GEOMORPHOLOGY (GEOL 151) -- Class Plan with Learning Goals, Fall 2005
DUE Monday Date Monday Class   DUE Wednesday
Date Wednesday Class   Specific skills and knowledge gains   Broader learning goals Wed assignment geowall activity Monday resources Wed Resources and transport needed special things ADD MORE web resources Transport for Wed
CL = use computer lab  
nothing 29-Aug
Introductory class; we will fill out consent forms as well as complete knowledge and attitude surveys after a brief introduction to the class structure and content.   Review



Geolocating techniques lab - We will use maps, GPS, and walking tour through the gully behind Delehanty Hall and on to the Winooski River as an introduction to the local river landscape and to GPS mapping skills. We will pass landslides, core trees, see a retention pond, use old megaslide images to see change over time and walk back up to campus via the river overlook. We will consider how this landscape has changed over time from 14,000 years ago until today.
  By the end of this week, you should be able to use GPS to map locations in field, plot GPS-derived locations on a topographic map, read a topographic map, measure distance on map, measure distance with GPS, be familiar with operation of a Garmin 12, be able to plot, read, and use UTM coordinates to calculate a distance between two points.   By the end of this week, you should understand how GPS technology works, understand map plotting and coordinate systems, see a local example of the slope/stream/river continuum, become aware that landscapes change over time, be able to explain several ways that people influence landscapes and landscapes influence people, and recognize how images can be used as a data source for understanding landscape process, pattern and history. Map exercise (pairs) - find places, record coordinates, measure distances on map, with GPS, and UTM coordinates. Fill in the blanks. none Survey taken on line in grad lab, paul's office and main lab (n=28 computers). Paper consent forms. Paper sylabbi and class plan 14 garmin-12 units; laminated maps with UTM. written exercise; images of riverside ave landslides. 28 Batteries for GPS. Engrave, flagging. need computer lab for surveys Monday; need computer lab for intro wed.
on foot    
nothing 5-Sep No Class - Labor Day   Do Learning Landscapes, module 1, Why rivers?

Read Demands and Disposal, p. 167-174, from Water, Rivers, and Creeks, Leopold

Read A River, from Encounters with the Archdruid, McPhee
7-Sep Putting rivers in a human context - We will see both a hydroelectric plant and sewage treatment plant. We will take a tour of these facilities in order to learn how they work and how they effect the river.   By the end of this week, you should begin to be able to parse photographic images and understand their landscape content, begin to be familiar with the Learning Landscapes web site, understand how both hydroelectric and sewage treatment plants work, and understand the specific and more general effects of these types of plants on rivers beyond the borders of Vermont.
  By the end of this week, you should understand the spectrum of uses of rivers, begin to understand concepts of energy and mass transfer into and out of rivers as well as human impact on river systems. writing exercise (alone) - explain function of both sewer and hydro power plants. Then, describe the effect each has on rivers. 250 to 300 words. Short anwers here, GPS distance, river distance. Pull point off map and calc distance. none   Hard hatsÉmake exercise. Get map and plot. Get and laminate historic images.     BUS - Burlington and Winooski or Essex    
Do Learning Landscapes, module 2, Shapes 12-Sep River morphology and process class; we will review the most important elements of river taxonomy, consider the graded profile and examine the germane processes that control the shape of river channels. We will consider the impact of floods and tectonic setting on river channels.   Read Streams and Drainage Systems in The Dynamic Earth, Skinner and Porter, p. 217-239. 14-Sep Winooski River float trip - We will be floating the Winooski River in canoes in order to practice identifying fluvial forms and processes. We will be mapping the location of these forms and our route using GPS.   By the end of this week, you should be able to recognize important fluvial landforms in photographs and in the field and use GPS to plot their locations on a map. You should be able to recognize evidence for past changes in river discharge and stage as well as current and past uses of rivers. You should be able to identify human modification to a river and river corridor as well as the impacts of one river on human constructs.
  By the end of this week, you should be able to understand spatial relationships between different fluvial landforms in the field, tell simple landscape history stories based on observing field evidence, have a better local sense of place, and a sense of how the Winooski River functions as a link between land and lake. You should understand that rivers are dynamic and change over time leaving evidence of past behavior. writing/mapping/image exercise (in canoe groups) - describe 3 river forms from trip and illustrate with image from website, give GPS coordinates and include a map with sites identified river stereoviews   9 or 10 canoes, trailers and drivers, drop off place, pick up at lake. VANS tooth and alley lectures (3), Monday, Wed, Thursday; 2 out of 3, attendance sheets   VANS - Winooski and Burlington    
Do Learning Landscapes, module 3, Conveyors 19-Sep
Fluxes of water, sediment, and elements; we will prepare for lab by introducing the instrumentation we will be using as well as the type of calculations we will be making. We will set our measurements in context by examining flux data from other watersheds.   Read A Manual of Field Hydrology, Sanders, p. 49-74 21-Sep River monitoring lab - We will visit the Huntington River in order to learn how to characterize the channel and measure the discharge of water, sediment and dissolved constituents.
  By the end of the week, you should know how to use an auto level and tape to measure a channel cross-section as well as a flow meter to measure velocity. Using both field and lab data, you should be able to make a discharge calculation for water, suspended sediment, and dissolved load as well as be facile with Manning's equation including the ability to calculate a roughness value. You should be able to identify bankful stage in the field and find evidence of the height to which water rose in past floods.
  By the end of the week, you should understand the concepts of flux (for water, sediment, and dissolved load), dimensional analysis, velocity and discharge. You should begin to feel more comfortable with the idea of using simple mathematical models to represent complex natural systems. You should be able to recognize and explain spatial variability of water flow patterns in the field. calculating exercise (alone) - calculate discharge and mass flux from ICP work, Manning's n, suspended sediment load none   6 working flow meters, auto levels, BUS OR VANS sample bottles, tapes; dye need ICP running for chem, need filter for samples   BUS - Huntington    
Do Learning Landscapes, module 4, Interactions 26-Sep River interactions; rivers interact with the solid earth, the atmosphere, the biosphere and human civilization. We'll examine the most important of these interactions including both descriptive features (such as the hydrograph) and the generation of floods in a variety of ways. Read Atchafalaya, from Control of Nature, McPhee

Read, Unearthing New Truths, Christopher
28-Sep River interaction lab - We will visit a now-abandoned dam site and observe the sediments left in the mill pond. We'll use a variety of techniques to estimate the volume of these materials. We will then examine the stream looking for evidence of more natural means of sediment retention, such as damming by large wood debris. By the end of the week, you should be able to identify abandoned mill dams in the field and recognize the sediments such dams trap in their ponds. You should be able to recognize woody debris in a stream and know its physical and ecological functions. You should be able to map the extent of a river sediment deposit and estimate its volume. By the end of the week, you should be able to explain both the immediate and delayed response of a river to damming as well as understand importance of biotic/abiotic interactions in controlling river behavior. GPS-based map, exercise with volume calculations dams, floods BUS OR VANS find the mill site!!!! Colonial Mill Ponds of Lancaster County Pennsylvania as a Major Source of Sediment Pollution to the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay, Merritts and Walter. BUS - Bolton
Do Learning Landscapes, module 5, Changes 3-Oct Rivers through time; rivers are dynamic systems that change over time. We'll examine some of these changes and how we as geologists detect them by a variety of direct and indirect dating techniques, including soil development and radiometric dating (14-C and 10-Be). We will explain how soils form and fundamentals of describing soils in the field.
  Read Soils and Soil formation, in Geology, Chernicoff

Read, Henry's Land, from The Earth Around Us, Bierman
5-Oct Terrace and soils lab - We will work on terraces (paleo-floodplains) of the Huntington River. On each terrace, we will dig and describe a soil pit. We will use the soils to help us learn about time. We will use the stratigraphy exposed in the pits to tell us more about the environment in which the river deposited the sediment we see.   By the end of the week, you should be able to make a basic description of a soil pit including delineating horizons and describing soil textures and colors. You should be able to recognize river terraces in the field, use GPS to map locations in field, and use differential GPS to map elevations in the field with high precision.   By the end of the week, you should be able to understand and describe soil-forming processes, understand what a soil chronosequence is and why it is important, and be able to explain how differential GPS works. You should be able to create a river landscape history based on what you see in a series of soil pits dug on terraces. Soil logs and a summary of the pits as a whole and what they tell us about the history of the Huntington River. river terraces, flood deposits   Audubon permission; BUS OR VANS     BUS - Huntington    
nothing 10-Oct First hour exam;   Do image description module

Read Old images record landscape change through time, GSA Today, April 2005, Bierman and others,
Image analysis workshop - We will be teaming with graduate students from UVM's historical preservation program for this afternoon and will be working together to refine our image description and interpretation skills. Be prepared to teach historians what you know about rivers and be prepared to learn a lot about the cultural landscape from the historians.

Later today, we will introduce the final project, an effort that is designed to help you synthesize what you have learned and improve your public presentation skills.
  By the end of the week, you should be able to accurately parse images, describing past and present landscape features and processes. You should be able to begin to date images using cultural clues and should be able to recognize major types of bridges and architecture related to river landscapes. You should understand how and why these particular types of structures, that make up the built environment, were developed in response to river processes.
  By the end of this week, you should be able to read a landscape history (both natural and cultural) from both imagery and in the field. You should be able to find clues about how that landscape has changed over time, how people have interacted with the landscape, and how the river landscape will affect people and their constructs in the future. Formal image description and key wording (group) maybe example of river area?   need space to do this workshop, 3 hours (del?); 40 something people     none    
nothing 17-Oct NO CLASS, GSA - project time   none 19-Oct NO CLASS, GSA - project time   By the end of this week, you should have completed your independent field work, relocated the original image site, done rephotography, and begun your historical research.   By the end of this week, you should have begun collating a diverse body of information into coherent history of the landscape you choose. You should understand the germane processes (both natural and cultural) that shaped that landscape.

none none   None     none    
Use as a resource:

Submit initial project data
24-Oct Hillslopes - erosion: slides and flows; we will examine the means and rates at which hillslopes erode shedding sediment. We will consider relevant physical processes on a variety of time and spatial scales.
  Read LA against the mountains from Control of Nature, McPhee 26-Oct Investigating landslides and erosion - We will visit two local mass movements, Townline Brook and the landslide/debris track behind the former Riverside Glass building. At each, we will examine the geometry of the failure, the material that failed, and the means by which material is removed from the eroding area so as to allow future erosion. We may visit the Stowe gully?
  By the end of this week, you should be able to predict the places where hillslopes are most likely to erode, how rates of hillslope erosion are measured, and the processes by which slopes erode. In the field, you should be able to identify the location of active and past landslides as well as describe the geologic materials that are failing. You should be able to describe the processes by which material is removed from the eroding areas.
  By the end of this week, you should be able to explain the interactions between earth materials and landscape form that drive erosion. You should be able to link physical processes to specific landscape shapes that you see in the field and estimate the erosion hazard for a landscape based on field observations. Writing (alone) - short answer with stratigraphic columns landslide air photos and stereoviews   BUS OR VANS     BUS - Winooski and Burlington    
View great simulations:
31-Oct Hillslopes - simple mathematical models of a complex reality; we will develop from the underlying physics, several analytical models used to describe the stability (or instability) of Earth materials perhaps using some in class demonstrations.
  Read Landslides and mass wasting in Geology and the Environment, Pipkin, p.158-187. 2-Nov
Slope stability model construction and sensitivity analysis lab - We will build a simple slope stability model in Excel then move on to testing more elaborate models for their sensitivity to changing field conditions of slope, water table, and material properties.   By the end of this week, you should understand the simple mathematical equations describing slope stability and be able to translate these equations into a model run on Excel. You should be able to perform and understand a sensitivity analysis of such a model. The importance of water, in terms of head (water level in the soil) should be clear to you.
  By the end of the week, you should understand how a simple physical model can be used to understand better a complex natural system. Using sensitivity analysis, you should understand how such models can be applied to understanding specific field situations and the response of landscapes to either human or natural perturbations. Lab exercise (alone) none         none    
Use as a resource: 7-Nov Glaciers - climate change and history; we will examine the last several million years of changing climate concentrating on the record of glaciers as they came and went across North America.   Read Pleistocene Mountain Glaciation, Wagner, GSAB, August 1970.

Read Loso and others, Composition, morphology and genesis of a moraine-like feature in the Miller Brook Valley, Vermont in Northeastern Geology and Environmental Science, 1998.
9-Nov Examining glacial deposits trip - We will examine a series of glacial deposits and effects including striated rock, till, outwash, and deltaic material. If snow conditions permit, we will visit an area thought by some to be an alpine glacial deposit.   By the end of this week, you should be able to recognize glacially deposited sediments in the field, be able to tell the late Pleistocene history of New England, recognize striated rock, measure the orientation of striations, and infer the flow direction of now-vanished glacial ice.   By the end of this week, you should understand that Earth's climate changes over time triggering a response on Earth's surface; recognize that sediments and landforms are relict and reflect conditions/processes no longer active; deduce landscape history from fragmentary evidence; argue your point of view based on geologic field evidence and reading of scientific literature.
Writing (opinion paper) none   BUS OR VANS     BUS- Huntington, Richmond, stowe    
Use as a resource: 14-Nov Glaciers - physical behavior; we will examine the physical behavior of glaciers in terms of accumulation, ablation, and flow. We will investigate the material properties of ice and the simple equations used to describe its behavior.
  Read Glaciers and Glaciation, in Skinner and Porter, The Dynamic Earth, p. 263-287. 16-Nov
Modeling glacier behavior lab - We will use simple mathematical models to recreate the Laurentide ice sheet and topographic map data to determine the dynamics of now-vanished cirque glaciers.   By the end of this week, you should be recognize cirques and moraines on maps and in air photographs. Using these data and your knowledge of glacier behavior, you should calculate climate-sensitive parameters for now-vanished ice as well as model ice sheet profiles.
  By the end of this week, you should understand that the behavior and climate sensitivity of complex ice sheets can be modeled by simple equations based on physical parameters. Using map/and or field evidence, you should be able to recreate plausible versions of former ice masses. ELA calculation lab (not with Mansfield) moraine air photos, ice sheet air photos? Email dougÉ.ree world lab         none    
nothing 21-Nov Second hour exam

  nothing 23-Nov NO CLASS - Thanksgiving Holiday   NA   NA   none         none    
Use as a resource: 28-Nov Endogenic forcing - volcanoes and tectonics; we will examine how Earth's internal heat engine forces surface processes on a variety of scales, most of them larger than the landscapes we live in.   Read Heimey from Control of Nature, McPhee

Bring 5 copies of your completed 11x17 poster draft to class
30-Nov World mapping exercise - We will finish the course at the large scale, analyzing remote sensed images and identifying germane patterns and processes of the landscape.
  By the end of this week, you should be able to recognize major volcanic and tectonic landforms as well as describe the near-surface processes that form them. You should be able to relate volcanic landforms and products to magma composition and attendant process. Similarly, you should recognize the landscapes common to each of the three major plate tectonic boundaries.
  By the end of this week, you should understand how endogenic processes shape the large scale morphology of Earth's surface. You should be able to explain tectonic and volcanic controls on surface processes and resulting landforms. in class work (team) st helens, rainier, Hawaii air photos and satellite views, world topo   volcanoes book none    
Submit via webct final PowerPoint printing file for poster 5-Dec Feedback - this period will be dedicated to understanding how the class worked for you and ways to improve it in the future   Get ready to explain your poster

Prepare potluck lunch offering
7-Dec Public poster session - We will gather as a group to present, discuss, critique and celebrate the work you have done over the semester. You will have a chance both the present your work and to inquire of others when they are presenting.
  By the end of this week, you should know what it takes to prepare and present a professional poster to your peers for critique. You will gain experience in layout, text writing, and graphics development. You will critique the work of others.   By the end of this week, you will be able to pull together various bits of knowledge and, extracting those which are of importance to others, create a coherent scientific and cultural analysis of a landscape over time. None none         none    
version 1, 8/31/05