Introduction to Oceanography

Discipline: Environmental Science
Instructor: Griggs
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1050
End: 1205
Field Work: Day 1 - Cape Town - Friday, 28 March | South Africa
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

Early ocean exploration and the development of the science of oceanography; tools and technology for ocean exploration; the origin and evolution of the Earth and its oceans; continental drift, seafloor spreading and plate tectonics; geomorphology of the seafloor from the continental shelf to the deep sea, including the distribution and origin of the features such as submarine canyons, ocean ridges and rises, trenches and fracture zones; paleoceanography and the origin, distribution, and historical record of seafloor sediments; climate change and its driving forces; marine mineral and energy resources including the origin and distribution of petroleum and impacts of extraction, transportation, and utilization; salinity and ocean chemistry; the circulation of the oceans; tides and waves; climate change and sea level fluctuations; beaches, shorelines, coastal processes and hazards; pollution and other human impacts on the oceans.

Field Work

Country: South Africa
Day: 1 - Cape Town - Friday, 28 March

We will start from Signal Hill for an overview from Dr. John Compton, associate professor of geological sciences at the University of Cape Town. Next, we’ll proceed to Sea Point, a site made famous by Charles Darwin’s 1836 visit and its role in the early history of geology, to examine a mix of sedimentary rocks and granite exposed along the coast. We will then drive south to Hout Bay and drive along the spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive to view granite and sandstone cliffs. We will go all the way to the southwestern most tip of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope and to the Cape Point lighthouse. Coming back along the False Bay coast we will stop to observe a penguin colony at Boulder Beach. Academic Objectives:

  1. Observe and record (in writing and photographs) the diversity of both the natural coastal landforms (granitic headlands, long sandy beaches, dunes and estuaries, offshore islands) around the Western Cape.
  2. Document and describe the factors and coastal processes that have shaped this section of the Cape Town coastline.
  3. Relate the fossil record to the last 5 million years of sea level and environmental change.