|Module Title||ENVIRONMENTAL GEOCHEMISTRY|
|Co-ordinator||Dr Ron Fuge|
|Course delivery||Lecture||22 Hours 11 x 2 hours|
|Assessment||Exam||2 Hours Written exam. Resit: same format.||100%|
Module Outline (Lecture Themes)
1. Definition of environmental geochemistry and the various subject areas. General geochemistry of the primary environment and its influence on the secondary environment. Usefulness of average element abundance data. General concepts and controls on element distribution in the secondary environment, concentrating on weathering processes. Element mobility in the secondary environment with reference to solubility controls, adsorption, Eh/pH regimes etc.
2. Environmental geochemical mapping and establishment of baselines. Considering the usefulness of stream sediments, overbank sediments, soils, waters and biological media. Comparisons of the various media used for geochemical mapping and the potential for
multi-media mapping and the World geochemical mapping project. The role of biological media in geochemical monitoring of the atmosphere and the estuarine and marine environments.
3. Utilisation of geochemical maps (mainly of UK but with examples from other countries) to outline "geochemical hotspots". Relation of these "hotspots" to natural process and anthropogenic activities. Role of agricultural and industrial processes in environmental contamination.
4. Urban geochemistry, particular problems of contamination in the urban environment.
5. Contamination of the terrestrial hydrosphere from current and previous mining and extraction processes. Problems of acid mine drainage.
6. Geochemistry and water quality of potable waters. Problems of surface versus ground water sources. Aluminium and water acidity. Nitrate and agriculture. Problems of metal pipes and fittings in water supply.
7. Radioactivity in the environment. Geology and geochemistry of radon and their relationship to the geographical distribution of high radon areas. Problems of anthropogenically derived radio-nuclides with general reference to the nuclear power industry.
8. Environmental geochemistry and animal and human health. The importance of trace elements in diet, both from standpoint of excesses and deficiencies. Examples of deficiencies in animals and humans e.g. iodine, fluorine, selinium, cobalt. Problems of excess versus deficiency as in case of fluorine, iodine, selenium etc. Harmful effects of such elements as lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, and the nitrate anion.
To introduce the concept of geochemistry of the total environment and outline some of the problems posed to the biosphere.
Module objectives / Learning outcomes
Students will acquire:-
A knowledge of geochemical mapping and monitoring and their applicability to environmental problems.
A general basic knowledge of element behaviour in the secondary environment and an understanding of some of the problems caused by anthropogenic activities.
A general ability to estimate the role of human intervention in the environment.
A knowledge of the role of environmental geochemistry on human and animal health.