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Course Code: GEOG 2220
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

Geomorphology examines processes that have shaped, and continue to shape, the landscape around us. Resulting landforms and the forces involved are explored using both qualitative and quantitative methods. This course considers issues such as damming rivers, slope stability, and the ongoing interaction between human activity and geomophic processes in the local region. Landforms and processes are analysed at various temporal and spatial scales, and in terms of relevant theories and principles. Field trips investigate the geomorphology of the local area.

Course Content

  1. History and Methodology of Geomorphology
    a)  Objectives and history of geomorphology
    b)  Time scales
    c)  Development of scientific methods
    d)  Development of major scientific principles pertaining to geomorphology
    e)  Reconstructing the past: dating techniques
  2. Structural Geomorphology
    a)  Plate tectonics and global scale landforms
    • Seismic activity
    b)  Development of continents
    • orogens
    • continental boundaries
    • cratons
    • volcanism
    c)  Structural geomorphology of deformed rocks
    • fractures and faults
    • mountain building
    • landforms controlled by faults and folds
  3. Process Geomorphology
    a)  Weathering and Karst landforms
    • physical and chemical weathering
    • weathered profiles
    • landforms associated with weathering
    • karst processes
    • surface landforms associated with karst
    • subsurface landforms associated with karst
    b)  Slope processes / mass movement
    • strength and behaviour of plastics and solids
    • resistance of various materials (rocks, soils) to shear stress
    • slope processes
    • types of mass wasting
    • landforms associated with mass wasting and slope deposits
    c)  Hydrology
    • flow principles in open channels
    • scientific means to determine discharge and velocity
    • rating curves
    • hydrographs
    • flood frequencies
    d)  Fluvial processes and landforms
    • drainage basins
    • principles pertaining to sediment entrainment, transport and deposition
    • fluvial erosion of bedrock
    • hydraulic geometry of stream channels
    • alluvial and bedrock channels
    • landforms associated with fluvial processes
    • long-term response of rivers
    e)  Glacial processes and landforms
    • ice flow patterns and temperatures
    • glacial budgets
    • glacial erosion, transportation and deposition of material
    • landforms of glacial erosion
    • landforms of glacial deposition
    • glacial meltwater processes and associated landforms
    f)  Glacial Periods
    • history and development of ice ages
    • scientific methods of identifying and dating past ice ages
    • the Quaternary
    • the Pleistocene on a global scale and in North America
    • the Holocene on a global scale and in North America
    • local glacial history
    g) Periglacial processes and landforms
    • nival processes and resulting landforms
    • processes of frozen ground
    • processes of frost action
    • landforms associated with permafrost
    • thermokarst processes and landforms
    h) Coastal and aeolian processes and landforms
    • tides, waves and currents
    • depositional and erosional coasts
    • coastal processes and landforms
    • deltas and estuaries
    • long-term sea-level changes
    • aeolian processes and resulting landforms
    i)  Geomorphic change: long-term evolution of landscapes
    • cycle of erosion
    • geomorphic response to global climate changes
    • geomorphic response to changing sea levels
    • geomorphic response to tectonic processes

Methods of Instruction

This course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

  • Lectures
  • Labs
  • Field Work
  • Multimedia
  • Individual and/or Team Projects
  • Small Group Discussions
  • Map and Air Photo Analysis

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

Evaluation will include some combination of the following:

  1. Lab assignments of a combined value of up to 50%
  2. Field work with a value of up to 25%
  3. Term paper or project of a value of up to 25%
  4. Tests / examinations of a combined value of up to 50%

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:


Midterm 20%
Labs 30%
Field Trip Reports 20%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, a successful student will be able to:

  1. Describe the morphology of the landscape and related processes in areas influenced by fluvial, glacial, periglacial, aeolian, coastal, and arid systems.
  2. Describe major scientific ideas and theories about the development of the landscape.
  3. Critically analyse geomorphological issues in a scientific context at local, regional and global scales.
  4. Use topographic maps, aerial photographs, and other quantitative techniques to analyse landforms and processes of land formation.
  5. Use basic techniques to identify, measure, and analyse landforms and processes of land formation.

course prerequisites

GEOG 1120 or GEOL 1120

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.