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Hobart, Launceston


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This unit is taught in a blended style with material delivered both face to face and online, and is available to distance students who will complete three intensive weekends of practicals and excursions in Tasmania during weeks 4, 8 and 12 of the semester.

In this unit, we will explore the nature of the Earth: its minerals, its rocks, its internal layering, and the record of the way the Earth has changed from its formation. We will examine the processes that drive our planet: from its deep interior to the outer surface. We will explore mountains and the deepest oceans to reveal the shape of our world. We will introduce you to why the oceans host the youngest rocks on Earth, how the Earth’s continent are formed, how some rocks are entirely made from dead animals and plants, how mountains are destroyed by erosion, what causes earthquakes, and how volcanic eruptions work. In our practicals, we will teach you to read the message in the rocks. Two field excursions will provide you with the basic skills to create a geological map and recognise the main rocks forming Tasmania. You will learn to unlock the knowledge hidden in minerals and the view the wonders of the past recorded in a grain of sand. You will see the landscape with new eyes and be challenged to apply your new skills outside the classroom.

Summary 2020

Unit name Understanding Earth Systems
Unit code KEA101
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Earth Sciences

Dr Karin Orth

Teaching staff

Level Introductory
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No



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Teaching Pattern

Hobart-on campus students:

1 x 1-hr tutorial weekly (12 weeks), 3-hr lab weekly (13 weeks), 1 day excursion

Launceston and other students:

1 x 1-hr online tutorial weekly (12 weeks), 3 weekends of labs (weeks 4-8-12), 1 day excursion.

For all students - lectures will be available online.


Continuous practical assessment (20%), Field skills (10%), Regular quizzes (10%), Practical exam(s) (10%), Final 2-hr theory exam (50%).

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