Geog 312 -- Geography of Landforms -- Study Guide

The following is an outline of the lectures, for the entire semester. There are three exams, distributed roughly equally with one third of the material on each exam. The breaks between material covered by each exam will be announced in class prior to each exam. Know processes, landform features, and geographic examples.

Introduction -- The Science of Geomorphology

Megageomorphology & Endogenic Processes

Earth Structure

  • Internal Structure -- core/mantle/crust: density, composition; oceanic vs. continental crust (thickness, density & age)
  • Asthenosphere vs. Lithosphere
  • Isostasy -- Airy or Pratt
  • Continental Drift & Plate Tectonics

  • The Theory of Continental Drift -- Wegener & various lines of evidence
  • Sea Floor Spreading -- concept of spreading centers, deep ocean trenches/subduction zones, age of oceanic crust as evidence
  • The Plate Tectonics Paradigm
  • Divergent Plate Boundaries -- spreading centers, ridges, mafic rocks, volcanism, Iceland
  • Convergent Plate bdys -- oceanic\oceanic; oceanic\cont; cont\cont; subduction, collision, sutures, relationship to volcanism, Andes, Cascades, Aleutians, Japan, etc.
  • Shear Plate bdys -- transform faults, San Andreas
  • General Conclusions - What does Plate Tectonics Explain?
  • Impact of Successive Plate Tectonic Events -- old collisions, old continents
  • Major Continental Features -- trailing vs leading edge, North America
  • Residuals of previous plate tectonic events -- old suture zones, mountain ranges, Urals, Appalachians
  • Rift Zones, midoceanic ridges, East African
  • Hot Spots, Hawai'i
  • Mountain Ranges & Mountain-Building:

  • Orogeny & Uplift
  • Cause of Uplift
  • Isostatic Equilibrium -- glacial and sediment isostatic rebound
  • Volcanism

    Products of Volcanism

  • lava -- pahoehoe, aa, blocky, pillow
  • pyroclastics or tephra -- ash, lapilli/cinder, blocks, bombs, tuff
  • volatiles -- water vapor, CO2, sulfur gases, fumaroles, solfataras, geysers/hot springs
  • Mixtures -- other flows -- nuées ardente, lahar
  • Igneous Rocks of lava & tephra -- mafic to silicic: basalt/gabbro, andesite/diorite, dacite/granodiorite, rhyolite/granite. Relate to plate tectonics.
  • Magma types and eruptive character: most effusive basaltic to most explosive rhyolitic.
  • Landforms produced by volcanoes

    Flood Basalts -- effusive, valley fills, plateaus like Columbia, Modoc, Deccan

    Central Vent (pipe) Eruptions and Volcanic Cones

    Craters & Calderas -- morphometry (3x)

    Plutonism : Intrusive Igneous Activity



    Metamorphic Rocks: (origin, original rock, resistance to weathering): slate, schist, gneiss, marble, quartzite


    Chemical Weathering

  • Solution
  • Hydration
  • Hydrolysis
  • Carbonation
  • Oxidation
  • Products of Chemical Weathering
  • Mechanical weathering

  • Unloading/Dilatation/Exfoliation
  • Thermal expansion/contraction
  • Freeze/thaw ... and fissility/porosity
  • Crystal growth in voids
  • Hydration shattering/expansion weathering
  • Root Growth
  • Weathering and its Effects on Landforms

  • Structure -- fissility, massive rocks, granular rocks, case hardening, tafoni
  • Process
  • Time -- rate of weathering
  • Slopes: Mass Wasting