River Basin Processes

Course code GEOS2050Units 10Level 2000Faculty of Science and Information TechnologySchool of Environmental and Life Sciences

Water is the most important agent in shaping the landscape. It is responsible for weathering, soil formation, the erosion of sediment from hillslopes, gullies and river banks, and the transport and deposition of sediment in channels, on floodplains and in estuaries. Water also acts beneath the surface, replenishing groundwater systems and triggering environmental problems like soil salinity. This course provides students with a comprehensive introduction to the movement of water through river basins, and the role water plays in the development of soils and the flux of sediments through the landscape. Through a series of lectures, laboratories and field work, students will learn how to quantify the movement of water through various components of the hydrological cycle, and the major factors controlling the way in which water moulds the river basin landscape.

In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory Workplace Health and Safety requirement. Students will receive full information on this compulsory component in the course outline provided by the school.

Available in 2015

Callaghan CampusSemester 1
Previously offered in 2014
ObjectivesAt the successful completion of this course, students will have:

1. An understanding of the movement of water through the river basin, from the point of rainfall to discharge at the coast;
2. An understanding of how soils form and evolve, and the principles and procedures for soil classification;
3. An understanding of the processes that shape the major components of the river basin, including hillslopes, river channels and floodplains, aquifers and estuaries;
4. An understanding of sediment yields and the delivery of sediments from upland environments to estuaries.
5. Skills in the identification and measurement of hydrological and geomorphological processes through the use of field and laboratory instrumentation, and computer software;
6. Experience in mapping and aerial photograph interpretation;
7. Enhanced field observation and report-writing skills.
ContentThe major themes covered in the course are:
- Rainfall and evaporation
- Soil formation, soil hydrology and soil classification
- Hillslope hydrology and soil erosion
- Open channel hydrology and flood hydrology
- Erosion, transport and deposition processes in streams
- Groundwater flow, quality and salinity
- Karst processes and landforms
- Estuarine and floodplain processes, morphology, hydrodynamics and sedimentation.
Replacing Course(s)This course combines two existing 4-hours-per-week courses (GEOS2040 and EMGT2010) into a single 6-hours-per-week course. The two existing courses contained ~25% content overlap. This amalgamation has been discussed widely, and agreed to, by the relevant staff in the Bachelor of Environmental Science program and by the Head of School. The change will have no impact on other Faculty/School offerings.
TransitionThe course will not be available to students who have already completed one or both of GEOS2040 and EMGT2010. Affected students will be able to choose a relevant, alternative course within the school.
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeGEOS1050 Earth Processes and Products
Modes of DeliveryInternal Mode
Teaching MethodsCase Study
Field Study
Assessment Items
Examination: Formal
Laboratory Exercisesincluding reports
ReportsField reports
Contact HoursLaboratory: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Field Study: for 24 hour(s) per Term for Full Term
Lecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Compulsory Components
Compulsory Course ComponentWHS-Safety Induction or Risk Assessment. Compulsory Course Component: In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory fieldwork induction.
Timetables2015 Course Timetables for GEOS2050