Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Clara Armaroli

  • Learning modules Clara Armaroli (Modulo 1)
    Jo Hilaire Agnes De Waele (Modulo 2)

  • Credits 7

  • SSD GEO/04

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures (Modulo 1)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Natural Sciences (cod. 5823)


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student is able to: recognize the different morphogenic processes and related forms; build a geomorphological map.

Course contents

The main purpose of the course is to provide students with the basic knowledge of Geomorphology, through the understanding of the processes that are able to shape the territory. Several case studies will be presented in order to favor a comprehensive understanding of theoretical concepts. The direct observation of processes, morphological features and of the landscape represent an essential tool for understanding the complexity and interdependence of all natural phenomena.

In addition, the course will provide the students with the basic knowledge to identify and describe the main types of rocks through the analysis and observation of rock samples.


The student who accesses this course should have a good knowledge of mathematics and geography. These prerequisites are provided by the basic courses delivered during the first cycle of the first year of the course.

Theoretical content of the teaching unit (Module 1; 5 CFU)

- Introduction to Geomorphology (5 hours): endogenous and exogenous processes and the landscape.

- River geomorphology (6 hours): definitions, fluvial dynamics, sediment transport and erosion and deposition morphologies, influence on the territory operated by rivers, meanders, river course and river terraces.

- Coastal geomorphology (6 hours): definitions, coastal morphodynamics, morphologies of low-lying coasts and their evolution, erosion and deposition processes, dune systems, lagoons and wetlands, deltas and estuaries.

- Slope geomorphology (6 hours): slope evolution, slow and mass movements, landslides and their classification, superficial erosion, slope monitoring and stabilization.

- Glacial morphology (6 hours): definitions, dynamics of glaciers and landscape modeling, forms of erosion and deposition, fluvioglacial processes and forms of erosion and deposition, periglacial morphology.

- Subsidence (5 hours): definitions, natural and anthropogenic subsidence, the main monitoring methods of land subsidence, presentation of case studies (Mississippi delta, Po delta, subsidence in coastal areas).

- Geomorphology of the Anthropocene and Climate Change (6 hours): definitions, human influence on natural and morphogenetic processes, human impact on the environment and landscape.

Practical content of the laboratory unit (2 CFU)

Module 1

- Analysis of topographic maps for the understanding and analysis of the main morphological elements of the landscape.

- Field visits and field activities in which the students will be able to observe some of the main morphologies of the territory presented during the lessons and will therefore be able to strengthen and consolidate their skills.

Module 2

- Laboratories of rocks identification.


At the end of the laboratory unit on the analysis of topographic maps, the students will be requested to take a topographic map reading test. In case of a positive evaluation, the students will receive a bonus of one additional point on the final grade of the exam.

Professors will integrate and/or modify the contents of the theoretical lessons and laboratories, and therefore also the duration of each topic, in relation to the interaction with the students on topics of particular interest.


The .pdf files of the lectures will be made available at the end of each lesson. Students will also find bibliographic references within the course slides.


Suggested books:

1) MARSHAK S. (2004). La terra. Ritratto di un pianeta. Zanichelli Editore.

2) GROTZINGER J., JORDAN T. H. (2016). Capire la terra. Terza edizione italiana condotta sulla settima edizione americana. Zanichelli Editore, Bologna

3) STRAHLER (2015). Fondamenti di geografia fisica, edizione Italiana a cura di E. Lavagna e G. Lucarno. Zanichelli Editore.

4) GOUDIE A.S., VILES H.A. (2016). Geomorphology in the Anthropocene. Cambridge University Press.

Teaching methods

The course consists of lectures and laboratories.

In particular, the laboratories consist of three activities: the analysis of topographic maps for the understanding of the morphological elements of the landscape; field visits and practical exercises in the field; laboratories of rocks identification using hand samples.

For practical activities, students must have attended Moduli 1 and 2 (https://www.unibo.it/it/servizi-e-opportunita/salute-e-assistenza/salute-e-sicurezza/sicurezza-e-salute-nei-luoghi-di-studio-e-tirocinio ) in advance and Modulo 3 on specific training on safety and health in study places.

Assessment methods

The assessment method is through a final written exam. The written exam will focus on the topics covered during the lectures. To access the written test, the student must have passed a rock recognition test (description and identification of three hand samples) which will be held at the end of the laboratory.

Teaching tools

PC, video projector, Power-point presentations, laboratory material (e.g., topographic maps, rock samples, etc.).

Office hours

See the website of Clara Armaroli

See the website of Jo Hilaire Agnes De Waele