Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Great Ice Sheets
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Practical 2 x 3 Hour Practicals
Lecture 5 x 2 Hour Lectures
Practical 2 x 2 Hour Practicals
Seminar 1 x 2 Hour Seminar
Field Trip 1 x 7 Hour Field Trip


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Individual Fieldwork Report  2500 words   50%
Semester Assessment Individual Scientific Poster Presentation  A3 poster   20%
Semester Assessment Public Outreach Display (Group)  30%
Supplementary Assessment Individual Fieldwork Report  2500 words   50%
Supplementary Assessment Individual Public Outreach Infographic  In lieu of Public Outreach Display (Group). 1500 words.   30%
Supplementary Assessment Individual Scientific Poster Presentation  A3 poster   20%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Characterise fundamental ice sheet processes in contemporary and palaeo- environments.

2. Identify and discuss the relationships between the cryosphere, the atmosphere and oceanic systems in contemporary and palaeo-environments.

3. Undertake collection, analysis and interpretation of sediments of glacial origin with respect to the Last Glacial Maximum in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

4. Identify and describe palaeo-glacial landscapes and interpret former ice-sheet processes.

Brief description

In “The Great Ice Sheets” students will explore the fundamental theories of ice-sheet processes and their products in both contemporary and former environments, supported by cutting-edge, research-led case studies. This module focuses on major ice sheet processes, their products and their significance. The module is delivered through a variety of interactive lectures, computer and laboratory practicals, and a field course (1 day trip along the Welsh coast).


The module “The Great Ice Sheets” covers:
Timescales of major glaciations

Ancient glaciations and Snowball Earth

Dynamics of contemporary ice sheets

Attributes of former ice sheets

Glacial sedimentology

Ice-sheet reconstruction from landform evidence

Process reconstruction from glacial sediments

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will: Plan and carry out research, produce academically appropriate reports and scientific posters, and evaluate research methods and procedures.
Communication Show awareness of own learning styles, personal preferences and needs, and barriers to learning: Students are to contribute to in-class discussions, take part in group-work activities, and in formative peer assessment activities to maximize their own learning.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will use a range of commonly used software packages, prepare and input data, manage and manipulate GIS, and present information and data effectively.
Information Technology Students will: Identify factors which might influence potential solutions. Problem-solving skillsets developed during fieldwork activities, group work situations, and in laboratory and computer practicals.
Personal Development and Career planning 1. Academic Knowledge: Increase in geographical and geological knowledge and awareness of contemporary issues in glaciology and palaeoglaciology concerning ice-sheet scale processes. 2. Practical Skills: Developed during fieldwork activities and in laboratory and computer practicals.
Problem solving Tackle problems involving number: Students will undertake some numerical analysis during the laboratory exercises and fieldwork report.
Research skills Developed in all forms of assessment, and in-class learning. There are elements of academic and non-academic communication skills, including formal report writing and development of an interactive outreach display.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Students will develop awareness of personal skills, beliefs and qualities in relation to course/career progression, benefitting from a variety of assessments and in-class activities. A range of transferable skills will be developed vocationally during this module. Students’ CVs will be enhanced by taking part in a public outreach event.


This module is at CQFW Level 6