|Kelin Whipple||Arjun Heimsath||Ramón Arrowsmith||Mark Schmeeckle||Enrique Vivoni|
The Fall 2017 theme is based on a geographic region: Southwest US. We will read, discuss, critique and debate papers presenting disparate view points on key controversies in surface processes, broadly defined: Geomorphology, Hydrology, Ecology, Biogeochemistry of Surface Environments.
(Seminar schedule and information here.)
Textbook: Geomorphology: The Mechanics and Chemistry of Landscapes, Anderson and Anderson, 1st ed. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
The Earth's near surface environment has been termed the "critical zone" as this is the zone that supports most life and because the Earth's surface is the dynamic interface where much of the geologic record is produced. We now know that we face rapid climate change and the consequences of changes in landuse, water resources, and ecosystems. But how will changes to the environment manifest themselves in the critical zone - in the form and function of the Earth's surface (landforms, water resources, soils, natural hazards, ecosystems) - and how will these changes impact us? Critical to planning a response to, or mitigation of, environmental change is an understanding how the Earth surface works - the interaction of physical, chemical and biotic processes in shaping the surface and determining fluid, solute and sediment fluxes.This course offers a quantitative introduction to the form and function of the Earth's surface including the essentials of hydrology (runoff, groundwater), rivers, weathering, soil formation, erosion, slope stability, sediment transport, alluvial and coastal landforms, and ice sheet stability. This project-based course includes GIS analysis, interpretation of remotely sensed imagery, and field investigation (2 weekend trips) of geomorphic phenomena. Lessons learned are directly applicable to investigations of other planetary surfaces.Taught primarily for upper division undergraduates, but open to graduate students interested in a quantitative but introductory class in surface processes and landform evolution. Expectations will differ for graduate students.
Surface processes (e.g., soil formation, runoff, sediment transport, river incision and deposition, glacial erosion and deposition) not only govern the evolution of the landscapes around us, but also constitute the dynamic link between the geologic record and environmental conditions (climate, lithology, vegetative cover, tectonics). In addition, the study of surface processes is essential to understanding natural and environmental hazards in the landscape.The course offers a quantitative introduction to mechanics of fluvial, hillslope, and glacial processes, with emphasis on long-term landscape evolution. Essentials of weathering, soil formation, runoff, erosion, slope stability, sediment transport, river incision, and glacial erosion. System responses to climatic and tectonic forcings, including: glaciation, sea level change, uplift, subsidence, and isostatic rebound. The course stresses field investigation of geomorphic phenomena and the writing of scientific reports. Additional instruction in: computer modeling (Matlab) in the study of surface processes and GIS analysis of digital elevation data. Taught at an advanced level, but open to undergraduates as well as graduate students. Expectations will differ for undergraduates.
Textbook: Principles of Water Resources: History, Development, Management, and Policy, Cech, 3rd ed. Wiley, 2010.
This course offers an overview of the processes that control water supply to natural ecosystems and human civilizations. The course is broken into two parts: Part I is an introduction to the basic science that helps us understand the water planet: Including the hydrologic cycle, glaciers and ice; rivers, oceans, and natural hazards associated with water such as flooding, landsliding and tsunamis. Part II is an overview of some of the management and resource allocation topics that face humanity today: Including droughts, groundwater contamination, impacts on fisheries, conflicts over water, patterns of water use, and effects of global climate change on future water supplies. Throughout the course, water issues facing Arizona and California will be used as examples. Course includes weekly laboratory exercises.
The Earth's near surface environment (the "critical zone") supports most life and is the dynamic interface between the solid Earth and its fluid envelopes where much of the geologic record is produced. We now know that we face rapid climate change and the consequences of changes in land use, water resources, and ecosystems. Critical to planning a response to, or mitigation of, environmental change is understanding how the Earth surface works. Focuses on how changes to the environment manifest themselves in the critical zone--in the form and function of the Earth's surface (landforms, water resources, soils, ecosystems). Offers a quantitative introduction to the form and function of the processes impacting the Earth's critical zone to build an understanding of the interactions of physical, chemical and biotic processes in shaping the surface and determining fluid, solute and sediment fluxes.