Spring 2024 - GEOG 313 D100

River Geomorphology (4)

Class Number: 2059

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    Location: TBA

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 18, 2024
    Thu, 7:00–10:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Tracy Brennand
    1 778 782-3718
    Office: RCB 7122
    Office Hours: Tues 14:00-15:00 unless otherwise advised or by appointment.
  • Prerequisites:

    GEOG 213, or both EASC 209W and EASC 304.



Intermediate analysis in fluvial and coastal geomorphology with particular reference to British Columbia. Quantitative.


This course is about river morphodynamics: the change in river form because of the movement of water and sediment from the mountains to the sea. We will examine: i) river hydrology and discharge, ii) the principles of water flow, iii) sediment transport, iv) river shape and change, and v) the movement of water and sediment from land along the coast and into marine sinks. The overarching goal of the course is to provide you with an appreciation of rivers and the processes by which they modify the landscape around you.

This course may be counted as an elective course in all syllabi for Professional Geoscience (P. Geo.) accreditation by the Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia (EGBC).

Field Trip:

Road conditions permitting, there will be a mandatory field trip on the weekend of Mar 16-17, 2023. Your mandatory supplementary course fee covers some travel costs; you should budget for additional costs to be paid to the Department to cover remaining travel and accommodation costs (up to $100, assuming 2 students/room) and food. Any concerns around accommodation should be directed to the instructor. On the field trip you will need field boots, a camera and standard items such as a field notebook, pens, pencils and a ruler; your clothing should reflect preparation for the range of BC weather conditions. Be aware that during the field trip there may be periods of walking on uneven ground, climbing on rocky outcrops, crossing roads with busy traffic and wading in a river. Appropriate clothing and footwear must be worn. Further details regarding safety, meals, accommodation and field supplies will be discussed prior to the field trip. Students must always 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 and Provincial Health guidelines. This includes, but is not limited to, expected student conduct and the maintenance of appropriate medical insurance coverage.


After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Measure, estimate and explain river discharge (hydrology)
  • Characterize and compute river channel flow (hydraulics)
  • Characterize and measure sediment transport in rivers
  • Identify and discuss the ways in which rivers adjust to changing environmental conditions
  • Explain external controls on river systems and identify their effects
  • Identify the processes and effects of river and coastal processes on estuaries and deltas
  • Identify and explain the coastal processes that redistribute river-derived sediment along the coast and into ocean sinks


  • Laboratory assignments 25%
  • Mid-term examination 15%
  • Field trip report 25%
  • Final examination 35%



Laboratory Materials:

Lab resources will be provided in labs; some may be provided on canvas. A computer with excel (for some labs) and word processing capabilities is advantageous. There will be no laboratory session in the first week of classes.


Charlton, R., 2008. Fundamentals of Fluvial Geomorphology. Routledge: London, New York. (library reserve or vitalsource)

Boggs, S. Jr., 2012.  “Chapter 9: Marginal-marine environments”, in Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, 5th Ed. Prentice Hall. pp. 246-269. (library reserve and pdf)

Ritter, D.F., Kochel, R.C, and Miller, J.R. 2011. “Chapter 13: Coastal processes and landforms”, in Process Geomorphology, 5th Ed. Waveland Press Inc., Illinois. (library reserve and pdf)


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 term 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.