GES4310 - Principles of Geomorphology - Schedule

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Schedule may change. Changes will be announced in class.


Jan. 27, Week 1: Course Introduction, Fundamentals of Geomorphology, Climatic and Topographic Diversity

  • Topic Set #1: Welcome, introductions, syllabus
  • Topic Set #2: Geomorphology plus a few other key terms defined
  • Topic Set #3: Why study geomorphology?
  • Topic Set #4: Geomorphology as a systems science: elements, signals, feedbacks, time
  • Topic Set #5: Together, climatic and topographic diversity bring geomorphology to life (and why this is especially true in Colorado)
  • Topic Set #6: Semester summary in slides
  • Readings due before class next week:
    1. Ritter et al. 2002, Ch. 1
    2. Phillips 2003 (sources of non-linearity)
    3. Hewitt 2006 (catastrophic events, cascade effect)
    4. Savigear 1952 (ergodic theorem application)

Feb. 3, Week 2: Foundations of Geomorphology

  • Topic Set #1: Driving & resisting forces
  • Topic Set #2: Theories of landform evolution and the rise of modern geomorphology, process geomorphology, cautions of the Principle of Uniformitarianism
  • Topic Set #3: Thresholds & non-linear behavior, cascade effect & linked processes, ergodicity, isostacy
  • Readings due before class next week:
    1. Ritter et al. 2002, Ch. 4 (pp. 80-92; stop at "Physical Properties of Unconsolidated Debris")
    2. Turkington et al. 2005 (introduction to weathering and landscape evolution)

Feb. 10, Week 3: Rock Weathering - Process

  • Topic Set #1: Rock weathering basics
  • Topic Set #2: Physical rock weathering
  • Topic Set #3: Chemical rock weathering
  • Topic Set #4: Earth decay - Video: Life After People (2008)
  • Readings due before class next week:
    1. Villa et al. 1995 (fissuresols)
    2. Dorn 2004 (case hardening/core softening)
    3. McBride and Picard 2000 (tafoni)
    4. Turkington and Phillips 2004 (cavernous weathering)
    5. Paradise and Yin 1993 (weathering pits)
    6. McFadden et al. 2005 (exposed rocks)

Feb. 17, Week 4: Rock Weathering - Form (Lab One)

  • Topic Set #1: Rock weathering forms
  • Topic Set #2: Student presentations of readings: fissuresols, case hardening / core softening (tafoni and other cavernous features), weathering / gnamma pits, spheroidal weathering (this is Lab One)
  • Readings due before class next week:
    1. Hancock and Skinner 2009 (rock coatings)
    2. Pollard and Aydin 1988 (jointing in rocks)
    3. Cruikshank and Aydin 1994 (natural arch formation)
    4. Laity and Malin 1985 (ground water sapping)
    5. Fitzner et al. 2004 (building/monument weathering)
    6. Inkpen et al. 2001 (weathering form mapping)

Feb. 24, Week 5: Rock Weathering - In-Depth

  • Topic Set #1: Rock coatings, jointing, fins and arches, ground water sapping, building/monument weathering with GIS, weathering form mapping
  • Topic Set #2:: Field trip-themed research / student mini-presentations (the Bock's, Ute Pass / Rampart Range faults, Mesa Gravels, etc.)
  • Readings due before Mar. 3 field trip to Red Rock Canyon Open Space:
    1. Barry 2008 (general microclimate and topoclimate)
    2. Littmann 2008 (arid land microclimate and topoclimate)
    3. Dobrowski et al. 2009 (mountain topoclimate)
    4. Pinyon Ecology Research Group 2010 (precipitation map) -- not a PDF, see readings list for link

Mar. 3, Week 6: Red Rock Canyon Open Space during-class field trip

  • For class next week:
    1. **** Study for Test One ****

Mar. 10, Week 7: TEST ONE

  • Readings due before class March 17:
    1. Recall / re-read the 'scales of climate' readings assigned Feb. 25 (e.g., Barry, Littmann, Dobrowski)
    2. Ritter et al. 2002 Ch. 5 (Stop at "Basin Denudation" on pg. 173)

SATURDAY MARCH 15, FULL DAY FIELD TRIP TO PICKETWIRE CANYON

  • Details provided in class March 10

Mar. 17, Week 8: Mountain Weather Regimes and Five Scales of Climatic Geomorphology; Begin Fluvial Processes and Landforms

  • Topic Set #1: Adiabatic and orographic processes, mountain/valley thermal circulation patterns, climate scales that drive landsurface evolution (continental > state-to-mountain range > county-level >topoclimate >microclimate)
  • Topic Set #2: Begin fluvial: The drainage basin (development, morphometry, hydrology)
  • Readings due before class next week:
    1. Ritter et al. 2002 Ch. 7
    2. Foster 2010 (megafloods from Glacial Lake Missoula and Lake Bonneville)
    3. Larimer County, Colo. 2010 (Big Thompson flood of 1976)
    4. Kiver and Warren, 2011 (Ice Age floods in the Pacific Northwest)

Mar. 24, Week 9: Spring Break - GO EXPLORE!


Mar. 31, Week 10: Finish Climate Scales Discussion; Fluvial Processes and Landforms

  • Topic Set #1: Finish climate scales - the last two: (topoclimate > microclimate)
  • Topic Set #2: The drainage basin (development, morphometry, hydrology)
  • Topic Set #3: Fluvial processes and landforms
  • Topic Set #4: Extending R.I. to paleofloods
  • Readings due before class next week:
    1. None

Apr. 7, Week 11: Fluvial Processes and Landforms (continued); Desert Landforms; Flooding (Lab 2)

  • Topic Set #1: Finish fluvial processes and landforms
  • Topic Set #2: Mega-floods: Colorado floods of 2013, Big Thompson flood of 1976, Pleistocene Lake Missoula (28 min. video)
  • Topic Set #3: Geomorphic mapping practice exercise - South Mountain, AZ
  • Lab Two - THIS IS YOUR HOMEWORK - DUE NEXT SUNDAY BY 5:00 PM

Apr. 14, Week 12: DURING CLASS FIELD TRIP: UCCS' Heller Center -- Geologic and Geomorphic Overview of Heller Center; Field Observations; In-Field Climate Discussion; and Geomorphic Mapping (Lab 3) FIELD TRIP CANCELLED DUE TO MINI-BLIZZARD - FIELD TRIP SCHEDULED FOR APRIL 28

  • Topic Set #1: HELLER CENTER FIELD TRIP DURING REGULAR CLASS TIME (MEET AT HELLER CENTER DRIVEWAY AT 1:20 PM)
  • Readings due before class next week:
    1. Ritter et al. 2002 Ch. 4 (Start "Physical Properties of Uncon...", stop with "Slope Profiles" -- In 5th Ed., pgs. 100-139; in 4th Ed., pgs. 98-127)
    2. Parise et al. 2003 (Slumgullion earthflow, Colorado)
    3. Brantley et al. 2004 (Yellowstone dynamics)

Apr. 21, Week 13, PAPER DUE; Mass Wasting (Focus on Slumgullion Earthflow); Arid Land Geomorphology; Physiography / Physiographic Regions of Colorado (Lab 4)

  • Topic Set #1: Mass wasting, mass wasting hazards
  • Topic Set #2: Slumgullion Earthflow, CO; Yellowstone National Park, WY (a hazard extraordinaire)
  • Topic Set #3: Desert Landforms
  • Topic Set #4: Physiography defined / physiographic regions of Colorado (intermountain basins, mountain ranges, mountains, canyons, rivers)
  • Topic Set #5: Lab Four (handed out in class)
  • Readings due before class next week:
    1. Bellian et al. 2005 (TLS of rock outcrops)

Apr. 28, Week 14, DURING CLASS FIELD TRIP: UCCS' Heller Center -- Geologic and Geomorphic Overview of Heller Center; Field Observations; In-Field Climate Discussion; and Geomorphic Mapping (Lab 3) Link to Lab Three | Geology Handout
PAPER RETURNED ELECTRONICALLY

  • Readings due before class next week:
    1. Ritter et al. 2002, Ch. 9
    2. Ritter et al. 2002, Ch. 10
    3. Guido et al. 2007 (San Juan Mtn. ice cap)

May 2 - FRIDAY - FIELD TRIP TO NATIONAL CENTER FOR ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH (NCAR), BOULDER, CO - 3 HR. VISIT RUNS FROM 11:00 am - 3:00 pm. DETAILS PROVIDED IN CLASS APRIL 28.


May. 5, Week 15, REVISED PAPER DUE (optionally); Glaciations; Rock Glaciers; Technologies in Geomorphology (laser scanning)

  • Topic Set #1: Bull Lake and Pinedale glacial remnants across Colorado
  • Topic Set #2: One remarkable San Juan Mtn. valley glacier
  • Topic Set #3: Rock glaciers
  • Topic Set #4: Technologies in Geomorphology: (i) availability of digital data, (ii) geographic information technologies, (iii) DEMs and geomorphometry, (iv) data collection instruments (focus on lidar)
  • Topic Set #5: Hand out review for Exam Two
  • Readings due before class next week:
    1. STUDY FOR EXAM TWO

May 13, Week 16, What's next?, EXAM TWO

  • Task #1: Test #2