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    Your introduction to planet Earth, inside and out. The origin of our universe, oceans, mountains, climate change, and mass extinctions: it’s all connected. Three field trips including a research cruise.

    This multidisciplinary paper commences with an overview of our place on planet Earth, the solar system, and deep space. It then covers a vast number of topics by way of the unifying theme of Earth 'spheres'; Atmosphere, Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Cryosphere, and Biosphere. Topics such as climate and atmospheric/oceanic circulation, geophysics, plate tectonics and associated hazards, weathering and erosion/deposition, glaciers and ice sheets, and the impact of humans on the planet are covered. Students will finish the course with a holistic understanding of planet Earth, and a good feel for topics worth pursuing at more advanced levels.

    About this paper

    Paper title Earth and Ocean Science
    Subject Earth and Ocean Science
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Schedule C
    EAOS111 is required for students taking Geology as a major or minor subject, and is recommended for students wishing to enter Marine Science studies at a later stage.

    Teaching staff

    Co-ordinator: Professor Andrew Gorman

    Paper Structure

    Lectures cover the following themes:

    • Our place in space: humanity on earth, earth in the universe
    • The geosphere: our dynamic earth
    • Earth's surface: where the geosphere meets the hydrosphere
    • The hydrosphere and the atmosphere: a tightly coupled system
    • The cryosphere: Ice distribution, dynamics, and trends

    View the latest course schedule here

    Teaching Arrangements

    4 lectures and one 3-hour laboratory per week.
    Fieldwork: Two 1-day field trips (there is a choice of Saturday or Sunday) to North Otago and Taieri Plains.

    The Blue Planet: An Introduction to Earth System Science 3rd Edition by Brian J Skinner & Barbara W Murck (2011), J Wiley & Sons Inc.
    Course outline

    View the latest course syllabus here (previous syllabus indicative of content next time the paper is taught).

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will:

    • Understand and describe the processes that shape Earth's surface, interior and oceans
    • Draw connections between the various components of the Earth system
    • Understand the concept of geologic time
    • Understand the controls on the distribution of Earth materials and make predictions based on this understanding
    • Apply concepts introduced in lectures and laboratories to field settings


    Semester 1

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    A1 Saturday 08:00-17:20 10
    A2 Saturday 08:45-18:05 10
    A3 Saturday 09:30-18:50 10
    A4 Sunday 08:45-18:05 10
    A5 Sunday 09:30-18:50 10
    AND one stream from
    B1 Saturday 08:00-15:35 15
    B2 Saturday 08:30-16:05 15
    B3 Saturday 09:00-16:35 15
    B4 Sunday 08:30-16:05 15
    B5 Sunday 09:00-16:35 15


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    L1 Monday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22
    Tuesday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-22
    Thursday 12:00-12:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22


    Stream Days Times Weeks
    Attend one stream from
    P1 Monday 14:00-16:50 9-13, 15-22
    P2 Tuesday 09:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22
    P3 Tuesday 14:00-16:50 9-13, 15-22
    P4 Wednesday 14:00-16:50 9-13, 15-22
    P5 Thursday 09:00-11:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
    P6 Thursday 14:00-16:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
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