Reconstructing Quaternary Environments

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

College of Life and Environmental Sciences


Code 18193

Level of study Second Year

Credit value 20

Semester Across both

Module description

The fluctuation between glacial and inter-glacial conditions through the Quaternary shaped the landscape of northern Europe and has left a record of environmental change within it. Understanding environmental change during the Quaternary is therefore essential to an understanding of that landscape. This module explores how to interpret past environmental change and understand the processes responsible for it. The module is divided into two blocks that cover the 'inorganic' and 'organic' evidence of environmental change. The first semester will thus examine the sedimentary record with particular reference to the interpretation of glacial and fluvial deposits within the UK. In the second semester the emphasis will be upon palaeoecology, including botanical (e.g. pollen, plant macrofossil, tree-ring) and zoological (e.g. invertebrate) techniques. Human impact as a forcing mechanism in causing environmental change will also be examined.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and practicals; use of interactive electronic resources