Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
CT0365 (AF:296020 AR:163117)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
1st Semester
Course year
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The course falls within the optional courses of Earth Sciences for the degree in Environmental Sciences. This course is designed to develop the skill of the students to analyze systems and environmental processes in the perspective of sustainability and prevention, to promote the quality of the environment.
Specific objectives of the teaching are: to give know-how and operational capacity in studies connected with earth surface processes (morphogenesis vs pedogenesis), with emphasis on Quaternary deposits.
At the end of the course the student will have completed a learning process that will led him to have knowledge, skills and competences related to the subject.
The student will have acquired the knowledge and the ability to analyze the cause/effect relationships between morphodynamic processes, morphostructures and morphoscultures.
Furthermore, the knowledge and ability to detect the effects of human interventions on the territory.
Ability to use and interpret aerial photographs of the territory to perform morphographic and morphometric analyzes, thanks to a limited knowledge of GIS software for the interpretation of digital photographs.
Furthermore, the student will have adequate knowledge and understanding of the geomorphological processes; this in relation to the spatial scales of the analyzed places as well as to the geological and climatic characteristics that characterize them. At the end of the course, the student is able to recognize morphogenic processes and related diagnostic forms.

It is necessary to have general knowledge of geology, cartography, mineralogy and petrography acquired through the course of Fundamentals of Earth Sciences. It is also useful to have knowledge of chemestry and physics.
Introduction to the course.
- Principles and methods of geomorphology. Geomorphological systems. Temporal and spatial scale in geomorphic processes. Exogenous and endogenous factors. Physical and chemical weathering.
Definition of soil and its characters.
- Pedogenetic factors. Typology of profiles. Sampling techniques. Soil properties. Soil mapping. Overview of major international classification systems.
Dynamic slope.
- Evolution of the slopes. Relationship between alteration, erosion, transport and deposition along the slopes. Runoff splash, sheet, rill and gully erosion along a slope. Mass-wasting slow and fast. Landslides. Charts landslides. Gravitational deformation deep slope.
River morphology: processes and forms.
- Overview of hydrodynamics channeled waters. Modes of transport. Diagram of Hjulstroem. Slope of the riverbed and equilibrium profile. Types of river floodplains and their short-term dynamics. Alluvial fans. Fluvial terraces. Network analysis hydrographic.
Coastal morphology.
- Classification of the coasts. Dynamics of rocky coasts: wave cut-notches, wave cut-platforms. Fjords and rias. The typical profile of a beach. Depositional structures and delta forms.
Climatic Geomorphology
Glacial morphology.
- Types of glacier. Erosive Activities. Transport and Deposition. Glacial streams and derived morphologies. Glacial valleys.
Periglacial morphology
- Permafrost. Processes associated with permafrost. Processes caused by frost. Environmental problems. The function of permafrost in climate change
Morphology of a desert.
- The types of deserts. The wind processes. The aeolian deposits. Desertification.
Structural morphology.
- Types of surveys. The selective erosion. Morphologies typical of regions in horizontal layers (plateau, mesa), inclined layers.
Karst morphology.
- Typical shapes. Physical chemistry of the phenomenon and the role of climatic factors, lithological and topographical. Processes and forms of karst epigeo.
- Underground water circulation in karst massifs. Processes and forms of karst underground.
Remote sensing.
-Principles of aerophotogrammetry. Types of aerial photos. Criteria and factors of photo-interpretation. Geomorphological mapping. Introduction to GIS.
Environmantal geomorphology

In laboratory:
Geomorphological interpretations
- aerial photographs
- from satellite images
Geomorphological mapping
M. Panizza – Geomorfologia La Nuova Italia Scientifica, Roma, 2007
F. Dramis – Geografia Fisica – Piccin, Padova, 2005
Materials provided by the teacher.
The student will be required to prepare all the topics covered during the course for an oral exam.The weight of the grade will be 70% of the total.
The test in the laboratory it is made of a geomorphological interpretation of the land through the analysis of aerial photographs. The interpretation of aerial photographs will take place by GIS. Through this tool will also be produced geomorphological maps that highlight the morphogenetic processes and related diagnostic forms. The weight of the grade will be 30% of the total.
The two grades will be integrated.
Lectures followed by practical exercises in the laboratory and field trip.
The laboratory sessions include the following topics:
- Chemical analysis of soils.
- Introduction to the use of GIS software; interpretation of aerial photographs by GIS; construction of geomorphological maps.
Field trip with observations of forms and processes of several environments.

Attendance to lectures, especially laboratory exercises and filed trip is recommended.

This subject deals with topics related to the macro-area "Climate change and energy" and contributes to the achievement of one or more goals of U. N. Agenda for Sustainable Development

Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 20/04/2020