Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Clean water and sanitation Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities Climate Action

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

The course provides students with the basic concepts for the knowledge of geological bodies, highlights the dynamics of dispersion of contaminants in soils and the contamination of aquifers according to their vulnerability, highlights the techniques of defense against pollution and their reclamation. Students are able to define the characteristics and the environmental and territorial risks related to the exploitation of geological resources and deposits for CO2 storage, to define strategies for the use and recovery of degraded and polluted sites and the conservation of environmental assets.

Course contents

This course focuses on the fundamentals of geology (rock and deposit types, geomorphological processes, groundwater etc.). We will explore natural processes and anthropogenic effects on those processes in the context of natural hazards, natural resources and sustainability.

The course is divided into units:

Unit 1: Basic Concepts in Environmental Geology (Internal Structure of the Earth, Minerals, Rocks, Soils)

Unit 2: Introduction to Natural Hazards (Earthquakes and Related Phenomena, Volcanic Activity, Rivers and Flooding, Slope Processes and Subsidence, Coastal Processes)

Unit 3: Water and Mineral Resources and Pollution

Unit 4: Discussion of case studies

In-Class Activities: listening to lectures, taking notes during lectures, participating in activities, exams. Out-of-Class Activities: reading textbook, completing in-class activities, one field trip (Details to be announced by the end of February).


Understanding Earth: Seventh Edition. John Grotzinger, Thomas H. Jordan, 2017

Environmental Geology, 2nd Edition. Reichard, J., 2013

Teaching methods

The student should have a basic knowledge of Earth sciences. The aim of the course is to increase the awareness and understanding of a broad spectrum of human interactions with the geological environment.
Lessons, exercises and field trips will be part of the course. In particular, two field trips will be organized, for example:

- an example of an on-going geognostic campaign;
- an example of a site remediation/landfill.

The students will be required to prepare an oral and written presentation of a specific subject chosen by the student and approved by the teacher.

Assessment methods

Assessment is varied, aimed also at developing skills relevant to a range of working environments (poster and oral presentations, project reports, essays). The evaluation will be based on performance in the assignments and a final examination. Grades will be based on the following percent distribution: Assignments 60%. Final exam: 30%. Participation during in-class activities: 10%

The final exam consists of a review of the homework and a technical conversation on the course contents.
Higher grades will be awarded to students who demonstrate the organic understanding of the subject, the ability in critical applications, and a clear and concise presentation of the contents of their homework.
To obtain a passing grade, students are required to at least demonstrate a knowledge of the key concepts of the subject, some ability for a critical application, and a comprehensible use of technical language.
A failing grade will be awarded if the student shows knowledge gaps in key-concepts of the subject, inappropriate use of language, and/or logic failures in the analysis of the subject.

Teaching tools

Videos and other contents from the web will complement the teaching material. Some practical activities will be carried out on thematic maps and with specific software. The notes will be provided during the course.

Office hours

See the website of Lisa Borgatti