Process Geomorphology

Zachary A. Musselman

Millsaps College
Private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


In this class we will explore the earth's surface while applying two approaches. First we will consider landforms as indicators of geologic age, and take a descriptive approach. Second, we will approach the science through the more recent emphasis on both quantitative analysis of landform morphology and the field measurement of geomorphic processes.

Course URL:
Course Size:

less than 15

Course Context:

This is an upper-division elective geomorphology course with prerequisites of introductory geology. The course has a required three-hour laboratory and one required day-long field trip.

Course Goals:

Students should be able to recognize diverse exogenic systems.
Students should be able to determine the dominate process shaping the Earth's surface in a specific area.
Students should be able to understand the ties between Earth's endogenic and exogenic processes and human existence
Students should be able to use knowledge of Earth's landscapes and landforms to interpret information pertaining to observable physical conditions.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

During the semester we structure the week's topic around diverse earth surface systems. The lectures often follow a similar format with a brief introduction followed by the discussion of the type of geomorphic work (erosion, transportation, deposition) occurring in each system, followed by landforms created by those processes.
Assessment is performed through weekly lab activities and three exams during the semester.

Skills Goals

Development of student writing

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

I have the students read three different types of articles (one theoretical, one analytical, and one methods) during the semester. Provided for each assignment is only the article (title, abstract, and keywords removed). The assignment includes reading the article and the students providing the title, abstract and keywords.



Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 63kB Apr29 08)