Fall 2023 - GEOG 213 D100

Introduction to Geomorphology (3)

Class Number: 3616

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Thu, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

    Oct 28 – Oct 29, 2023: Sat, Sun, 12:00 a.m.–11:59 p.m.
    Location: TBA

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 11, 2023
    Mon, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Instructor:

    Jonathan Cripps
    Office: TBD
    Office Hours: Wednesday (10 am – 1 pm, 2 pm to 4 pm) with bookable 15 minute appointments (11 am – 1 pm, 2 pm – 4 pm). Drop in 10 – 11 am, or if instructor is available. By appointment outside of these times if necessary.
  • Prerequisites:

    GEOG 111 or EASC 101.



An exploration of the processes that shape Earth's surface and the landforms that result. Quantitative/Breadth-Science.


The landscape around us is a product of many processes; it was uplifted by tectonics, then worn down by the weather, by water, by ice and by gravity. Understanding these processes allows us to better place our societies within our physical environment. We can determine how valuable soils and sediments are created and moved around the landscape. We can better predict hazards such as landslides, floods, and coastal erosion. We can learn how past climate is recorded in the landscape, and how future climate will leave its mark.

In this course, we will explore a range of geomorphic processes, focussing primarily on the landscapes of BC and western North America. You will explore some of these landscapes one two 1-day field trip (Sea-to-Sky and Fraser Valley), for which you will produce a poster, outlining the key concepts at one of the stops. Lab exercises will focus on identifying and analysing landforms using cartography, aerial photographs and numerical data.

NOTE:   This is a quantitative course; a small number of assignments require grade 10 level mathematics (unit conversion, simple algebra and trigonometry).

Course structure

  • Weekly 2-hour lecture
  • Bi-weekly (x5) lab exercises
  • 2-day field trip leading to submission of a poster assignment
  • Group field trip pre-reading exercise introducing a key site on the trip.
  • In person Midterm and Final Exam

Field trip details:

There will be 2 x 1-day field trips for this course over the weekend of October 28-29. The trips will depart at 8:00 am each morning, with return planned by 6:00 pm. Attendance on both trips is mandatory and leads to completion of the poster assignment. If you are unable to attend either or both of these trips, you may have to consider delaying taking this course. Your mandatory supplementary course fee covers part of the transportation costs for this trip. Additionally, students should expect to pay up to $100 to the Geography Department to cover the remaining transportation costs; this additional fee will be confirmed in the first 3 weeks of classes. Students will be responsible for their own food costs throughout the trip; stops to buy lunch are planned for both trips. Expectations and considerations regarding safety, student conduct, required equipment, meals and accommodation will be discussed in class prior to trip. Be aware that during the field trip there will be periods of hiking and walking alongside highways; students must follow all instructions from teaching and support staff. Weather conditions will be highly variable; appropriate footwear and clothing must be worn. Students must at all times remain compliant with all student responsibilities, regulations, and policies as outlined in the current Academic Calendar, as well as relevant regulations and policies as outlined in the SFU Policy Gazette. This includes, but is not limited to, expected student conduct and the maintenance of appropriate medical insurance coverage. Students will sign a field activity plan to acknowledge the trip activities and risk, and an Assumption of Risk (waiver) form.


  • Lab Assignments*: Range of exercises to develop research and analysis skills within geomorphology, drawing on lecture knowledge and understanding. Minimum of 4 of 5 labs must be completed to pass the course; missing labs count as zero. 25%
  • Group Journal Reading Exercise: In small groups, read an academic journal article relevant to a fieldtrip stop and answer set questions. Complete a short quiz reflecting on your performance within your group. 5%
  • Fieldtrip Poster*: Produce a professional-looking poster discussing one site and the wider themes from the field trip. Assignment will be graded mostly (75%) on knowledge and understanding, with the remaining marks (25%) for quality of writing and the poster design. 20%
  • Midterm exam*: 20 Multi-choice photo interpretation questions; choice of 5 from 10 short answer questions 15%
  • Final exam*: 20 Multi-choice photo interpretation questions; Choice of 5 from 10 short answer questions, long essay question; Exam is remote, open-book. If your final exam grade is higher than your midterm grade, it will replace the midterm for a total of 50% of your course grade. 35%


Completion of all major course components (*) is required for a passing grade.

Late Submissions and Academic Dishonesty

Students are responsible for submitting work to posted deadlines. Short extensions for reasonable requested may be provided if discussed at least 24 hours in advance with the course instructor. Unexcused submissions after the posted deadline will receive a 10% penalty per day, or part thereof, up to a maximum of 5 days. Reasonable complete attempts at the assignment submitted after 5 days will receive a maximum 50% penalty. Incomplete or substandard attempts at the assignment submitted after 5 days may receive a mark of 0 and/or be counted as incomplete.

Students are responsible for upholding a high standard of academic integrity for all course submissions. Examples of academic dishonesty include plagiarism, collusion, resubmission, fabrication of data, uploading or downloading from homework sharing websites, use of notes in a closed-book examination, use of AI/LLM-generated responses, etc. Any examples of academic dishonesty will receive penalties as per SFU policy and procedure S 10.01. This may include warnings, being required to resubmit the assignment, reductions in assignment marks and/or failure of the assignment.

Grade boundaries

A+: >90%             A: 85-89.5%        A-: 80-84.5%

B+: 77-79.5%      B: 73-76.5%         B-: 70-72.5%

C+: 67-69.5%      C: 63-66.5%         C-: 60-62.5%

D: 50-59.5%        Fail: < 50%




Required Materials

  • Access to CANVAS (SFU’s online learning management system) required for access to course material and submission of assignments.
  • PDF viewing software.


  • Some additional/supplementary lecture videos will be posted, requiring an internet-enabled device capable of viewing YouTube videos.


  • Google Earth (Pro download or access to earth.google.com) required on an internet-enabled device for some lab exercises
  • Spreadsheet software (e.g. Excel) or scientific calculator required for some exercises


  • Warm, windproof, waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear
  • Waterproof or appropriately protected (e.g. Ziploc) notebook
  • Camera or smartphone

Poster Assignment:

  • Software capable of basic image editing and poster creation. MS PowerPoint or similar is sufficient.


Trenhaile, Alan S. 2016. Geomorphology: A Canadian Perspective (Sixth Edition). Oxford University Press, Oxford UK.

Note: Available online via SFU e-book store. Several copies in SFU Bennett Library. Earlier editions are sufficient.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.