ENVU9GL: Glaciers and Landscapes

CO-ORDINATOR: Dr Bob McCulloch
CONTRIBUTORS: Dr Eileen Tisdall, Dr Tom Bradwell

Course Aims and Objectives

The overall aim of the course is to provide a long-term perspective (i.e. the Quaternary, last 2.6 million years) on climatic and environmental change. By understanding the nature, extent and timing of past changes we may be able to understand the mechanisms and potential scenarios of future environmental change.

Perito Moreno glaciers, South Patagonian IcefieldSuccessful completion of the course should provide an understanding of:

  • The inter-relationships between mountain building, climate, ocean circulation and ice sheet growth and decay
  • The principles of glaciology and glacier dynamics
  • The nature of the last ice age and its legacy of erosion and deposition on the landscape
  • Selected field and laboratory techniques (glacial geomorphology, sediments, stratigraphy and chronology) used to reconstruct past glacial fluctuations
  • How the record of glacier and ice sheet fluctuations can improve our understanding of climate change

Intended Learning outcomes

By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an awareness of environmental systems operating on different time-scales
  • evaluate evidence for the reconstruction of past environments
  • critically analyse scientific arguments concerning models of earth-atmosphere system change
  • analyse and interpret field and laboratory recorded stratigraphical and temporal data
  • manipulate and interpret diagrammatic and mapped data
  • produce concise and structured essay and report writing
  • Answer unseen questions on the module content in a time-limited context


Tuesdays 12:00 - 13:00
Fridays 14:00 - 15:00

Field Class

3 Day residential field class investigating the glacial landforms of Glen Spean and Glen Roy.

We stay at the Craigower Lodge, Newtonmore and accommodation are in shared rooms.  See http://www.activeoutdoorpursuits.com/cairngorm-adventure-centre.html for further details.  Bed & breakfast is provided at Craigower Lodge and staff and students have to buy their own lunches (stops at nearby shops are provided) and evening meals in the town of Newtonmore.

As this is an Option module a student contribution of £50 (2015) for the accommodation and travel is required. A non-refundable deposit of £25 is due in May.  The final payment of £25 is due in September.


Bell, M. and Walker, M.J.C.(1992) Late quaternary environmental change : physical and human perspectives. Harlow, Essex, Longman Scientific & Technical. (2 copies and e-print version available on-line)

Recommended Course textbook: Benn, D.I. & Evans D.J.A. Glaciers and Glaciation. London: Hodder Education; 2010.

Lowe, J. J. and Walker, M.J.C. (1997) Reconstructing quaternary environments. 3rd ed. Essex, Longman. (8 copies)


Field Report 2,000 words 25%

Essay 2,500 words 25%

Examination 50% (2 qs. over 2 hrs)

ENVU9GL Group photo taken at Glen Roy, 2013.
ENVU9GL - Glen Roy, 2013

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
Portal Logon