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    Macalester College
  Feb 17, 2018
College Catalog 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

GEOL 260 - Geomorphology

Geomorphology is the study of physical, chemical, and biological processes that occur on the surface of a planetary body. We will be examining the processes that turn solid rock into transportable material, the transport mechanisms themselves (whether beneath glaciers, down hillslopes, or in rivers), and the patterns of deposition, many of which are unique to the processes that created them. These processes range from the very large (volcanism and mountain-building) to the microscopic (frost cracking of rock, soil creep, and chemical weathering along mineralogic grain boundaries). Some processes occur frequently across geographic boundaries and throughout geologic time (like rainsplash), while others are stochastic in nature and dramatic in their geomorphic signature (like glacial outburst floods). We will focus on the roles of rivers, glaciers, and mass movements in shaping landscapes, but will examine wide-ranging landscapes such as arid environments and coastal regions. The study of current surface processes on the Earth will be examined with an eye toward understanding the evolution of landscapes over geologic timescales. Fall semester. Prerequisite(s):   or   or permission of instructor. (4 Credits)