What is geomorphology and what are geomorphological processes?  

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paepin's profile pic

paepin | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Geomorphology is the study of the origin and evolution of Earth's land forms. Physical, chemical, and biological processes all shape earth's topography - these processes can happen very quickly (debris flows, natural disasters) or over a long period of time (chemical weathering, mountain ranges).

Geomorphologists are scientists who study Earth's geomorphology; these scientists use a combination of ground observations, remote observations, modeling techniques, and physical experiments to study the evolution of a landscape and/or the future of landscapes.

Different types of Earth processes influence a landscape's geomorphology. The following are a few examples:

  • GLACIAL: Glacial movement shapes a landscape through both erosional and depositional processes. Land forms created by glaciers include V-shaped and U-shaped valleys, glacial lakes, moraines, eskers, glacial horns, cols, aretes, and drumlins.
  • FLUVIAL: Rivers and streams both erode a landscape and deposit new sediments. Land forms shaped by rivers include alluvial fans, fluvial terraces, and delta plains.
  • TECTONIC: Tectonic processes (resulting from Earth's plate activity) are responsible for mountains, plateaus, and rifts.

Additional influences are wind (aeolian), biological (organism-driven), and marine (ocean) processes.




litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

These processes take place over thousands and millions of years, but some of them can be very quick. For example, a mudslide or an earthquake can cause changes very quickly, as opposed to slow erosion over time. They are also affected by rain, which can happen at any time.
pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would say that all of these things that you are talking about ultimately depend on the sun.

Wind is caused by differences in atmospheric pressure.  This has a lot to with the heating of the atmosphere that is caused by the sun.  Rivers are caused in part by the precipitation that is received in a given area.  The amount of precipitation is caused in part by how much water is evaporated.  This is partly caused by the sun's warmth.

So these processes don't stop because the sun's heat does not stop.

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