Dynamic Earth

Geology means rocks... right? Well that’s not all if you study ‘Our Dynamic Earth’ at JMSS. The study of Geology is like studying a forensic science; we use evidence from the past - using the rock and fossil record - to understand what Earth was like, implications for the present and make predictions about the future. From the Big Bang, to meteorites, to dinosaurs, to mass extinctions, Geoscience can be experienced from a completely new perspective.

The majority of the learning is done in a practical environment, during the two, week-long field trips that are lead by Monash University School of Geoscience and JMSS, with experts in the field such as PhD students and university leaders lending their expertise. Due to the practical focus of the course, it is limited to only 20 students. The classroom is the wilds of Victoria and South Australia.

Field trip one involves spending time at Wilson's Promontory, observing world class structural formations and a trip to Museum Victoria’s dinosaur dig site, where for the last two years the group has been instructed by a world renowned palaeontologist.

The second field trip involves travelling back in time to the forest of Gondwana, understanding the spectacular formations along the Great Ocean Road, standing on the top of volcanic craters to understand Victoria’s volcanic past and possible future, exploring the depths of the World Heritage listed Naracoorte limestone caves for mega-fauna fossils and stunning limestone formations.

The course offers extraordinary opportunities such as attending university lectures, and going to the Palaeontology laboratory in the Melbourne Museum. It is a truly multi-disciplinary science with aspects of physics, chemistry, biology, geology and environmental science. Learning is through observation, discussion, hypothesis, examination of the evidence, listening and questioning. This course is dynamic in every sense of the word!

This elective will also require students to become familiar with a range of technologies such as GIS, GPS and 3D visualisations to investigate topics. Geologists from the School of Geoscience will provide guest lectures on a range of topics, including dinosaurs, climate change, fossil identification and mineralogy. The laboratory exercises and field trips will enhance student skills in scientific enquiry and method, teamwork, data gathering and analysis, report writing and problem solving.

This video shows some activities during the course in 2011.