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Geography 3150 Geomorphology

Course Description

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the processes responsible for the formation of landforms and landscapes that comprise the Earth's surface. The crust of the Earth, particularly its surface, is an extremely dynamic environment where internal and external forces interact to either build up or tear down its structure. Thus landforms and landscapes that exist at any time in the Earth's history, or at any place on the Earth's surface, reflect a balance between the various forces at work. Furthermore, this dynamic balance is complicated by a number of factors; for example, the intensity of forces and processes is highly variable over time, hence many landscapes are in a constant state of change. Accordingly, landforms of one geomorphic regime may merge or overlap with landforms of the next. The landforms we observe on the Earth today may be either a function of modern processes or a relic of a previous environment. This is clearly illustrated by the widespread occurrence of glacial landforms in Newfoundland and Labrador, which reflects the conditions that existed during the last glaciation, more than 10,000 years ago.

This course will discuss, at an introductory level, the nature and origin of the dynamic forces, geomorphic processes and resultant landforms that currently characterize the Earth's surface. The effects of tectonic activity, gravity, running water, waves, ice, wind and cold temperatures will be discussed within a geomorphic framework. Examples will be drawn from different physiographic and climatic settings; however, the emphasis will be placed on the Canadian context.