Prof Jon French and Dr Helene Burningham
Unit value: 0.5 units Year 2 Term 1
Course Website: Accessible via UCL Moodle ( )
Brief Course Description
A lecture and practical-based course designed to provide an introduction to the key concepts and applications of geomorphology, with particular reference to the understanding of fluvial and coastal systems.
The course builds upon the basic understanding of environmental systems and environmental change achieved by first year students, and facilitates a deeper appreciation of the conceptual and technical issues involved in understanding landform dynamics at various scales.
The course covers:
• Key concepts related to the analysis of landform morphology and the understanding of temporal and spatial scales of landform change.
• Processes of sediment entrainment, transport and deposition, illustrated in the context of hillslope, aeolian, fluvial and coastal landforms.
• The concept of morphodynamics.
• Linking fine-scale sedimentary processes to larger-scale landform evolution, illustrated with reference to tidal environments.
• Extraterrestrial geomorphology and the search for ‘fluvial’ and ‘coastal’ features in Martian landscapes.
Method of Delivery
The course is delivered through a series of nine, 2 x 50 minute lectures. Supporting web pages provide access to lecture schedules, key research articles, annotated reading lists, and links to sites of interest. A computer-based landscape analysis practical is used to illustrate key concepts in morphometry, landform change and the application of GIS as a tool for visualizing and extracting information from digital terrain datasets.
Form of Assessment
One two hour written exam (60% marks) and one assessed practical report (40% marks).
Pre-requisites and Relationships with other Courses
A background or strong interest in physical geography/environmental science is essential. The course complements Geography GEOG2002 Methods in Physical Geography, GEOG2007 Ecological Patterns and Processes, GEOG2008 Reconstructing Past Environments, GEOG2020 Hydroclimatology and GEOG2021 Environmental Remote Sensing.
Recommended Preliminary Reading
Ahnert, F (1996) Introduction to geomorphology. London, Arnold.
Greeley, R (1994) Planetary Landscapes. London, Allen & Unwin.
Huggett, R (2011) Fundamentals of geomorphology. London, Routledge.
Masselink, G & Hughes, M (2003) Introduction to coastal processes and morphology. London, Arnold.
Summerfield, MA(1991) Global geomorphology. London, Longman.
Woodroffe, CD (2003) Coasts. Cambridge, CUP.