watersheds icon Geography 547
Fluvial Geomorphology
Home Page  (Fall 2017)


  TTH 1:15 - 2:30 pm
Callcott Building, Room 202
Instructor: Dr. Allan James AJames@sc.edu; 77 7-6117 

Course Mechanics and Grades (pdf)
Lecture Schedule (pdf)

Course Description

 This course examines river and floodplain processes, forms, restoration, and management.  The primary objective is to develop an understanding of how discharges of water and sediment in streams interact with river landforms to affect flooding, sedimentation, erosion, and loss of aquatic biodiversity.  The time scales considered range from intra-annual to the Quaternary.  The course emphasizes linkages between erosion and deposition, sediment transport and storage, recognizing processes from the resulting channel and floodplain landforms, interactions with flood hazards, and conventional methods of analysis.  River channels are dynamic systems that convey water, sediment, and non-point source pollution from watersheds.  Humans have significantly altered most river systems, so anthropogenic changes and the mitigation of those changes (river restoration, rehabilitiation, and stabilization) are essential topics of the course.  While upland (hillslope) processes control water and sediment loads and drive river channel responses, the emphasis of this course is on the channel systems, ranging from gullies, to tributary streams and major rivers. 
Tools of analysis and concepts will include channel network topology, basic hydraulics, hydraulic geometry, theories of morphological adjustment, channel classification, sediment transport, fluvial sedimentology (lab and field), flood probabilities, and applications of geographic information science (GIS and remote sensing). 
Grades for graduate and undergraduate students will be determined separately.  Evaluation is based on two exams, exercises, and (grads only) a term paper.gravel bar

Readings:  The course will use a textbook, an ebook available from campus computers, and supplemental readings. 
*) There is no primary textbook but we will draw upon a series of readings that will be loaded on Blackboard.
*) Supplementary readings will include selected chapters and published research articles as described on the reading list, which is on the lecture schedule

Grading:   Undergraduates and graduates will be evaluated separately based on two exams, exercises, a field trip, and (grads only) a term paper.              

             Item                       Undergrads            Grads

          Midterm exam                   25%               22%

          Final exam                        30%               23%

          Exercises                          35%               15%

          Attendance                       10%                ----

          Annotated bibliography        ----                10%

          Term paper                      ----                 25%

          Term paper presentation     ----                  5%             

Exams:  Examinations will cover readings and lecture materials.  They will concentrate on materials covered in lecture.  Exams will be in multiple formats including multiple choice, essay, fill-ins, and problem solving.                      

Final Exam: Thursday, Dec.8, 12:30 pm, Rm 202, Callcott

Exercises:  Several weekly exercises will be assigned to expand upon applied aspects of lecture materials.  Late submissions will be penalized and work will not be accepted after graded exercises are returned except under special circumstances.

Written Assignments (graduate students only): 

Graduate students will submit an annotated bibliography with a brief abstract of their proposed term paper by Tuesday, Oct. 11.  Term papers are due Tuesday, Nov. 29.  Details about these assignments will be provided in a handout.

Presentations of term-paper projects (graduate students only): Graduate students will informally present their results to the group in the last week of classes. 



Geomorphology Specialty Group of the Assn American Geographers    
         This site has numerous links to other geomorphic web locations.
         Select 'Resources' on the top menu bar and go to 'Internet Links.'
Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division (QG&G) of the Geological Society of America (GSA)

Gully Stompers Research Team , Possum Trot, South Carolina





Page maintained by Allan James .  Last Updated August 22, 2016.