Geography 3300 – Spring 2017
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://ww2.valdosta.edu/~dmthieme
Phone: 2292191345 EMail: dmthieme@valdosta.edu
Office Hours: M 2:004:00; W 1:003:00 or by appointment
Textbook
Bierman and Montgomery, 2013 (1^{st} Edition). Key Concepts in Geomorphology. Macmillan Learning.
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 five points for each of the 15 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 40 points and you have the option of earning a maximum of 40 extra credit points by going on both trips. You can also earn those 40 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 13 lab exercises completed during the semester, and the lab writeups will always be due one week after the lab has been completed. At 20 points each, the 13 exercises will be worth 260 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, 40 field trip, 260 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 913 
History of Geomorphology, Basic Concepts 
Ch. 1, p. 3641 and p. 2030

2 January 1620 
January 16^{th} ML King Day, no school Geosphere, Rocks and Minerals 1^{st }Critical Discussion on January 20^{th} 
Ch. 1, p. 912’ Ch.3, p. 4864; Clayton, 1971 
3 January 2327 
Weathering and Mass Wasting 2^{nd} Critical Discussion on January 27^{th} 
Ch. 4, p. 86109; Hack, 1960 
4 Jan 30  Feb 3 
Hillslope Form, Slope Evolution 3^{rd} Critical Discussion on February 3^{rd}, Exam #1 on February 6^{th} 
Ch. 4; Schumm and Chorley, 1964 
5 February 610 
River Channels 4^{th} Critical Discussion/Term Paper Title due on February 10^{th} 
Ch. 6; Leopold and Maddock, 1953 
6 February 1317 
Drainage Basins 5^{th} Critical Discussion on February 17^{th} 
Ch. 7; Leigh, 2006 
7 February 2024 
Karst Processes and Landforms 6^{th} Critical Discussion on February 24^{th} 
Ch. 4, p. 133136; Rodriguez et al, 2014 
8 Feb 27 – Mar 3 
Tectonic Geomorphology 7^{th} Critical Discussion/Term Paper Outline due on March 3^{rd} 
Ch. 12, Pinter and Brandon, 1997 
9 March 610 
Dating Methods, Geological Time Scale, Quaternary Stratigraphy 8th Critical Discussion on March 8^{th} Exam #2 on March 10^{th} 
Ch. 2, p. 4359; Handouts Rittenour, 2008 
10 March 1317 
Spring Break, no class 

11 March 2024 
Climatic Geomorphology 9th Critical Discussion on March 24^{th} 
Ch. 13, p. 425439; Grove, 2001 
12 Mar 2731 
Wind Processes and Landforms 10th Critical Discussion on March 29^{th} 
Ch. 8; McFadden et al., 1987 
13 April 37 
Glaciers and Glacial Erosion 11th Critical Discussion on April 5^{th} 
Ch. 9, 10; Gustavson and Boothroyd, 1987 
14 April 1014

Glacial Deposition, Periglacial Landforms 12th Critical Discussion on April 10^{th}, Exam #3 on April 12^{th} 
Ch. 10, 11 Berthling et al., 2013 
15 April 1721 
Coastal Processes and Landforms 13th Critical Discussion on April 21^{st} 
Ch. 13; Burdette et al., 2010 
16 Apr 2428 
Human Impacts 14th Critical Discussion on April 28th Final Exam Review 
Chapter 3, p. 4550; Handout; Hooke, 2000 

Final Exam: Wednesday, May 3^{rd} at 12:30 pm


*All readings are in Bierman and Montgomery (2013) except for the 15 papers for critical discussion, which will be posted online with links from BlazeVIEW. 