Geography/Geology 3300 – Spring 2015
Process
Geomorphology
Department of Physics, Astronomy, and Geosciences
Valdosta State
University
Instructor: Dr. Donald
M. Thieme Meeting Time: 1:001:50 MWF Nevins 3041
Office: 2046 Nevins
Hall Web Page: http://www.valdosta.edu/~dmthieme
Phone: 2292191345 EMail: dmthieme@valdosta.edu
Office Hours: M
2:003:00; R 10:0012:00 or by
appointment
Textbook
Bierman and Montgomery, 2014 (1^{st} Edition). Key Concepts in Geomorphology. W.H. Freeman and
Co.
Course Purpose and Overview
Geomorphology is the study of the “form” or surface of
planet Earth. The descriptive part of geomorphology consists of mapping,
measuring, and identifying “landforms.” Most of you will already be familiar
with this material from our introductory course, GEOG 1113K. In “process” geomorphology,
we delve more deeply into the driving forces which shape the Earth’s surface.
We will cover mass wasting transport on hillslopes as well as fluvial, coastal,
aeolian, glacial and periglacial processes. Simple mathematical equations will
be used to relate many of these processes to fundamental physical forces.
The laboratory exercises for GEOG
3300 build upon map reading and map making skills developed in GEOG 1113K and
taught in other geography courses. Applying geomorphology to real world examples
now requires familiarity not only with paper maps but also with computer
programs for working with maps (ArcGIS, SURFER, AutoCAD). At least one of the
laboratory exercises will therefore be completed using the department computer
lab. Recent advances in geomorphology are also closely linked to the
development of new techniques for estimating the age of landforms and the
deposits which result from surficial processes. Isotopic dating methods covered
in this class will include ^{14}C, K/Ar, U disequilibrium, and exposure
ages based on cosmogenic nuclides such as ^{10}Be, ^{26}Al, ^{36}Cl,
and ^{3}He. Other radiogenic, chemical, biological, and correlation
techniques are also introduced.
Course Content and Attendance
Although I will not be taking
attendance after the first couple weeks of classes, I do regard your attendance
at both my lectures and labs as an important indicator of your commitment to
learning in my class. I will draw upon my own research as well as outside
readings to provide some material
that is not in your book. I will also require you to participate in our critical discussion of seminal papers from
primary research literature, held every week and usually on Friday. If you miss
any of these then you will required to submit a short summary of the article
and answer some study questions about it.
I will take a
survey of class interests during the first week of the semester in order to
guide my selection of topics to emphasize. If you have already begun a senior
thesis project, please talk to me about how we might work out some readings and
a paper topic so that you can integrate your own research with the material
covered in this class. My office hours are listed at the beginning of the
syllabus in case you need to talk about a lab assignment, your term paper, or
anything else regarding the course,. I will also be glad to meet with you at
another time if my posted hours do not work for you. Feel free to stop by
whenever I am in my office.
Grading
There will be three hourlong
exams (100 points each) during the semester and a final exam (200 points) given
at the course’s completion. The final exam will include approximately 100
points of material covered after the third lecture exam and 100 points of
comprehensive material. Make up exams will only be given in the case of extreme
circumstances. Illness will only be considered a valid
excuse for missing an exam if you can provide a doctor’s note stating that you
were too ill to attend the test.
All students will be required to write a 10page term paper (100
points). There will be three possible options in terms of the topic and style
of the term papers, and the criteria which I use in grading them will be slightly
different. One option will be a paper explaining a technique or method currently being applied in geomorphology.
Either a method for dating surficial deposits or a computer model would be an
excellent choice here. Another type of paper topic would be one in which you
interpret a sequence of surficial
deposits in terms of one or more of the processes covered in this class.
Finally, you may want to write a paper describing some consequences for human society of a hazardous process which we
cover in this class. This could either be a recent event covered in newspapers
and on television or an ancient event recorded in historical documents or
archaeological findings.
A total of 100 points will be earned from the "critical
discussion" activities. You will earn a maximum of six points for each of
the 13 discussion sessions that you attend or complete the assignment for. You
will also be responsible for leading a discussion on one of the 15 papers, and
you will earn 25 points for that.
There will be two (2) oneday fieldtrips on a Saturday, and every
student must attend at least one of these in order to pass the course. I am
still planning these fieldtrips, and I will let you know the details within the
next two weeks. These will each be worth 50 points and you have the option of
earning a maximum of 50 extra credit points by going on both trips. You can
also earn those 50 extra credit points by going on the Florida/Georgia trip
along with the GEOL 1121 students. I will have a special assignment for those
of you on the Florida/Georgia trip, emphasizing surficial processes evident at
the stops.
The laboratory section of the course is required of all students. There
will be 10 lab exercises completed during the semester. At 25 points each, the
10 exercises will be worth 250 points total. Late labs will be deducted 10% per
day late.
A total of 1000 points will be possible during the course of the
semester (500 lecture tests, 100 term paper, 100 critical discussions, 50 field
trip, 250 labs). Final grades will be based on the following scale:
Percentage 
Points 
Grade 
90 – 100 80 – 90 70 – 80 60 – 70 < 60 
9001000 800900 700800 600700 < 600 
A B C D F 
Disability Policy
Students requiring classroom accommodations or
modifications because of a documented disability should discuss this with me so
we can make reasonable accommodations. If you have not yet done so, you should
also contact the Access Office located in Farber
Hall and register with them.
Plagiarism and Cheating
Students are allowed to work in
groups on labs, but other assignments are individual assignments. Any student
who copies, plagiarizes, or otherwise cheats on an individual assignment will
be given a zero for that assignment. There will be no exceptions and no
opportunity to redo the assignment.
Tentative Lecture Schedule and Readings:
Week 
Topics and Important Dates 
Reading* 
1 January 1216 
History of Geomorphology, Basic Concepts 
Ch. 1, p. 3641 and p. 2030 
2 January 2126 
January 19^{th} ML King Day, no school Geosphere, Rocks and Minerals 1^{st }Critical Discussion on
January 21^{st} 
Ch. 1, p. 514 Ch.3, p. 7789; Clayton, 1971 
3 January 2830 
Weathering, Mass Wasting 2^{nd} Critical Discussion on January
28^{th} 
Ch. 5, p. 145158; Hack, 1960 
4 February 26 
Hillslope Form, Slope
Evolution 3^{rd} Critical Discussion on February
6^{th}, Exam #1 on February 9^{th} 
Ch. 5, p. 159178; Schumm and
Chorley, 1964 
5 February 1113 
River Channels 4^{th} Critical Discussion/Term Paper
Title due on February 13^{th} 
Ch. 6; Leopold and
Maddock, 1953 
6 February 1618 
Drainage Basins 5^{th}
Critical Discussion on February 18^{th} 
Ch. 7; Leigh, 2006 
7 Feb 20 – Mar 4 
Karst Processes and Landforms 6^{th}
Critical Discussion on March 4^{th} 
Ch. 4, p. 133136; Rodriguez et al., 2014 
8 March 611 
Tectonic Geomorphology 7^{th} Critical Discussion/Term Paper
Outline due on March 11^{th} 
Ch. 12, Pinter and
Brandon, 1997 
9 March 1318 
Dating Methods, Geological
Time Scale, Quaternary Stratigraphy 8^{th} Critical Discussion on March 16^{th},
Exam #2 on March 18^{th} 
Ch. 2, p. 4359; Rittenour,
2008 
10 March 20 
Climatic Geomorphology 
Ch. 13, p. 425439 
11 March 2327 
Spring Break, no class 

12 Mar 30 – Apr 3 
Wind Processes and Landforms 9^{th} Critical
Discussion on April 1^{st} 
Ch. 10; McFadden
et al., 1987 
13 April 610 
Glaciers and Glacial
Erosion 10^{th} Critical Discussion on April 8^{th} 
Ch. 9, p. 291309; Gustavson and Boothroyd, 1987 
14 April 1317 
Glacial Deposition Periglacial
Landforms 11^{th} Critical Discussion on April 15^{th}, Exam #3 on April 17^{th} 
Ch. 9, p. 309323; Stone and Ashley, 1992 
15 April 2024 
Coastal Processes and Landforms 12^{th}
Critical Discussion on April 22^{nd} 
Ch. 13; Burdette
et al., 2010 
16 Apr 27 – May 4 
Human Impacts 13^{th} Critical Discussion on May 1st Final Exam Review 
Ch. 1, p. 3135; Ch. 4, p. 138143;
Hooke, 2000 

Final Exam: Friday, May 8^{th} at 2:45
pm 

* All readings are in Bierman
and Montgomery (2014) except for
the 13 papers for critical discussion, which will be posted online with links
from BlazeVIEW. 