Module Identifier GG33020  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Peter W Abrahams  
Semester Semester 2  
Pre-Requisite GG10410  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment2 Hours examination50%
Semester Assessment 2500 word course essay50%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary examination50%
Supplementary Assessment Re-submission of failed coursework essay50%

Learning outcomes

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


The aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge of some of the environmental and applied issues that centre around soils, by concentrating primarily on how human beings have either deliberately or involuntarily altered the chemical status of this important resource.

Brief description

This module will study the impact of human societies on soil chemistry, and will consider the environmental consequences to plant and animal (including human) life. The module will include a historical approach to many of the issues covered, and will focus on many examples from the UK although, where appropriate, case studies elsewhere will also be provided.


Provisional list of lecture topics:

Lecture 1: Introduction; a history of soil:human interactions
Lecture 2: Archaeology and soil chemistry
Lecture 3: Soils and fertilizers
Lecture 4: Soils and pesticides
Lectures 5 & 6: Trace element geochemistry; geochemical mapping; trace element imbalances in agricultural systems
Lecture 7 & 8: Soils and human health
Lectures 9 & 10: Soil acidification and the impact of acid rain on soils

Reading Lists

Wild, A. (1993) Soils and the Environment: An introduction. Cambridge University Press
Ellis, S. & Mellor, A. (1995) Soils and Environment. Routledge
Selinus, O. (2004) Medical Geology. Academic Press

Abrahams, P.W. (2002) Soils: their implications to human health. The Science of the Total Environment, 291, 1-32.


This module is at CQFW Level 6