Research Activities




Courses Taught




Recommended Textbook:   
Easterbrook, D.J. (1999). Surface Processes and Landforms. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2nd Edition
Hugget, R.J. (2007). Fundamentals of Geomorphology. New York: Routledge, 2nd Edition


This course describes the processes and geologic structures that control the shape of the land surface. Classic models of landform evolution are assessed along with modern views of landform development. Implications for contemporary land resource management policies will in introduced.


In this course students should be able to:

  • acquire the basic skills to recognize and interpret different landform types

  • acquire the analytical skills to understand and evaluate models of landscape development

  • appreciate the role of geomorphology in planning and managing land resource


TOPICS                SUBJECT MATTER                         

1.         What is What is Geomorphology?                                                                

2.         History of Geomorphology                                            
Lab. #1: Catastrophism or Uniformitarianism?

3.         What are Geomorphic Systems?
Lab. #2: Flood frequency analysis22+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

4.         Geomorphic Structures and the Physiographic Regions
of the United States of America
Lab. #3: Physiographic regions of the United States

5.         Introduction to Geomorphic Processes and Landforms

6.         Internal Processes: Plate Tectonics and Landforms

7.        External Processes: Weathering and Landforms
Lab. #4:  Contour maps and cross profiles

8.        Mass Wasting and Evolution of Hillslopes

9.         Fluvial Processes and Landscapes
Lab. #5: Floodplain landform analysis
Lab, #6: Morphometric Analysis

10,       Glacial and Glaciofluvial Landscapes

11.        Landscapes Evolution: Long-term Geomorphology




NOTE:            Answer One Question Only.  The answer MUST NOT exceed FIVE typed pages, double-spaced. You MUST consult additional materials outside the class note and recommended textbook to answer the question. Evidence of library research will be appropriately rewarded. Use APA format.

1.                  Write short geomorphic notes on:

             a.                   The concept of equilibrium in geomorphology
             b.                  Methodological Uniformitarianism
             c.                   John Wesley Powell

2.                  a.         Describe the role of climate in weathering (Diagrams required)

            b.                  With reference to the humid tropics, describe and account for landforms
                         produced by weathering (Diagrams required)

3.                  On the basis of the works of Linton, Ollier, and Thomas, describe tors and inselbergs in terms
            of their morphological characteristics and origin (Diagrams required).




1.         Geomorphology is the scientific study of the:
A.         earth surface landforms
B.         past and present processes creating earth surface landforms
C.         cultural landscape and processes creating them
D.         surface features and controlling processes of other terrestrial planets
E.         A, B and D
2.         Which of the following statements is NOT correct about the school of
A.         Catastrophists believe in divine intervention in the interpretation of landscape
B.         Catastrophists believe in a very short earth history which is often less than
C.         Catastrophists believe that geologic processes of today are different in kind an
            intensity from past geologic events
D.         Catastrophists believe that landforms are produced by high magnitude geologic
            processes like the biblical Noah's flood
E.         Catastrophists believe that landforms are produced by low magnitude and high
            frequency geologic processes

3.         The Neptunist school of thought led by Abraham Werner (1749-1817) believed
A.         a universal ocean that once covered the entire earth surface
B.         landforms produced by low magnitude and high frequency geologic processes
C.         the fact that igneous rocks are chemical precipitates from the universal ocean
D.         landforms produced by the erosion and deposition of the rushing waters of the
            receding universal ocean
E.         A, C and D
4.         Four distinct meanings of uniformity can be identified in Charles Lyell's
            Principles of Geology (1830-1833) and the one stating that changes in natural
            laws are invariant with time and space
is called:
A.         Uniformity of process     B.         Uniformity of rate     C.   Uniformity of state
D.         Uniformity of law            E.         None of these answer
5.         Which of the following statements is not a possible effect of the defeat of the
            school of catastrophism by the uniformitarian school on today's geomorphology?
A.         Reluctance in acceptance of the true importance of high magnitude and low
            frequency or catastrophic events in geologic explanations
B.         Anything catastrophic is often seen as illogical and possibly tainted with the old
            supernatural catastrophism
C.         General acceptance of low magnitude, high frequency geologic events in the
            geomorphic interpretation of landforms
D.         The ressurgence of interest in the general idea that geologic mechanisms
 `          operate with periods of quiet, interspersed with periods of rare, high geologic
            events in a step-function behavior

6.         Some of the geologists who explored the semi-arid terrains of American West
            during the second half of the 19th century include the following, except:
A.         W. M. Davis     B. J. W. Powell     C. G. K. Gilbert     D. C.E. Dutton
7.         The concept of grade, which is an equilibrium condition between load and
            transporting power, was first developed by:
A.         W. M. Davis     B.          John Wesley Powell     C.           Grove Karl Gilbert
D.         C. E. Dutton       E.        James Hutton
8.         Lichty (1965) has suggested major time intervals that are critical in understanding
            the true relationship between process and form and that time interval measured
            in millions of year, he called:
A.         Static time        B.         Cyclic time   C. Graded time      D.    Steady time
9.         Geomorphic systems are described as open systems because:
A.         energy of operation comes from outside the system and moves across the
            system boundary

B.         energy of operation comes from within the system and re-cycled
C.         it is open to frequent changes
D.         a geomorphic system consists of a set of objects or characteristics which are
            related to one another and operates as complex entity
E.         it is a system of inputs and throughputs
10.        A type of geomorphic system involving the analysis of the movement of mass
            and flows of energy (e.g. slope erosion) across the system is called:
A.         A morphological system                                     B.         Cascading system
C.         Process-response system                      D.         Drainage system
11.        The Colorado Plateau with flat-lying sedimentary rock layers is described as
A.         homoclinal structure                   B.         folded structure
C.         horizontal structure                    D.         domed structure    E.    faulted structure
11.        The break in slope separating the old terrain of the Piedmont province from the
            innermost valley in the parallel valley and ridge topography of inner part of the
            coastal plain is called:
A.         Cuesta             B.         Escarpment         C.      Fall line    D.    Anticline    
E.         Plunging syncline
12.        The downfolds in folded structures are called:
A.         Fall lines         B.           Anticlines         C.          Synclines    D.   Upthrusts    
E.         Recumbent folds
13.        In geomorphology, relief is defined as:
A.         the highest or maximum elevation in a given region
B.         the average elevation in a given area
C.         the difference in elevation between the highest and lowest points in a given area
D.         the absolute elevation of a given point above sea level
E.         elevation of a given point in standardized units
14.        The twin process of weathering and exhumation are responsible for the formation
            of which of the following landforms in the humid tropics?
A.         Tors         B.      Regoliths         C.          Sesquioxides    D.         Inselbergs    
E.         A & D
15.        Chemical weathering process involving the reaction of ionized water with
            elements in rock minerals is called:
A.         Oxidation         B.          Carbonation         C.       Chelation    D.   Solution    
E.         Hydrolysis
16.        Physical weathering produced by ice wedging or root wedging or crystal growth
            or colloidal plucking are accomplished through:
A.         internal stress of thermal expansion and contraction of rock minerals
B.         external stress of unloading
C.         external stress involving volumetric changes within rock voids, joints, fractures
            and fissures

D.         chemical stress
E.         All of these answers
17.        Joints are important in weathering because they:
A.         break down the rock into fragments
B.         increase the surface area available for chemical reaction
C.         act as channel ways for atmospheric elements like water and air to penetrate
            deep into the rock
D.         act a channels for subsurface water
E.         all of the above
18.        Climate determines:
A.         types of weathering         B.        end products of weathering
C.         weathering rates              D.       lithology            E.         A, B and C
19.        Some of the end products of chemical weathering of silicate minerals include:
A.         clay minerals                     
B.         silica in solution    
C.         carbonates of Mg, Ca, Na and K in solution 
D.         sesquioxides
E.         all of the above
20.        The boundary between the weathered mantle and the unweathered bedrock is
A.         Base level of erosion              B.             Weathering front     C.    Peneplain
D.         Basal surface of weathering   E. B and D
21.        According to the Goldich weathering series, the most resistant silicate mineral to
            weathering is:
A.         Olivine         B.             Quartz         C. Calcium rich feldspar
D.         Pyroxene     E. Orthoclase feldspar
22.        Which of the following weathering processes is out of place?
A.         Hydrolysis     B.             Colloidal plucking     C.   Oxidation
D.         Chelation       E.            Hydration
23.        The East African Rift Valley is a good example of:
A.         Faulted structure                        B.         Horizontal structure   
C.         Domed structure                        D. Homoclinal structure          
E.         Folded structure
24.        Which of the following types of adjustments enables geomorphic systems to
            maintain a state of balance or equilibrium or self-regulation?
A.         Positive feedback mechanism         B.     Negative feedback mechanism
C.         Adiabatic cooling mechanism         D.     Progressive change mechanism
E.         All of the above


1.         Cliff profiles contain the following distinctive segments:
A.         a fall face segment
B.         a talus straight slope segment
C.         a concave slope
D.         A and B
2.         According to Carson and Kirkby (1972), slopes controlled by seepage, rain wash, sheet
            wash and rill wash processes are generally:
A.         Convex in profile                         B.         Concave in profile
C.         Rectilinear in profile                                D.         Of mixed character
E.         Of the fall face type
3.         The inherent frictional properties of slope materials are related to:
A.         Particle size of slope materials
B.         Particle shape
C.         Crushing resistance
D.         Particle arrangement
E.         All of the above answers
4.         A slope in which the shear strength of slope materials is greater than shear stress or with
            a safety factor greater than 1.3 is said to be:
A.         A stable slope
B.         Actively unstable slope
C.         Conditionally stable slope
D.         A fall face slope
E.         None
5.         Which of the following statements is not correct about mass wasting?
A.         It is a downslope movement of slope materials in response to gravitational stress
B.         It does not require any physical medium such as water, glacier or wind to accomplish
            downslope movement of materials
C.         Occurs when shear strength of slope materials is less than the shear stress
D.         Soil creep, solifluction and rockfalls are good examples of mass wasting processes
E.         Actions of running water, wind, and glacier are required to accomplish mass wasting

6.         High-altitude planation of mountain ranges into flattened summits by solifluction
            processes is called:
A.         Peneplanation     B.       Etcplanation     C.          Pediplanation    D.    Altiplanation
7.         The rate of movement of soil creep is a function of:
A.         Slope angle                   B.         Susceptibility of slope materials  C.         Water content
D.         All of the above answers
8.         The concept of slope replacement as the principal mechanism for change in slope profile
A.         the flattening of the hillslope from the base upward
B.         the replacement of each segment of the slope profile by a slope of a lower gradient as it
C.         rectilinear slope segments retreating parallel to itself
D.         A and C only
E.         A, B and C
9.         A landform resulting from the free fall of rock materials is the:
A.         rock glacier         B.       peneplain     C. talus slope    D.             alluvial fan    
E.         Mudflow

10.        Soil creep results from:
A.         the slow movement of soil organisms
B.         chemical reactions between the regolith and bedrock materials
C.         changes in the soil volume
D.         Disturbance of soil on a slope
E.         the drying out of fine particles on a slope
11.        Slumping is different from other forms of earthflow or mass wasting in that:
A.         only gentle slopes are required
B.         it involves some backward rotation
C.         more water is needed than in other forms of flow
D.         lubricating water is unnecessary
E.         it occurs only on very steep slopes
12.        Which of the following is the most fluid type of mass movement?
A.         earthflow           B.         debris flow         C.         mudflow            D.         Solifluction    
E.         slump
13.        According to W. M. Davis' cycle of erosion model, the landscape attains its maximum
            relief during the:
A.         Youthful stage     B.       Mature stage     C.         Old age stage    D.    A and C
14.        Which of the following is NOT a cyclic model of landscape development
A.         peneplanation model                  B.         Pediplanation model
C.         Etchplanation model                   D.         Dynamic equilibrium model   
E.         All of the above
15.        Which of the following assumptions of the geographical cycle was Walther Penck most
            critical of?
A.         Landscape passes through evolutionary stages of development
B.         The geographical cycle is initiated by a rapid tectonic uplift followed by stillstand of the

C.         The normal climate for the cycle is the temperate humid climate
D.         Average slope angle declines with time
E.         All of the above
16.        W. M. Davis contradicted himself when he combined the concept of progressive change
            with the concept of grade (an equilibrium concept) in his geographical cycle of erosion
A.         True     B. False
17.        Slopes controlled by seepage, rainwash, sheet wash and rill wash are generally concave.
A.         True         B. False
18.        The normal force (Fn) is an indication of frictional resistance
A.         True         B. False
19.        The following equation Fn = FgCosŲ shows that Fn is at a zero on a horizontal surface and
            at a maximum on a vertical surface or slope
A.         True         B False
20.        In dry slopes, pore-water pressure is zero or negative causing adhesion of slope
A.         True         B. False
21.        A major argument of L. C. King is that free face slopes retreat parallel to itself as
            materials are weathered while low angle slopes or pediments grow at the base of the free
            face slope.
A.         True         B. False
22.        What is the vertical exaggeration (VE) of a topographic profile drawn with a vertical scale
            of 1 inch representing 100 ft and a map scale (horizontal scale) of 1 inch representing 1
            mile?   [VE = horizontal (map) scale factor divided by vertical scale factor].
A.         90 times         B. 78 times         C. 60 times    D.    53 times     E. 20 times
23.        A time distribution of streamflow in response to precipitation events is the definition of:
A.         Return period         B. Streamflow hydrograph    C.    Stream discharge 
D.         Lag time
24.        Betson's (19640 argument that only a small portion of a basin contributes Horton
            overland flow became known as the:
A.         Variable source area concept     B.         Partial area concept
C.         Through flow or subsurface flow D.           Return flow
E.         Baseflow
25.        The model of streamflow generation in humid forested areas is best described as:
A.         Hortonian overland flow               B.         Subsurface stormflow
C.         Saturation overland flow
D.         Baseflow                      

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