Geomorphology and Surficial Processes

Geomorphology examines the characteristics and configuration and evolution of geologic surfaces and land forms. Specifically, geomorphology is concerned with the study of the form and development of landscapes. 


In the Field

One of the cornerstones of geomorphic research is quantitative field research; thus, numerous research projects in geomorphology and surficial processes have extensive field components. Dr. Palucis  examines sediment transport on Mars and the interior United States.  Dr. Magilligan examines the connection between river flooding, climate, and human history in the dry deserts of Peru. Dr. Magilligan and Dr. Renshaw also have active research projects investigating the role of dams in altering sediment transport.

Affiliated Faculty

A number of people are involved in geomorphology and surficial processes research within Department of Earth Sciences at Dartmouth College. These researchers examine a diverse set of research questions related to geomorphology and surficial processes, including the physical and chemical weathering of rocks and mountains, the transport of sediments through rivers to the ocean, and the chemical weathering processes related to soil development.

Meredith Kelly

  • Glacial Geomorphology

Marisa Palucis

  • Surficial Processes and Geomorphology of Earth and Mars

Frank Magilligan

  • Fluvial Geomorphology

Carl Renshaw

  • Hydrology


Groups and Facilities

Studies of surficial processes require laboratory research for the analysis of field samples and other research. Here, we have a variety of laboratory facilities to determine isotopic composition and chemical concentration and speciation for conventional studies. We also have facilities available for mechanistic investigations of chemical weathering and sediment transport. Some of these facilities are explained in more detail in the laboratory section below.

Cosmogenic Lab

A facility led by Dr. Kelly for dating using comogenic methods

The Flume Lab

A facility led by Dr. Palucis for the examination of sediment transport

Short-lived Isotopes Laboratory

A facility led by Dr. Renshaw for the examination of short-lived isotopes