Introduction to Earth Sciences - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP2 , SP4
  • Availability for 2017: SP2 , SP4
  • Assessment: Assignments - 4 Assignments & Online Quizzes (40%) , Invigilated Exam (50%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 1,131.00
HECS 1,131.00
International 1,381.00

This broad-based first unit in geology begins with a global overview of Earth, its origin and the way the whole Earth-system functions. Focus then moves to the processes which operate on or within the crust of the Earth. These include earthquakes, volcanoes and magmatic processes, weathering and soils, sedimentary processes, deformation and erosion. All this is set in the context of the theory of plate tectonics - the unifying theme of modern geology. Mineral and rock identification are included in home-based workshop/laboratory sessions.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. define and use correctly a wide range of descriptive and technical geological terminology
  2. discuss cogently the overarching theory of plate tectonics as it pertains to various aspects of the Earth's processes
  3. comprehend and be able to explain the model of the internal structure and energetics of the Earth
  4. understand the origin and (chemical and physical) properties of common minerals
  5. understand and apply Geological Time scales and the classification of rocks by age
  6. understand and explain the importance of sedimentary processes and accumulation on regional geological classification
  7. describe the origins and interpret the outcomes of crustal force stresses
  8. understand and describe the origins, occurrence and extraction of groundwater
  9. explain the processes that result in magmatic rock
  10. understand the origins and significance of metamorphic rocks.
  • Assignments — 4 Assignments & Online Quizzes (40%)
  • Invigilated Exam (50%)
  • Test — 1 Written Test (10%)
For more information on invigilated exams see Exams and results

Exposure to at least school-level science and mathematics is required.

  • Additional materials
  • Broadband access

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Planet Earth
2Dynamics of the crust
4Movement of material
5Earthquakes and Earth's interior
6Deformation of rocks
7Weathering and soils
8Metamorphic rocks
9Sedimentary rocks
10Magmatic rocks
12Geological time

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Embedded Multimedia
  • Online Quizzes/Tests
  • Online assignment submission
  • Standard Media
  • Web links

Online materials

  • Audio/Video - Streaming
  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is not currently a requirement for any courses, but may be eligible for credit.

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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