd edition). Prentice Hall.

Hubbard, B. and N.F. Glasser. 2005. Field Techniques in Glaciology and Glacial Geomorphology. Wiley-Blackwell, 412pp

Knight, P.G. 2009. Glacier Science and Environmental Change. Wiley-Blackwell, 544pp

Maizels and Caseldine. 2013. Environmental Change in Iceland: Past and Present (Glaciology and Quaternary Geology). Springer. 333pp

Siegert, M.J. 2001. Ice Sheets and Late Quaternary Environmental Change. Wiley-Blackwell, 248pp

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.