Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Practical 3 x 2 Hour Practicals
Lecture 12 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Individual Poster Presentation  Extended Essay 3,500 words.  20%
Semester Assessment Group research proposal - written  Written Group Research Proposal  20%
Semester Assessment Group research proposal - oral  Conference-Style Poster  10%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Seen semester 1 exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary assessment -individual poster  Resubmission of failed components  Resubmission of failed components  20%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary assessment - essay on glaciological method  Resubmission of failed componentsc  20%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary assessment - individual oral presentation  Resubmission of failed components  10%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Supplementary exam  Resubmission of failed components  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

Evaluate and define the concept of palaeoglaciology, and assess the fundamentals of ice sheet reconstruction and its global and scientific significance.

Interpret the nature of evidence for Quaternary and ancient glacial successions, and evaluate former glacier dynamics and thermal regime.

Synthesize relevant literature by producing high-quality written reports outlining current scientific debates and methods used in palaeoglaciology.

Summarise a topical debate within palaeoglaciology by designing and producing a conference-style poster.

Explain the scientific background, appropriate methods and key deliverables of a hypothetical research project within palaeoglaciology by giving an oral presentation and producing a written research proposal.

Brief description

The module will introduce the students to the fundamentals of palaeoglaciology and the nature of the evidence from which former ice sheets may be reconstructed. Subsequent lectures will provide students with the full details of this evidence and explain how existing and former glaciers and their sedimentary products can be researched and interpreted. Students will be introduced to techniques used in palaeoglaciological research through contemporary case studies and practical activities complementary to the lecture material. The module is assessed through individual coursework components, group work and a seen Semester 1 examination.


1. To introduce fundamental concepts in palaeoglaciology and ice mass reconstruction, and how these integrate with palaeooceanography and palaeoclimatology.
2. To outline and exemplify a range of methods used in palaeoglaciology.
3. To develop effective team working skills.
4. To enhance scientific communication skills.


Lecture and workshop sessions will cover the following themes from week 1 to 10:

Introduction to Palaeoglaciology
Timescales of glaciations.

The Earth’s glacial record
Ancient glaciations, Snowball Earth and alternative hypotheses.

Landforms and dating techniques in palaeoglaciology
Glacial vs non-glacial landforms, dating techniques in palaeoglaciology, importance of subglacial thermal regime.

Glacier landform-sediment assemblages
Criteria for identifying glacial landsystems.

Ice sheet analogues
Attributes of contemporary ice sheets, attributes of former ice sheet beds.

Attributes of contemporary and palaeo ice sheets
Ice-stream flow, ice sheet growth and decay, palaeoclimatic records.

Major palaeoglaciological events
Heinrich events, D/O-cycles, outburst floods, climatic and oceanographic consequences.

Glacial phases beyond the ice sheets
Younger Dryas and Little Ice Age glaciations.

Workshop on research proposal and poster presentations

Research proposal conference (4 hour student-led conference session)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will undertake numerical analyses in some of the workshops.
Communication Designing conference poster and presenting it; producing and delivering oral seminar presentation; semester examination; contributing to group work
Improving own Learning and Performance Researching, reading and synthesizing of literature for extended essay and research proposal; time management skills; oral and written communication skills; team work and peer review.
Information Technology Producing poster presentation (PowerPoint); producing seminar presentation and visual aids (PowerPoint); submission of documents via Blackboard (eLearning); using ArcGIS during workshops.
Problem solving Defining and designing poster presentation; producing research proposal; producing seminar presentation; written examination.
Research skills Defining and designing poster presentation; preparing for and sitting semester examination; developing research proposal; producing seminar presentation.
Subject Specific Skills Increase in geographical and geological knowledge, and awareness of contemporary issues in glaciology and palaeoglaciology
Team work Producing written research proposal and presenting it at a research conference.


This module is at CQFW Level 6