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Module GL1101: Junior Freshman Geology

Download the module booklet here (PDF 150MB)

  Module GL1101
Co-ordinator: Dr Chris Nicholas
Course Type:  
Assessment: Theory examination (60%); in-course assessments made up of multiple-choice tests (10%); tutorial work (30%)
ECTS: 10 Credits

No prior knowledge of geology is required or assumed, but a background in at least one science subject taken at Leaving Cert level is recommended, along with an inquisitive mind.

Contact hours & timing:

Hilary Term
Lectures/Practicals 3 hours lectures and 1 hour tutorial per week

Module Learning Aims:

The module gives an introduction to our dynamic Planet Earth, explains the natural principles and processes that govern how it works inside and out, and retraces its geological history over the past four and a half billion years.

Module Content:

From the vastness of the Universe to the microscopic structure of mineral crystals, from galaxy birth over billions of years to volcanic eruptions lasting only minutes; the science of geology sets out to investigate the origin and development of the planet, the natural principles that govern it, the processes that act in, on and around it, and the life that has evolved with it.  Many sciences are conducted in the laboratory, but to a geologist the Earth itself is the laboratory.  In essence, this module provides a beginner’s guide to Planet Earth.

The module is divided into two main themes developed consecutively during the Semester.  Firstly, 'Earth in Space' investigates the origin of the Universe and our Solar System, Earth’s early formation, composition and structure, with a focus on how Earth's internal dynamism constantly changes the landscape upon which we live.  The second theme, 'Earth and Life' explores how the planet and the organisms that have lived on it evolved together over billions of years. It investigates how evidence of past life can be preserved in rocks, how key fossil groups evolved, and the geological causes that drove some of them to extinction.

Learning outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • explain the basic origin and evolution of planet Earth and outline its dynamics
  • discuss the major evolutionary episodes in the fossil record and explain how the planet changed over time with life