That's what it says on my OU student home page - and they're right! I finished block 1 some time ago. I didn't do the assignment, at that time, because block 1 flummoxed me. They presume you have done S267 (nope) and block 1 is an all too hazy revision of that course. So I am quite lost! I'm now about halfway through block 2, which is altogether more to my taste - although I still don't understand half of it! Anyway, I MUST sit down and do this first assignment SOON! It doesn't matter too much how well I do (just as well), but I have some pride and don't want to give my tutor the impression that I am totally geo-ignorant! Besides, I need to do it as prep for the MSc - now scheduled for an Autumn 2009 start.
Here is a brief 'working outline' of the content of the 60-point component course (180 points total required):
S808 Earth Science: a systems approach
1. Introduction to Earth System Science: an overview of how a systems approach to Earth Science offers greater potential to investigate, interpret and understand interactions between different Earth systems from the core to the top of the atmosphere; this section will provide an introduction to each of the main topics below (3-4 wks)
2. Mantle plumes and sudden climate change: covers topics such as - climate change; oceanography; mantle plumes; large igneous provinces; sedimentation rates/processes; metamorphism by sill emplacement; tectonic and geochemical insight into deep/mantle processes; geochronology and effects of plumes on sedimentation; relationships between mantle plumes and global climate change (4-5 wks)
3. Mountain building and climate change: focusing on two main areas i) Ordovician-Devonian Earth and Cenozoic Earth - tectonic processes; impacts on global climate; evolutionary changes; weathering rates and influences; geochemical and isotopic tracers and ii) the interplay between tectonics and the hydrological cycle and how water interacts with the crust, thereby facilitating the formation of metal and hydrocarbon deposits (4-5 wks)
4. Antarctica and ocean circulation: environmental sensitivity, conservation and preservation of ‘wildernesses’; impacts on global climate; inter-relations between the oceans and global climate; transfer of nutrients within the oceans; carbon sequestration; plate tectonics and circulatory systems (i.e. the focus will be scientific rather than environmental studies issues) (4-5 wks)
5. Living with the modern Earth system: summary section reviewing the key concepts and issues covered in each study topic from the perspective of a broader stocktickerESS framework. This section will also investigate recent developments in a systems approach to Earth Science and where future research interests may focus and/or lead. (2-3 wks)
ECA – mini project/essay, 4-6 weeks study time"
All of which will lean more heavily on the 'hard' rocks side than I might have hoped - and, therefore, at least a basic command of S339 is kind of essential!
And I've only gone and pre-registered for the new Ecosystems course, which starts in November ...
Apart from not studying much, I seem to be busy doing nothing at all! I *think* that the holiday planning is now more-or-less completed. A couple changes have been made - not least that we are now going to fly from NYC to Chicago (JetBlue?!)
The scrapbooking continues, with no regard for bank balance. I decided to do a new blog for that and it's on here - not very exciting.
The daffodils are in full bloom, but are, as always seems to happen, being bent and broken by lashing rain and high winds. *sigh* Soon be spring.