The main objectives of GEOS3220 are:
To provide a comprehensive foundation in coastal processes which control the configuration and stability of the Australian, South-East Asian, and Pacific and Indian Ocean island coasts.
To identify the modes of coastal evolution and climate variability, on decadal to millennial timescales, as a basis for interpreting modern trends and events in coastal configuration changes, and the design of coastal protection strategies.
To develop students’ research skills, methods of collection of field, laboratory, aerial and satellite data, training in the interpretation of coastal morphology and sedimentological sequences, and the communication of field and analytical studies.
GEOS3220 defines the major physical and chemical processes which control the configuration and stability of the modern coastal zone and its antecedent features. The coastal zone is classified into morphodynamic components of beach-dune-barrier, estuarine, delta, continental shelf, coral reef, and mid-oceanic island environments. The relative contribution of individual processes and combinations of processes in the development of these morphodynamic components is evaluated. Methods and techniques used in the field measurement and numerical modelling of coastal processes are outlined. Geomorphological and sedimentological techniques used to interpret coastal evolutionary sequences and the distinction between modern and relict coastal systems are outlined.
An understanding of longer time frame geological, geophysical, climatological, oceanographic and human processes which have affected the evolution of the modern coastal zone is provided. Processes such as plate tectonics, island tectonics, sea-level fluctuations, sediment supply, climate change, and human activity are investigated with respect to their influence on the evolution of the sandy coasts of eastern Australia and South America, the muddy coasts of northern Australia and South East Asia, the carbonate coasts and reef platforms of northern and southern Australia, and the mid-oceanic Pacific and Indian Ocean Islands, and the Antarctic coastal margin.
Coastal protection strategies are investigated in case studies on long-term coastal behaviour in eastern Australia and the Pacific Islands.