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SX3501: RESTLESS VULCAN (2017-2018)

Last modified: 25 May 2018 11:16

Course Overview

This is not a course on Roman mythology, but it is designed to dispel some of the scientific myths associated with volcanism, many of them generated by that hotbed of scientific rigour, the Hollywood movie industry.  With the aid of some common-or-garden substances (like golden syrup, custard, ball bearings and a lava lamp), and using information from Google Earth and NASA, the physical properties of lava flows will be investigated. Many eruptions are catastrophically explosive.  So, we need to know why some, but not all volcanoes cause explosions. It's actually all down to some straightforward physics. 

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Malcolm Hole

Qualification Prerequisites

  • One of Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4 or Programme Level 5

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Why does the Earth Melt ? Magma production on Earth today. Physical properties of magma. Lava flows.
Pyroclastic rocks and explosive eruptions.
Remote sensing of volcanoes. Case studies of volcanic hazard monitoring, mitigation and management.
Environmental impacts of volcanism.

Further Information & Notes

Available to students in Year 3 & 4 only.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 30 August 2024 for 1st half-session courses and 20 December 2024 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: In-course assessment (100%).

Resit: Resubmission of failed elements of assessment.

Formative Assessment

Marking will be completed online and feedback tables provided to each student.


In course assessments will be directed during workshops, uploaded to MyAberdeen and marked and returned before the next workshop. This turn-around time has already been used in level 3 geology courses and is practicable.

Course Learning Outcomes


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