Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Physical Analysis of Natural Materials
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Laboratory Report  Laboratory report (to include stratigraphic log and laboratory analyses). 2000 Words  100%
Supplementary Assessment Laboratory Report  Laboratory report (to include stratigraphic log and laboratory analyses. 2000 Words  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Describe and log sedimentary sequences in the field.

2. Undertake coarse and fine fraction sediment size analysis.

3. Use field observations and data generated in the laboratory to interpret the likely environment of deposition of different sediment samples.

Brief description

The analysis of sediments forms a core component of studies in geomorphology, palaeoclimatology and geochemistry. Such analysis can provide detailed information about the processes and environments of the past and present, and can help us to assess the impacts of future climate changes on landforms and landscapes. This module provides students with first-hand field and laboratory skills in sediment analysis, and also will contribute to preparing them to undertake their own independent dissertation project in Year 3.


The module is based around the physical analysis of natural materials, and is delivered primarily via field and laboratory practicals that address the following topics: basic principles of physical sediment analysis, field description of sediments, coarse and fine fraction analysis, environmental discrimination.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Through formative exercises related to the calculation of statistics to describe sediments and through preparations for final written report
Communication Through the final written laboratory report where self-generated data will be presented in an appropriate way
Improving own Learning and Performance Through independent reading and self-critique of own and class datasets
Information Technology The internet will be used to undertake independent reading and help prepare assessments. Technological instruments and techniques will be used during the fieldwork and practicals. Standard software (e.g. Word, Excel) will be used to prepare assessments
Personal Development and Career planning The skills developed through this module can provide the foundation for higher-level studies and also are transferable to many applied, non-academic contexts. Students will be made aware of the relevance for further study and employability throughout the module
Problem solving Problem solving is involved in analysing and interpreting the likely environment of deposition using available field and laboratory data. The module will include examples where independent application of theoretical knowledge is used to solve an applied problem related to a particular field site
Research skills Library resources and the internet will be used to obtain sources of information (e.g. academic papers) relevant for completing assessments
Subject Specific Skills The acquisition (field and laboratory), analysis and presentation of data related to the physical analysis of sediments
Team work Team work and group discussion will be embedded in some lectures, fieldwork sessions and practical sessions


This module is at CQFW Level 5