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290026 VU Earth Surface Dynamics: Landforms, Processes and Materials (Focus: Human Impact) (2021W)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 29 - Geographie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 50 participants
Language: English



4.11.2021, 11.11.2021, 18.11.2021, 25.11.2021, 2.12.2021, 9.12.2021, 16.12.2021, 13.1.2022, 20.1.2022, 27.1.2022, 10.2.2022, 1:15 - 2:45 pm in the MM Lab (NOTE: after the end of the course on 2.45 pm the room is booked to stay there until 4.30 pm and the course instructor will be there for assistance). Please note that only the first session is mandatory.


Aims, contents and method of the course

The aim of this course is to explore in-depth concepts relating to earth surface dynamics. This term, the focus of the course will be a deep dive into the use of modelling to understand earth surface dynamics with a specific focus on human impacts. Using topical events as a background to introduce the fundamentals of the use of modelling, students will be given the opportunity to use modelling software with the end goal modelling landslides from Austria and New Zealand.

Assessment and permitted materials

Assessment will be ongoing throughout the course in the form of an oral presentation, written assignments and exams. Attendance and contribution to discussion during of a minimum number of sessions will also be assessed

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The mark is based on points. The max. number of points are 100. To obtain a positive grade, the following minimum requirements have to be met:
20 points oral presentation
50 points written assignments
20 points exams
10 points attendance and discussion

Key for the grades:
>=88 points: very good
87-76 points: good
75-63 points: satisfying
62-51 points: sufficient
< 51 points: not sufficient

Examination topics

Examination will cover all material provided in the form of presentations by the lecturer during the course

Reading list

Mergili, M., Emmer, A., Juricová, A., Cochachin, A., Fischer, J.-T., Huggel, C., and Pudasaini, S. P. ( 2018) How well can we simulate complex hydro-geomorphic process chains? The 2012 multi-lake outburst flood in the Santa Cruz Valley (Cordillera Blanca, Perú). Earth Surf. Process. Landforms, 43: 1373 1389. doi: 10.1002/esp.4318.

Mergili, M. and Fischer, J.-T. and Krenn, J. and Pudasaini, S. P. (2017) r.avaflow v1, an advanced open-source computational framework for the propagation and interaction of two-phase mass flows. Geoscientific Model Development (10) 2: 553-569. doi: 10.5194/gmd-10-553-2017

Beguería S. (2006) Validation and Evaluation of Predictive Models in Hazard Assessment and Risk Management. Natural Hazards 37:315329. doi: 10.1007/s11069-005-5182-6

Fell R, Corominas J, Bonnard C, et al (2008) Guidelines for landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk zoning for land use planning. Engineering Geology 102:85-98. doi: 10.1016/j.enggeo.2008.03.022

Guzzetti F, Mondini AC, Cardinali M, et al (2012) Landslide inventory maps: New tools for an old problem. Earth-Science Reviews 112:42-66. doi: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2012.02.001
Venables W., N, Smith, D, M (2009) An Introduction to R (2nd ed.). Network Theory Ltd.

Lovelace R., Nowosad J., Muenchow J., (2019) Geocomputation with R (1st ed.). Chapman and Hall/CRC. ISBN: 9781138304512

Goudie, A. Human Impact on the Natural Environment. 8th edition. Wiley, 2018.

Szabó, J. et al. Anthropogenic Geomorphology. Springer, 2010.

Shroder et al. Geomorphology of Human Disturbances, Climate Change, and Hazards. Treatise on Geomorphology,
Academic Press, 2013.

Association in the course directory

(MG-S1-PI.m, Block A) (MG21 PF/APF SURFSPEC) (MA UF GW 02)

Last modified: Mo 04.10.2021 14:10