Gls210 Geomorphology
Dr. Lindley Hanson, Geological Sciences, SSU

General Information

Catalog Description: Experiential-based course that focuses on the role of structure, lithology and process in the evolution of landscapes.  Three lecture hours and three hours of laboratory per week. 

  • Instructor: Dr. Lindley Hanson, Ph.D.
  • Office: MH 331E
  • Phone: 978-542-6701
  • Email: (REF:GLS210)

This course focuses on landscapes and the processes that create them. References to contemporary, historical, technological and societal issues will be included as appropriate throughout the course. Methods of data collection, analysis, and interpretation are introduced through a variety of lab and field exercises.  

Course Goal, Objectives and Outcomes

Global Goal

  • Understand the multifaceted variables responsible for landscape development such as geologic history, tectonics, climate, process, and time.
  • Develop and understanding of landforms and processes prevalent in the following physical environments: arid, karst, volcanic, degradational, alluvial, glacial, and coastal.
  • Confidently use a computer for research, collaboration, writing, presentation, and analysis.

Essential Questions that you should be able to answer:

  • How do Landscapes evolve?
  • What is a geomorphic system?
  • Where does the energy that drives change come from?
  • How do natural processes dissipate energy?
  • How does change drive change?
  • Why are some landforms constructional and other destructional?
  • Why can we learn about an area's geology by studying its landscapes?
  • How does man alter landscapes and natural processes?
  • How do natural processes affect man?

Measurable Objectives

Your are expected to:

  1. Obtain a functional understanding of the terms and concepts of the discipline (evaluation: participation, games and exercises, and quiz performance)
  2. Identify landforms in the field, on maps, and on DEM's and satellite imagery  (evaluation: successful completion of labs and quiz performance)
  3. Recognize the major variables that influence  landscape development (evaluation: participation, completion of labs, quiz performance, and notebook evaluation)
  4. Make and record quality field observations (evaluation: notebook and successful completion of field-based labs, class exercises)
  5. Collect and display measurable data from maps and satellite imagery(evaluation: successful completion of labs and notebooks)
  6. Analyze landforms and interpret/hypothesize the processes that formed them (evaluation: successful completion of labs, quizzes, final presentation and field exercise)
  7. Make inferences about climate and structure from drainage patterns and landforms. (evaluation: quizzes)
  8. Recognize hazardous areas related to slope instability and flooding (evaluation: successful completion of labs and quiz performance)
  9. Apply the scientific method to landscape development by posing one or more hypotheses explaining the development of  a landscape and proving modifying or disproving your hypotheses through research (notebook and research project)
  10. Develop skills in scientific writing and oral communication (evaluation: notebook, labs, and class discussions and research project)
  11. Collaborate successfully with others  (evaluation: On task participation in labs and projects)


I have the following expectations for all students attending this class. Your are expected to:

    1. Come to every class on time and follow instructions. Bring your laptop, notebook, labs and lab book to class.
    2. Be prepared.  Complete requested assignments and labs before class.
    3. Read the text and prepare for quizzes.
    4. Participate in online and class discussions.
    5. Help your fellow classmates without doing their work.
    6. Ask questions. Make sure that the lecture content is clear to you before leaving the classroom.
    7. Submit work on time.
    8. Work productively with others. Communicate and participate on task.
    9. Take good notes in the classroom and in the field.
    10. Check Moodle daily for updates and announcements
    11. To be respectful to me and your classmates.
    12. Take responsibility for your preformance.

NOTE: I now run my course through my Pbworks SurficialEarth site. Because numerous students have found this site useful I have continued to keep this site online.