Course code:



IM - Introductory/Intermediate

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • QR - Quantitative Reasoning
  • ES - Environmental Science

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Upon occasion

Various climatic and tectonic processes such as erosion and active mountain building are continuously shaping Earth’s diverse landscapes. We can describe these processes both qualitatively and quantitatively in order to understand the rates and timescales over which different landscapes develop and evolve. In this course, students will first learn about the processes forming and shaping landscape features (geomorphology) and then practice describing these processes quantitatively using multiple types of datasets. We will compare the iconic glacially carved landscape of MDI and Acadia National Park with other similarly formed landscapes (e.g. Yosemite National Park), which are currently located in different climates/tectonics environments and therefore are exposed to different active processes. Students will learn about various isotopic dating methods and use real data to calculate the rates of different geomorphic process: glacial advance/retreat, tectonic activity along faults, mountain building. Further, students will combine temporal and spatial data to quantitatively and qualitatively describe the different geomorphic hazards in a given region such as mass-wasting events (landslides, debris flows, rock falls, etc.). Students will be evaluated based on their performance on problem sets, quizzes, and a final project involving a more in depth study of a particular landscape of interest. This course does not have any prerequisites, however previous introductory geology, chemistry, and math courses will be beneficial. This course will make extensive use of algebra, exponentials, logarithms, and digital spreadsheets (using Excel or similar software). 


Previous introductory geology, chemistry, and math courses will be beneficial; permission of instructor required.

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.