GY301 Syllabus - Applied Geomorphology
Dr. David T. Allison


I. Course


GY 301 Applied Geomorphology



II. Catalog Description


(3 Credits) Principles of landform development as it relates to specific processes (Fluvial erosion, Glacial erosion, etc.), construction of topographic base maps with Alidade/Total Station, GPS navigation and surveying, and rock/mineral resource evaluation. Prerequisite: GY 111. Fee.



III. Course Objectives


The objectives of the course will be to develop skills in landform recognition and interpretation, topographic contouring, map navigation, topographic profiles, fundamental surveying skills with the alidade and total station, and mineral and rock resource calculation. All of these skills will be developed in the field environment as part of the laboratory component. The lecture will provide the theoretical underpinnings of the field methods used in the lab.



IV. Tentative Course Topics


The following chapters will be covered during the semester:



Topographic Base Maps & Closed Traverses
Lect 1: Introduction, course structure; Map scales; Map Projections; Map coordinates; Magnetic declination
Lect 2:  Topographic maps; Digital maps; Pace and Compass with the Pocket Transit
Lab 1: Brunton Compass techniques;  Pace and Compass Closed Traverse exercise (Campus)



WEEK 2: 

Topographic Contour Interpretation & Construction
Lect 3: Construction of contours from elevation data; Computer contouring methods
Lect 4: Topographic profiles with geologic cross sections; Apparent Dips
Lab 2: Height of objects and hand-levelling calculation




Computer Contouring Methods
Lect 5: Using Surfer and Excel
Lect 6 Using Surfer cont....
Lab 3: Topographic contours and profiles




Constructing Geologic Cross-Sections
Lect 7:  Apparent dip calculations
Lect 8: Transferring geologic information from map to cross-section
Lab 4:  Setting up and calibration of the Total Station




GPS Surveying & Navigation
Lect. 9: GPS operating principles and equipment types; limitations of GPS
Lect. 10: Navigation with GPS; Using GPS with GIS
Lab 5: Total Station Campus Map




Total Station Survey Techniques for Topographic Mapping
Lect 11: Total Station instrument components; Total station setup demonstration
Lect 12: Computer interface to Total Station; Topographic data collection with TS
Lab 6:  Total Station Campus Map cont...




Total Station methods continued ...
Lect 13: Integrating geological observations with TS surveys
Lect 14:  Merging TS surveys with digital topographic base maps; Accuracy and precision issues; Quality control with TS surveys
Lab 7: GPS project




Fluvial Landforms
Lect 15: Stages of Stream Development
Lect 16: Specific landform features (Oxbows, levees, cutoffs, floodplains, meanders, etc.)
Lab 8: Recognition of Fluvial Landform features & stages on topographic maps



WEEK 9: 

Arid Landforms
Lect 17: Stages of Arid Landform Development; Landform features;
Lect 18: Block faulting; Fault offset recognition; Stream gradients indicated by contours
Midterm Exam Project (during lab period)



WEEK 10:

Karst Landforms
Lect 19: Stages of Karstic Landform Development
Lect 20: Hydrogeologic gradients; Artesian aquifer systems
Lab 9: Recognition of Karstic Landform Features & Stages



WEEK 11:

Alpine Glacial Landforms
Lect 21: Glacial Budgets; Glacial mechanics; Glacial transport systems 
Lect 22: Alpine  Glacial landform features; Alpine glaciation and denudation of orogenic belts- the connection to plate tectonics
Lab 10: Recognition of Alpine Glaciation Features and Stages



WEEK 12:

Continental Glacial Landforms
Lect 23:  Continental glacial cycles; Causes of continental glaciation
Lect 24: Continental glacial landform features
Lab11:  Recognition of Continental Glaciation Features and Stages



WEEK 13:

Eolian (Wind) Landforms
Lect 25:  Desert climate zones; Dune formation; Rain-shadow zones
Lect 26:  Dune landforms and migration; Loess deposits
Lab 12:  Recognition of Eolian Landforms



WEEK 14:

North American Physiographic Provinces
Lect 27:  Appalachian Landforms and Provinces; Cratonic Landforms
Lect 28:  Cordilleran Landforms and Provinces
Lab 13:  Recognition and Nomenclature of Appalachian & Cordilleran Physiography



WEEK 15:

Tectonic Interactions with Landscapes and Climate
Lect 29:  Earth's Climate Zones; Rain-shadow effects; Orographic lifting
Lect 30:  Wilson Cycle and World Climate; Carbon geochemical cycle and global climate effects; Review for Lecture Final Exam
  Lab  Final Exam (Lab period)



FINAL EXAM- consult schedule of classes for time and place.




V. Text (Required)


LECTURE: Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T., Press, F. and  Siever, R.,  2007, Understanding Earth (5th ed.), W.H. Freeman and Co.,  New York, ISBN 0-7167-6682-5





VI. Procedures for Assessing Student Performance




Grade Calculation Percentages:


Attendance   10%


Weekly lab assignments 50%


Midterm Test   20% 


Final Exam   20% (see schedule of classes for date, time and room #)


Grading: A=90+, B=89-80, C=79-70, D=69-60, F= <60




Changes in Course Requirements:


Since all classes do not progress at the same rate, the instructor may wish to modify the above requirements or their timing as circumstances dictate. For example, the instructor may wish to change the number and frequency of exams, or the number and sequence of assignments. Students will be given adequate notification of such changes. Although course  requirements may be  modified,  they will still  preserve the original course objectives and spirit.



VII. Instructor for Course & Policies


Instructor: David Allison
Office: Room 344 LSB
Office Hours: will be posted on office door






It is up to you to examine the rocks and minerals and other materials that are assigned in this course. You may do this during the lab periods and/or outside of normal university hours. (The laboratory room is left unlocked at all hours). Everything you are assigned in the labs is testable on the lab exams.




Missed exams\ lateness penalty\attendance:


The reason for producing a syllabus is to give students advanced notice of exams and assignment due dates. Translation: there is no excuse for turning lab assignments in late. As such you will receive an "0" if you do not turn in your lab assignment by the due date. If you have a legitimate excuse for missing an exam (i.e. medical problem), you will be permitted to complete a make-up during the last week of classes provided that you show me a signed certificate from a physician stating that it was impossible for you to make the exam. The make up exam will consist of  essay questions .

It seems that a good number of people who take courses feel they do not have to attend the lectures.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Much of the material we will discuss will not be covered in the text book and if you miss the lectures, you will miss this material. Attendance is mandatory and assessable in GY 111 (it's worth 10% of your grade).  I will reduce your attendance percentage if you have more than 4 unexcused absences (approximately 10% of the lectures).  If you have 8 or more unexcused absences (approximately 20% of the lectures) you will receive 0% for attendance.  Note: I will base you attendance on the class roll I record at the start of the class.  If you missed the roll because you were late, it is up to you to notify me before the end of the class.  If your name is not on that roll, you will be marked absent. There will be no exceptions to this attendance policy.




Honor Policy:


Plagiarism and cheating are not permitted in this class. In fact, either of them will result in severe embarrassment to you and quite possibly an "0" for the assignment or exam in question if you are caught in the act. If you are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism or cheating, speak to me about it. This policy is the same as in the USA student handbook and bulletin, consult them for more information regarding the honor policy at USA




Disability Policy :


In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with bona fide disabilities will be afforded reasonable accommodation. The Office of Special Student Services will certify a disability and advise faculty members of reasonable accommodations. If you have a specific disability that qualifies you for academic accommodations, please notify me, the instructor/professor, and provide certification from Disability Services, Office of Special Student Services. The Office of special Student Services is directed by Ms. Bernita Pulmas and is located in the Student Center, room 270. the phone number is 460-7212.




Computer Access Policy


Students are required to have access to a computer with certain minimum capabilities such as internet access. Internet access will be used to access assignments and other course materials. This is a university requirement for all students- for more information on this policy please refer to the USA Bulletin. 



VIII. Bibliography


Grotzinger, J., Jordan, T., Press, F. and  Siever, R.,  2007, Understanding Earth (5th ed.), W.H. Freeman and Co.,  New York, ISBN 0-7167-6682-5
David Allison Home Page
USA Undergraduate Bulletin
University of South Alabama
Last modified: 8/14/2008