Wednesday, 18 April 2007

S103: Block 10 - Earth and life through time, TMA-8

Block 10 - nearly at the end now. Its back to rocks and fossils this time.
There is a fair bit of detail in this block, covering how rocks are laid down, how they can change over time and so on. This is also where you get to look at the fossils that came with the experimental kit several months ago.

There are sections on fossilisation and the early history of life, a chapter all about crystalline minerals and how to recognise them. Then some words about igneous rocks and how they can occur in different formats and structures. Then consideration of sedimentary rocks and the important distinctions that show their history (a good DVD program about this). Then finally metamorphic rocks, and what they're all about.

Then some words on geologic time, and some details of the UKs geology. There are some DVD exercises to do, most of which I get wrong!

However - I elected to do this TMA, so its time to get started.
The first question you have to fill in a table of descriptions that is partially filled in. There is an igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary example. This question is a bit confused by them printing some of the captions wrong. Also I assumed they wanted similar amounts of detail to their sample text, but it turned out they wanted a fair bit more. You also had to draw a sample of how a particular layering would look, and describe the consequent history of the region

The second question is about describing how felsic rocks can be made by fractional crystallisation from more mafic rocks. Apparently they wanted a number of examples for this question, which I didn't include!
The second half got you to explain how uranium/lead dating is done.

The third question is an essay og 800 words on "How interactions between the Earth systems affect the climate". That isn't too bad, although it IS an essay, and I did reasonably well on it.

However from all the points drop in the first questions, and the fact that its difficult to get close to full marks on any essay, its my worst TMA of the whole course. Oh well, thats it for me and TMAs - I only have the End of Course Assessment (ECA) to do now.

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