Hot Topics

Module code: GL4100

Geology is a dynamic discipline, with a constant stream of fresh ideas, pivotal new data, and controversial interpretations. In this module, you'll explore various 'hot topics' from across the breadth of the subject, ranging from academic disputes with wide-reaching implications to pressing questions of public policy on geological hazards and resources.

This module provides an opportunity for you to develop your critical thinking, presentation, and debating skills – all of which will be valued highly by future employers. Throughout, the emphasis is on communicating detailed scientific knowledge in its broader context to a wide audience.

The topics covered vary from year to year. You will select from a list and be assigned to discuss your preferred topics wherever possible. Recent topics have included:

  • Do hydrocarbons have a future as an energy source?
  • Can we store nuclear waste safely?
  • Has there ever been life on Mars?
  • Can we predict earthquakes?
  • Has oxygen been a major influence on the history of life?
  • Are we experiencing a sixth mass extinction?

Learning

  • 1 hour of lectures
  • 8 hours of seminars
  • 8 hours of demonstration
  • 133 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Assessed discussions (50%)
  • Leader's presentation (30%)
  • Leader's written report (20%)