Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 16 Hours.
Seminars / Tutorials 2 Hours.
Practical 2 Hours.
Other Group base project work


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Project report of 3000 words  40%
Semester Assessment Oral presentation  10%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Seen examination  50%
Supplementary Assessment 2 Hours   Resit exam and/or resubmit failed elements of coursework.  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Re-sit: 2hr seen examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of changing climate and land-use on river basin dynamics.

2. Demonstrate an understaning of the procedures used in geomorphological assessment of river basins.

3. Evaluate and explain the causes of river instability and identify what steps can be taken to alleviate it.

4. Perform a desk study, using GIS, identifying the safest route of a pipeline accross a river valley.

Brief description

The module begins with an introduction to river basin sediment systems drawing on case studies from around the world in areas including, Europe, New Zealand, the Mediterranean and South America. It will then consider geomorphological procedures that can be used to identify causes of instability in river catchments and steps that can be taken to remedy these problems. One of the central and distinctive themes of this module is assessing and understanding the impact that envrionemental change has on river basin dynamics. This will be considered by examining the relationship between short-term climate fluctuations and flooding, as well as the effects that land-use change have on river instability. In the final part of the module new approaches to reducing the impact of mining operations on rivers will be reviewed using cse studies from the UK, Spain and Bolivia.


  • Principles of fluvial geomorphology for river basin managers
  • Framework and procedures for geomorphological assessment
  • Climate change and river basin management
  • Estimating flood risk
  • Sediment slugs and river instability
  • Impact of metal mining on river systems
  • Mine tailings dam failure and river restoration
  • Protecting and managing cultural resources in river basins
  • Seminar presenations on river crossing projects

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number * Obtain and interpret mathematical and statistical inormation * Tackle problems involving numbers
Communication * Read in different contexts and for different purposes * Write for different contexts and for different purposes (inc presentation and discussion) * Listen effectively
Improving own Learning and Performance * Devise and apply realistic learning and self management strategies
Information Technology * Use a range of commonly used software packages * Prepare and input data * Manage storage systems * Present information and data * Use email/internet appropriately and effectively
Personal Development and Career planning * Develop awareness of personal skills, beliefs and qualities in relation to course/career progression
Problem solving * Identify problems * Identify factors which might influence potential solutions * Develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving * Evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions * Costruct a rational proposal in response to a problem
Research skills * Understand a range of research methods * Plan and carry out research * Produce academically appropriate reports * Evaluate research methods, design and procedures
Subject Specific Skills * Fluvial geomorphological interpretation and analysis in a real world context
Team work * Undesrtand the concept of group dynamics * Contribute to the setting of group goals * Contribute effectively to the planning of group activities * Play an active part in group activities

Reading List

Recommended Text
Lewin, J. and Macklin, M.G. (1987) Metal mining and floodplain sedimentation in Britain. In International Geomorphology, Part 1 (V. Gardiner, ed) Wiley New York Primo search Maas, G.S., Macklin, M.G., Warburton, J., Woodward, J.C. and Meldrum, E.A. (2001) 300-year history of flooding in Andean mountain river system: the Rio Alizos, southern Bolivia. In Maddy, D., Macklin, M.G. and Woodward, J.C. (eds) River Basin Sediment Systems: Archives of Environmental Change Rotterdam, Balkema Primo search Macklin, M.G. (1996) Fluxes and Storage of Sediment Associated Heavy metals in Floodplain Systems: Assessment and River Basin Management Issues at a time of Rapid Environemntal Change. In Floodplain Processes, Anderson, M.G., Wailing, D.E. and Bates, P.D. (eds) Wiley Chichester Primo search Macklin, M.G., and Lewin, J. (1997) Channel, Floodplain and Drainage Basin Response to Environmental change, In Applied Fluvial Geomorphology for River Engineering and Management, Thorne, C.R., Hey, R.D. and Newson, M.D. (eds), 15-45 Wiley Chichester Primo search Blum, M.D. and Tornquist, T.E. (2000) Fluvial responses to climate and sea-level change: a review and look forward, Sedimetology, 47 (Suppl. 1), 2-48 Primo search Coulthard, T.J. and Macklin, M.G. (2001) How sensitive are river systems to climate and lan-use changes? A model based evaluation. Journal of Quarternary Science, 16 (4), 347-351 Primo search Hudson-Edwards, K.A., Macklin, M.G., Miller, J.R. and Lechler, P.J (2001) Sources distribution of heavy metals in the Rio Pilcomayo, Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 72, 229-250 Primo search Maas, G.S. and Maas, G.S., Macklin, M.G. (2002) The impact of recent cliamte change on flooding sediment supply within a Mediterranean mountain catchment, southwestern Crete, Greece. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 27, 1087-1105 Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7