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Scotland's Volcanoes

Course Times & Enrolment

Wednesdays from 28th September 2016 (Code SN086-102) Wednesdays from
28th September 2016 2:10pm - 4:00pm • (6 classes)
LG49, Paterson's Land, Holyrood Campus • Tutor: Angus D Miller BSc PhD
This course is now closed for enrolments

Course Summary

Volcanoes are a fascination for people, and past volcanic eruptions have had a significant role in shaping Scotland’s landscape, creating for example the rocks of Glencoe and Skye. By exploring modern eruptions around the world we can develop an understanding of the volcanic activity in Scotland’s geological past.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge required.

Content of Course

Session 1. Why do volcanoes erupt? An introduction to different types of volcanoes, volcanic rocks, the distribution of volcanoes around the world, and the theory of plate tectonics which explains the pattern of past and present volcano distributions.

 

Session 2. Volcanic activity associated with ocean closure and plate collision: the Caledonian orogeny in Scotland and related volcanic activity, including case studies of Glencoe and comparison with large-scale volcanic eruptions in western USA, Japan and New Zealand.

 

Session 3. Volcanoes of the Caledonian orogeny continued, further case studies including the Ochil and Pentland Hills, illustrated with reference to comparable eruptions in the Caribbean, New Zealand and Japan.

 

Session 4. Volcanic activity associated with crustal rifting. Overview of rift-related and basaltic volcanism in the world today, with examples from Iceland and New Zealand.

 

Session 5. The Midland Valley of Scotland – rift related volcanic activity during the Carboniferous Period, including case studies of diatremes in Fife and the Lothians.

 

Session 6. The Atlantic rift: crustal rifting and volcanic activity on the west coast of Scotland, creating the volcanic rocks of the Inner Hebrides.

Teaching method(s)

Six lecture sessions, with opportunities to look at rocks and maps, ask questions and take part in discussions.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • appreciate the role that volcanic eruptions have in shaping the landscape;
  • understand how volcanoes work, and be able to relate modern eruptions from around the world with past activity in Scotland;
  • identify the ways in which volcanic activity has contributed to Scotland's scenery and resources;

 

Transferable skills

Note taking, discussion, analysis of information from different sources, application of case studies to understanding events of the past.

Sources

Core Readings

Recommended:

Gillen, C (2013), Geology and landscapes of Scotland, Dunedin, 9781-780460-09-3.

Upton, B (2004), Volcanoes and the Making of Scotland, Dunedin (2nd edition), 9781-780460-56-7.

Web Sources

scottishgeology.com

 

“Landscape fashioned by geology” booklets - http://www.snh.gov.uk/publications-data-and-research/publications/

 

British Geological Survey “Geology of Britain” maps - http://mapapps.bgs.ac.uk/geologyofbritain/home.html

Class Handouts

Class handouts will be provided - key diagrams and summary notes.

Student support

If you feel you have specific requirements to enable you to study with us, please contact our Student Support Team by email StudentSupport.COL@ed.ac.uk or by phone 0131 650 4400 to arrange a confidential discussion. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010.