GLY 4700 – Geomorphology

Time and Location

Taught online during Fall semesters of odd years.

Description and Goals

This course focuses on the origin/evolution of landforms and the physical processes responsible for their creation and modification.  Each topic will relate to the following recurring themes that we use as guiding principles for the course: laws of conservation, transport rules, and event magnitude/frequency.  The course is structured to begin with the “big picture” view of geomorphology (whole-earth shape and the large-scale details of the continents and ocean basins), then move on to the tectonic construction of landscapes, thermally-driven processes including glacial/periglacial systems, transport of material through fluvial and hillslope systems, sediment entrainment and deposition, and landscapes at the coastal/marine interface.

Course Objectives:  It is the goal of this course that, by the end, students will:

  • understand the relationship between numerous Earth’s surface landforms and the processes responsible for creating and shaping them.
  • develop “back of the envelope” calculation skills to estimate geomorphic rates, landform size / shape, and timing, by employing the laws of conservation (mass, momentum, etc.).
  • gain an appreciation for the frequency-magnitude distributions of geomorphic events throughout Earth history and how those distributions influence the landscape we see.
  • be able to predict where on Earth particular geomorphic processes should be operating.