This area of study entry applies to students commencing this course in 2013 and should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. Any units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.
|Managing faculty||Faculty of Science|
|Offered by||School of Geosciences|
|Coordinator||Ms Marion Anderson (Level one); Associate Professor Jeffrey Stilwell (Levels two and three); Professor Louis Moresi (Honours)|
Geosciences is a multidisciplinary science that seeks to understand the Earth's dynamic systems. The geosciences program provides students with an insight into both present-day processes and how the Earth has changed over geological time, including an understanding of how its chemical, physical and biological systems (e.g. plate tectonics, volcanoes, mountain belts, ocean basins, earthquakes, groundwater and surface water, the biosphere and the atmosphere) are interrelated, and how they have shaped the planet on which we live. Additionally, units in environmental geosciences, mineral and petroleum exploration, and geophysics provide training in applied geosciences, teaching students about sustainable use of the Earth's resources. Specialty streams within the geosciences include geology, environmental geosciences, geophysics, geochemistry, volcanology and palaeontology. In addition, the discipline draws on, and has links with, numerous allied sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, geographical science, information technology, mathematics and atmospheric science.
The core geosciences program examines the major geological processes on planet Earth within a plate tectonic framework. All units are multidisciplinary and reflect both the broad scope and the interaction between the different Earth systems. Further, the units develop transferable skills such as logical thinking, data manipulation, problem solving, team building, research and communication. Careers in geosciences are varied and include mining and mineral exploration, petroleum exploration, marine science, groundwater and surface water resource management, teaching, geological engineering and geotechnical surveys, environmental consulting, and geological survey work. There are also opportunities for geosciences research and development in the university, government, and private sectors. Additionally, the transferable skills developed are in wide demand within the science and non-science sectors of the economy.
Graduates will be able to:
See coordinator details in table above.
Students in course 2340 Bachelor of Environmental Science (only) may use ENV1011 (Planet earth and its environment: The cosmic connection) and ENV1022 (Australian physical environments: Evolution, status and management) as a level one ESC sequence for a major or a minor sequence in geosciences.
First year students studying geosciences should include the 12-point combination ESC1011/ENV1011 and ESC1022 along with SCI1020 (Introduction to statistical reasoning) or STA1010 (Statistical methods for science), and at least one of chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, computational science or geographical science. Students aiming to specialise in palaeontology should also take units from biological sciences. Similarly those with interests in environmental science are advised to take two of biology, chemistry and geographical science, while those with interests in geophysics are advised to take physics and/or mathematics.
ESC1011 is of interest to students seeking a broad overview of earth and environmental sciences. ESC1022 provides a continued overview of geosciences, in particular the processes that have shaped the Earth's crust through its evolution.
In the second year of the geosciences curriculum, students will gain a firm understanding of global-scale geological processes, including plate tectonics, mountain building and sedimentation, mineral science, and volcanism. In addition to lecture and laboratory-based exercises, students will participate in several field-based activities that will sharpen their skills of data collection and interpretation of both small and large-scale geological structures.
In ESC2111, students will learn to interpret past geo-tectonic environments by deciphering stratigraphic and structural elements preserved in mountain belts and sedimentary basins. Because most of our planet is made of minerals, students will delve increasingly into the relationships between the structure, chemistry, physical and optical properties of minerals in ESC2122. Students will explore these concepts through laboratory exercises on crystal morphology and symmetry, optical mineralogy, and electron microscopy. An introduction to groundwater movement and quality emphasising its use and abuse by humans is also treated in ESC2122. Groundwater topics include predicting flow patterns, interactions with surface water, well drilling and pumping, groundwater contamination and remediation, and distribution of groundwater resources throughout Australia. In ESC2132, students will study the principles and practices of geological field mapping. They will quantify the deformation that occurs within Earth by measuring a variety of rock structures and discuss interpretations of the deformation patterns in the context of plate tectonics. Students may also elect to study how life on Earth has changed with time in the unit ESC2032. In this class students will learn to think in terms of the time scale of the Earth, which is more than 4.5 billion years old.
At least one other coherent package of 12 points at level two from another area of study (chemistry, physics, mathematics and statistics, biological sciences, computational science, geographical science) should be taken.
ESC2032, ESC2111, ESC2122, ESC2132 are also available to students wishing to take them as independent units to support other studies. Students not intending to proceed to level-three studies in geosciences may take any combination of level-two geosciences units.
Geophysics involves the application of physics, mathematics and computer methods to the investigation of the Earth's interior. Students who intend to major in geosciences are strongly advised to discuss their program with relevant members of staff.
The level-three program in geosciences consists of several 6-point units in geology, geophysics and environmental geosciences that may be taken in any combination depending on the student's interests and the units completed at level two. Students interested in continuing with geosciences at honours or master's level or becoming professional geologists, geophysicists or environmental geoscientists should take 48 points of level three geoscience units. Students wishing to undertake honours in geosciences must complete at least 24 points of level three ESC units, including 18 points from ESC3162, ESC3190, ESC3201, ESC3232, ESC3311, ESC3332, ESC3411 or ESC3421. Students wishing to complete a major in geosciences but not to progress to honours may take any combination of level three ESC units. Students should choose units with regard to their interests, experience and future aspirations. Advice on suitable combinations of units for various geosciences streams is available from the School of Geosciences and all students are urged to seek advice before choosing sequences of units. Students interested in the geosciences project unit (ESC3200) must obtain permission from the third-year coordinator before enrolling.
In addition to the requirements listed above, students must meet the entry requirements for the Science honours program relevant to their course of enrolment. See the entries for:
Full details regarding the course structure for honours in this area of study are outlined in course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.