NNMK17007U CANCELLED Quaternary and Glacial Geology

Volume 2017/2018

MSc Programme in Geology-Geoscience


The landforms and sediments in the Danish landscape are of fundamental importance for the society as a raw material, foundation for buildings and infrastructure, and as a groundwater resource. Most of the sediments were formed during the last ice ages by glaciers, melt water streams, sea level changes and periglacial processes in the deglaciated landscape. This is all caused by global environmental changes. The course aims to give the students an understanding of the genesis of the landscape and its internal architecture in relation to the Late Quaternary environmental changes. Processes, sediments and landforms in modern glacial environments will be studied as an analogue to the Pleistocene deposits. Sedimentological, geomorphological, biological, and structural geological methods will be demonstrated in the field at selected Danish localities. We will also study the Quaternary geological history from the stratigraphy in open sections and wells, as well as from geophysical data of buried valleys and glaciotectonic complexes. Analyses of digital elevation models, sediment core databases, and geological sections will be used to propose conceptual depositional models for selected areas. Initially, the course will focus on specific themes related to glacial landforms, sediments, and stratigraphy. Subsequently, we will focus on complex, glacially overprinted landscapes with examples from selected sites in Denmark. Finally, groups of students will write a report about spatial analysis of glacial landforms, sediments and stratigraphy including a proposal of a morphological-geological model for a selected study area in past or modern glacial environments. During the course, students will work with Quaternary geological data in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Other modern methods and data types will also be applied, e.g., structure-for-motion analyses of photographs of geological sections, elevation models from LiDAR, and geophysical surveys.

Learning Outcome


The students have well founded and professional knowledge of the Quaternary and glacial geology of Denmark and have reached an understanding of the spatial structure of glacial landscapes. They have knowledge about methods used in analysis of Quaternary landscapes and sediments and are able to establish spatial geological and depositional models.



The course gives the students theoretical knowledge of analyses of Quaternary landscapes and the processes and materials that formed them. They will be able to describe and interpret Quaternary sediments and landforms in the field and in the lab and to interpret depositional conditions and subsequent erosion and modification. Students will be able to understand how modern glacial environments can be used as analogs for Denmark in the Pleistocene. During the exercises, the students will be introduced to morphological-geological models for selected areas in Denmark. Furthermore, the students will be able to communicate knowledge about Quaternary geological key localities, Danish landscapes and the geological history.



The course aims to give the students on the master’s level an understanding of the interplay between landscape development, climate change, the instability of ice sheets, and environmental changes as seen in glacial and interglacial sedimentary sequences and landforms. Following the course, they are able to manage Quaternary geological data in GIS on a user level and to read and understand scientific papers at a high level. The students are able to analyse and understand complex structural and sedimentological datasets. Additionally, they are able to communicate orally and written at a high scientific level.


10 lectures or exercises per week and 2-3 days of excursions. 1 written assignment. The last week is reserved to exam preparation and supervision. A core of teachers from the National History Museum of Denmark will deliver most of the teaching, supported by guest lecturers that cover related topics.The course also includes hands-on exercises with Quaternary geological core samples at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS).
A fee of 100 kr. per excursion/field day must be expected and must be payed before each excursion/field day.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 0
  • Excursions
  • 24
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 112
  • Theory exercises
  • 42
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
The oral examination is 20 minutes per student. The student draws en exam question and has 20 minutes preparation time before being examined.
Exam registration requirements

It is a requirement for exam registration that the written assignment has been approved. Further details will be given at the first course day.

Written aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Several internal examiners.


An approved assignment from a previous exam attempt allows participation in the re-exam, otherwise a new assignment must be completed.

The type of re-exam is the same as ordinary exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning Outcome.