Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Glacial Processes and Landforms
Academic Year
Semester 1
GG10610 or DA10610 preferred.
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 Hours. 10 x 2 hours


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Learning Portfolio.  The module will be assessed by three assignments comprising 2 independent essays and a group project. The independent essays are a maximum of 1500 words each. Each essay will cover a differing topic related to the module’s lecture content. The first essay (35%) will focus on problem identification, (related to Lectures 1-4) and the second essay (35%) will develop literature searching and reviewing skills (related to Lectures 5-10).  70%
Semester Assessment Group Project  The module will be assessed by three assignments comprising 2 independent essays and a group project. Group project involves researching glaciarised regions on Earth and presenting a popular media style report. Peer assessment will also be employed for the assignment.  30%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed components  Resubmission of failed components. Students who fail the module will be required to resubmit any failed essay components described above. Students who fail the group project will be required to submit a supplementary 1200-word independent essay.  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Outline the principles of glacier mass balance, glacier motion and glacier hydrology.
2. Identify the dominant erosional and depositional processes operating in glacial environments.
3. Explain how erosional and depositional processes interact to produce different glacial landforms and landscapes.
4. Assess the role played by ice sheets in global change.
5. Explain how cold climate indicators are preserved in the geomorphological and sedimentological record.
6. Find and evaluate information from the glaciological and glacial geomorphological literature.

Brief description

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to glacial environments and to the processes, landforms and sediments that occur in these areas. Students will be introduced to the main types of glacial settings, and to the dominant landform- and sediment-forming processes that are found in these areas. Topics covered include glacier mass balance, glacier motion and velocity, glacier hydrology, glacial erosion and sedimentation, and an introduction to the glacial geomorphology of Wales. This module will make use of case studies to introduce students to the most recent published literature and current debates in the field. Each session will consist of a lecture, followed by discussion of a case study related to the topic of that lecture. Assessment tasks (building into a Learning Portfolio) will be linked to lecture topics.


1. Introduction to glacial environments
2. Glacier mass balance
3. Glaciers and climate: the ice sheets
4. Glaciers and climate: valley glaciers and glacier hazards
5. Glacier hydrology
6. Glacier motion: theory and processes
7. Glacier motion: spatial variability and surge-type behaviour
8. Glacial erosion: processes and landforms
9. Glacial deposition: processes and landforms
10. Ice-sheet reconstructions from landform evidence

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Written communication skills are developed in researching and writing all Entries.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will learn how to improve their own learning and performance through the exercises related to all Entries, with peer assessment in Group project.
Information Technology Information technology skills are developed through the writing of all Entries and posting these to Blackboard.
Personal Development and Career planning Awareness of personal development is developed in the work associated with all Entries, especially the group project involving team work.
Problem solving Problem-solving skills are developed by students in researching and writing Entry 1 (problem identification).
Research skills Research skills are developed in researching and writing Entries 1, 2 and 3 (problem identification, finding and evaluating information on a lecture topic and creating an annotated bibliography).
Subject Specific Skills Subject-specific skills in glaciology, glacial geomorphology and sedimentology are developed throughout the module in lectures, as well as through independent study (researching and writing the Entries).

Reading List

Essential Reading
Benn, D. I. and Evans, D.J.A. (2010) Glaciers and Glaciation 2nd Edition Arnold: London Primo search Bennett, M.R. and Glasser, N.F. (2009) Glacial Geology: Ice Sheets and Landforms. 2nd Edition Chichester: John Wiley Primo search
Recommended Consultation
Annals of Glaciology Primo search Antarctic and Alpine Research Primo search Artic Primo search Earth Surface Processes and Landforms Primo search Geomorphology Primo search Geophysical Research Letters Primo search Journal of Quaternary Science Primo search Quaternary Science Reviews Primo search Sedimentary Geology Primo search Sedimentology Primo search Journal of Geophysical Research Journal of Glaciology The Cryosphere


This module is at CQFW Level 5