Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Geomorphology: Basic Principles, Methods and Applications

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION An understanding of landforms may be of great use, directly or indirectly, to human beings who are influenced by and, in turn, influence the surface features of the earth which they inhabit. Applied geomorphology could be defined as the application of geomorphic understanding to the analysis and solution of problems concerning land occupancy, resource exploitation, and environmental management and planning.

This study-unit focuses on the theoretical part which covers the key developments in the field of geomorphology, and its two main branches (mainly pure and applied geomorphology). Each lecture contains an introduction to general principles, overview of the issue, discussion of selected case studies and practical recommendations.

1. Evolution of the science of geomorphology.
2. Use of techniques and models in applied geomorphology.
3. Selected case-studies of geomorphic processes and erosion mitigation, including landslides, rockfalls, flash floods and high energy waves.
4. Application of techniques of geomorphology mapping.
5. Principles of geomorphic hazard mapping and vulnerability assessment.
6. The role of applied geomorphology in environmental management.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit aims at providing an in depth knowledge of the geomorphologic processes responsible for the genesis of the landscape morphology in selected environments. It deals with the study of geomorphologic processes that help to explain the interrelationships between environmental conditions, process-driven agents and landscape forms. Focus is put on observing, mapping and modeling geomorphologic processes in order to understand the behaviour of selected physical systems within the local context.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. explain the developments in the science of geomorphology through the use of scientific literature;
2. acquire in-depth knowledge on factors governing physical processes and which are responsible for landscape evolution;
3. explain the functioning and spatio-temporal variation of selected geomorphologic systems through the application of existing mapping models;
4. assimilate information from empirical and theoretical sources to allow informed discussions around important geomorphological issues;
5. have a theoretical knowledge of the techniques used to observe and map geomorphologic processes.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1. develop the necessary skills and attitudes to understand and independently follow new developments in the science of geomorphology through the use of scientific literature;
2. use his/her knowledge of fundamental physical processes to analyse the forces driving the making and evolution of the physical environment;
3. develop the ability to apply lecture-based knowledge to our surrounding physical environment and describe the geomorphologic processes in their spatial;
4. demonstrate competence in critical reasoning and decision-making in assessing and engaging with applied geomorphology problems within the landscape context.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main texts:

- Gregory K.J. (2010). The Earth's Land Surface. Huggett. 2007. Fundamentals of Geomorphology. Routledge, London.
- Goudie, A., & Gregory, K. J. (2011). The SAGE handbook of geomorphology. Los Angeles, London: SAGE (Selected readings)
- Hart T, M. G. (1986). Geomorphology, pure and applied. London, Allen & Unwin. (Selected readings)

Supplementary Texts:

- Fookes, P.G., Lee, M. and Griffiths, J.S. (Eds). 2007. Engineering Geomorphology: Theory and Practice, 1st edition, Whittles Publishing, Caithness. (Selected readings)
- Verstappen, H. T. (T. (1983). Applied geomorphology: geomorphological surveys for environmental development. Elsevier: Distributors for the U.S. and Canada, Elsevier Science Pub. Co. (Selected readings)

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Fieldwork and Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Ivan Calleja
Ritienne Gauci

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.