Geography 4350/5350 Geomorphology SYLLABUS NOTES: Prerequisite You ARE
Geography 4350/5350 Geomorphology SYLLABUS NOTES: Prerequisite You ARE expected to have a basic background in physical geology or earth science. This material will not be repeated - this course builds on these earlier courses. labs - 10 scheduled throughout the semester. The lab work compliments and reinforces lecture material and provides hands-on experience. All labs are graded and are due the following class. Im a big fan of field work, so three labs are mini-field trips to locations in Denton. The other
labs are map or computer-based and will take place in EESAT 345 or a computer lab (TBD) (Note: you may use your own laptop for these labs if you wish). Additional Readings - journal articles will be assigned as additional readings over the semester. Questions from these articles will appear on exams. Grading - the exams are non-cumulative; written answers and diagrams. Project - describe geomorphology of county of your choice (details later). Field trip questions on Dallas Co. geomorphology, as described on
trip. Date = Saturday November 3. Bus provided (can drive own car), several stops in Dallas County to study geomorphology. Harry Williams, Geomorphology 1 Harry Williams, Geomorphology 2
INTRODUCTION What is Geomorphology? - one approach = understanding, explaining, describing LANDSCAPES. Death Valley, California - a desert landscape. Harry Williams, Geomorphology 3
Grand Canyon, Arizona - a different desert landscape Harry Williams, Geomorphology 4 Shiprock, New Mexico - another different desert landscape Harry Williams, Geomorphology
5 River valley, Kentucky - a fluvial landscape Harry Williams, Geomorphology 6 Landscapes are collections of landforms morphological features on the surface of the Earth e.g.
hills mountains cliffs ridges Harry Williams, Geomorphology
7 valleys canyons deltas beaches
Harry Williams, Geomorphology 8 These landforms are made of the solid or weathered rock (sediment) that makes up the earth's surface. Geomorphology includes the study of the evolution of landforms over time, as well as contemporary processes that are presently creating landforms. In theory, there is a GEOMORPHOLOGICAL explanation for every feature
on the surface of the Earth - for example, if an area is flat there should be a reason why it is flat; a steep cliff exists because of some reason - landforms do not occur randomly or by chance: the question is, what are the reasons landforms appear the way they do? Harry Williams, Geomorphology 9
Our approach is based on the following general principles: 1. Rocks at the surface of the earth are UNSTABLE - they all wear away eventually. Harry Williams, Geomorphology
10 2. Initial conditions at the surface are not equal - some parts of the surface are higher than others (e.g. mountains; what could cause these areas to be uplifted?). Harry Williams, Geomorphology 11
and different rock types occur in different areas. Austin chalk Woodbine sandstone Harry Williams, Geomorphology 12 3. To change the shape of the earth's surface requires energy where energy expenditure is high, erosion occurs and erosional
landforms are created; where energy expenditure is low, deposition occurs, creating depositional landforms. depositional erosional Harry Williams, Geomorphology 13
4. Most landscapes take a long time to develop - contemporary processes may not alone explain landforms; often the history of the landscape must also be studied. Drumlins (glacial deposits) in Clew Bay, Ireland. Glaciers were here 12,000 years ago, but not at present. Harry Williams, Geomorphology
14 The course is organized to reflect these principles: PART I. STRUCTURES - THE RESISTIVE FRAMEWORK Deals with the initial shape of the surface. This section of the course deals with initial conditions at the surface - the shape of the surface imparted by tectonic uplift...
Harry Williams, Geomorphology 15 And volcanic uplift... Harry Williams, Geomorphology 16
and diastrophism (crustal deformation)... Harry Williams, Geomorphology 17 PART II. MATERIALS - THE RESISTIVE ELEMENTS Rocks and sediments/soils - the ability to resist change depends on
strength. A. Granite B. Shale Harry Williams, Geomorphology 18 PART III. PROCESSES - AGENTS OF ENERGY EXPENDITURE
To change the shape of the surface depends on the movement of material - this requires energy; sources include: Gravity - energy due to height and the pull of gravity... Harry Williams, Geomorphology 19 Running water - energy due to the movement of water over the surface
and in river and stream channels... Harry Williams, Geomorphology 20 Waves - energy due to the movement of water in lakes and oceans... Harry Williams, Geomorphology
21 Ice - energy due to moving glaciers. Harry Williams, Geomorphology 22
PART IV. HISTORY Many landscapes retain landforms formed during the last Ice Age - the past must often be reconstructed to explain the present. Ice flow Harry Williams, Geomorphology 23
Applied Geomorphology: why is geomorphology important? Answer: we live on landscapes and we are affected by geomorphological processes. The last part of the course presents case studies of applied geomorphological research, topics may include coastal erosion, coastal sedimentation, expansive soils, hydrological impacts of urbanization, hurricane impacts. Harry Williams, Geomorphology 24
Downtown Houston flooded by Hurricane Harvey, Sunday August 27th, 2017. Harry Williams, Geomorphology 25
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