Earth Systems and the Economy

Subject 625-114 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Lectures, tutorials and seminars.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Three 1-hour lectures per week; one 1-hour tutorial per week for 9 weeks; one 1-hour seminar per week for 3 weeks. Total 48 hours.
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours total time commitment.
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: Students cannot gain credit for this subject and The Global Environment.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Stephen John Gallagher
Subject Overview:

Through a detailed lecture program, this subject will review the dynamic processes that have shaped our Earth. Students should gain an understanding of our planet’s past history and will explore the many and complex interplays between our economy and the natural world. Major themes will include:

  • economics, the environment and climate variability;
  • society’s dependence on Earth resources, including water, soil, metals and petroleum; and
  • the impact of Earth hazards, such as earthquake and volcanic activity.

Through a series of lecture, seminar and tutorial components we will explore these themes from scientific and economic perspectives, taking lessons from history to help inform our future on dynamic Earth. The course is aimed at students with no previous knowledge in the earth sciences or economics.


Society is built on a dynamic planet and within a landscape continually shaped by Earth and atmospheric processes. These processes present some hazards to society, such as earthquakes and severe weather, but are also responsible for the natural resources on which our economic and social futures depend.

This subject will explore the past, present and future linking dynamic earth processes with contemporary economic issues and dilemmas.


Two 1000 word essay assignments submitted during the semester (50%); a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (50%). A reading topic will be assessed in the examination.

Prescribed Texts:

Hamblin and Christiansen, Earth's Dynamic Systems. 11th edition, Prentice Hall.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

This descriptive subject should give students an ability to make informed comment about the topics covered. A number of these are currently under public debate, such as the balance between the health of our environment and our dependence on finite natural resources.

The subject should build a student's ability to present technical topics in written form, a skill that is useful in later work. Students will also participate in some simple collaborative projects (tutorials & seminars) that should enable the development of skills to question, debate and understand controversial subjects in Earth Sciences and Economics. Other generic skills acquired in this subject include learning how to observe and describe earth science subjects in the laboratory and in the field, and learning more about how to think about materials produced in complex processes.

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