Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Experiments in Geomorphology
Originator Alastair Gemmell
Department Department of Geography, University of Aberdeen, Elphinstone Road, Aberdeen, AB24 3UF
Tel. +44 (0)1224 272337
Fax +44 (0)1224 272331


These are laboratory-based student projects taking place in the latter half of a unit in Applied and Engineering Geomorphology. On the basis of the concepts already delivered in lectures, and wider reading, individual students are encouraged to design and carry out an activity which involves generating and analysing data relating to a particular geomorphic process. Successful examples have included the following: freeze/thaw weathering of building material or different rock types; soil erosion under different stages of a (cress) crop; effect of bridge piers on river channel scour; strength required to move ice over different grades of sediment; modelling action of boulders in basal ice - production of conchoidal fractures in bedrock (Smith, 1984).


Learning objectives:

When students have completed the practical exercise they will be able to:
  1. conceive, design and implement a research experiment based upon laboratory work
  2. generate appropriate hypotheses for testing through the experiment
  3. analyse and critically assess data generated by the experiment in terms of the hypotheses
  4. better understand the bases and limitations of existing theory in at least one area of geomorphology
  5. write a well-structured and coherent report of an experiment

Techniques included:

Management of laboratory access:

Student time in the laboratory is managed by the laboratory technician, there is not an access problem


Project write-up is assessed as 33% of the course, the remainder is an examination.


'Doing science'
Experimental design
Laboratory work
Problem solving
Skills development

This is one of the case studies which appears in the GDN Guide "Practicals and Laboratory Work in Geography"

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Page created 28 November 1998
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