88452 - Mountain Geomorphology

Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Geology and Territory (cod. 9073)

Learning outcomes

The aim of this course is to provide knowledge on process and Quaternary geomorphology, with a focus on mountain environments. The course examines aspects of sediment supply and sediment transfer, including hillslope-channel interactions, the role of hydro-meteorogical forcing on the intensity and typology geomorphic transport processes. It also deals with sediment management in the Anthropocene, including the impacts of in-channel engineering infrastructures and landcover changes. Sediment yield and sediment storage in natural and regulated systems are also discussed, as well as the role of Pleistocene glaciations on the present spatial organization of geomorphic processes and sediment fluxes. In this context, the course further examines dating landforms and constraining denudation rates at millennial time scales. The lab-based component introduces students to expert-based mapping of sediment sources and channel changes, as well as glacial and periglacial landforms on remotely-sensed images to build georeferenced databases for geo-hazard assessment. The field-based component illustrates techniques for field-based mapping, characterizing channel bed texture, as well as monitoring water and sediment fluxes. The discussion is fostered by a literature review on selected topics that will vary from year to year. Finally, analysis of data collected in the field is performed by groups of students, in peparation of a short technical report.

Course contents

The course will be taught by Francesco Brardinoni (University of Bologna), with guest lectures given by Prof. Marwan Hassan (University of British Columbia), and by other foreign faculty members.

Attendance is limited to a maximum of 12 students due to logistical and security reasons linked to fieldwork activities scheduled for the course.

Selection of the candidates will be based on:

1 - Student's grades in exams related to geomorphology, hydrology and GIS. Students who have conducted their own undergraduate thesis in similar topics are particularly encouraged to apply.

2 - A short and informal interview that aims at exploring student's: (i) skills in English comprehension and communication; (ii) motivation/interest in working in hillslope and fluvial geomorphology.

The short and informal interview will take place via Teams in the first week of March (date to be determined).

Students wishing to attend the course are kindly asked to send an email message to francesco.brardinoni@unibo.it to set up an appointment in person with Dr. Brardinoni in person.

The course will be offered in the form of a compact summer school, with five 2-hour weekly meetings starting after Easter 2024, followed by a 5 consecutive days of practical activities (a week between the end of May and the first half of June 2024 - actual dates are yet to be decided to avoid overlapping with other field camps).

TOPICS will include: landslide mapping, landslide sediment delivery to stream channels, channel morphology, hydraulic geometry, channel bed texture, particle tracking, sediment transport, historical anthropogenic impacts on mountain drainage basins and basin-scale sediment management.

ACTIVITIES include lectures in class, one-day field excursion, 3-day field data collection, 2-day field data analysis and oral presentation of the results. Field activities will take place in the Sillaro River basin. A field trip to visit the Marecchia River canyon is also foreseen.

During field data collection, analysis and presentation of the results, students will work in groups of 3-4.


A reading list is currently under construction

Office hours

See the website of Francesco Brardinoni