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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Geography

GEOG3807: LANDSLIDES

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham

Prerequisites

  • Scientific Research (GEOG2462) and Mountain Landscapes (GEOG2611)

Corequisites

  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None

Aims

  • To provide students with a conceptual understanding of the nature of slope instability on a global and local scale; the physics of processes governing the triggering, movement and deposition of landslides; innovative methods used to monitor these processes; and the techniques used to mitigate, manage and predict slope failures. The course will reflect throughout on the significance of landslides to both societies and landscapes.

Content

  • Part 1: Landslide mechanisms
  • Global impacts, patterns and research
  • Landslide mechanisms – rock
  • Landslide mechanisms – soil
  • Earthquakes and landslides
  • Part 2: Landslides and society
  • Landslide hazard and risk
  • Can we predict when a landslide will fail?
  • Part 3: Landslide management and mitigation in practice
  • Fieldtrip landslide monitoring, management and mitigation
  • Laboratory investigation: Stress, strain and rheology of Earth materials
  • Laboratory investigation: 3D monitoring of slopes

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On successful completion of the module students are expected to be able to:
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of knowledge and understanding of: (1) the nature of mechanisms which control landslide movement, (2) the significance of landslides in shaping landscapes and in generating risk, and (3) methods for landslide monitoring, management and mitigation
  • Understand the key characteristics of landslides processes and mechanisms
  • Appreciate the importance of landslides in landscape evolution
  • Recognize current issues and recent developments for landslide management in different country settings
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students are expected to be able to:
  • Appreciate the range of approaches and challenges in current landslide research
  • Critically assess scientific approaches to the management of landslides
Key Skills:
  • On successful completion of the module students are expected to be able to:
  • Demonstrate the ability to understand a range of current literature by reading and making links between lecture-based knowledge and wider published material
  • Synthesize results from investigation techniques to aid the understanding of landslide processes

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The 3 lecture blocks aim to provide students with an outline of key concepts in the subject area, to introduce and contextualize the literature that they will explore in detail, and to situate this knowledge within relevant examples and case studies
  • The virtual fieldtrip will provide insight into landslide investigation in the field, in addition to enabling appraisal of landslide management and mitigation practices
  • The two laboratory sessions will provide examples of current approaches to geotechnical testing and numerical modeling of landslides
  • The formative assessment involves concise and accurate description of landslide data, which is also a key part of the summative work, and the students' key findings and observations from the virtual fieldtrip. This formative assessment exercise provides students with an opportunity to practice, develop and obtain feedback on these skills. In addition, the presentations allow students the chance to develop oral presentation skills
  • Both summative assessment exercises will test how well students can apply key concepts in landslide science to real-world situations, as well demonstrating their competence in using laboratory and field skills to quantify landslide stability and failure patterns through time. In addition, students will gain experience in critical evaluation of results and how they can be placed in context using the wider literature

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 6 c. weekly 1.5 hours 9
Group presentations 1 2 hours 2
Laboratory Practicals 2 3 hours 6
Lectures (asynch) laboratory/computer practical primers 2 1 hour 2
Self-led virtual fieldtrip; student reading / preparation time 81
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Laboratory problem set (1) Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Laboratory problem set (1) Max 4 pages A4 100%
Component: Laboratory problem set (2) Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Laboratory problem set (2) Max 4 pages A4 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment is provided through student group presentation in lectures, followed by peer discussion and written feedback.


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University



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