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    Earth surface processes and resultant landforms in high altitude and high latitude areas.

    About this paper

    Paper title Alpine Geomorphology
    Subject Geography
    EFTS 0.1667
    Points 20 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,448.79
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

    The content of this paper assumes that students will have completed an undergraduate degree in Geography, Earth Science or Geology.

    Please contact Professor Sean Fitzsimons for information on the recommended background for this paper.

    Teaching staff

    Course Co-ordinator: Professor Sean Fitzsimons

    Paper Structure


    • Mountain geomorphology
    • Alpine sediment transfer
    • Lake sedimentary processes
    • Alluvial fans

    Student seminars:

    • Each student will complete a seminar on an assigned topic and will submit a written paper based on the seminar

    Field School:

    • Mapping landforms
    • Environmental monitoring using a variety of techniques
    • Coring and geophysical survey of lakes
    • Application of understanding geomorphology to environmental management issues

    In 2022, the field school will be based in South Westland in April.

    The field school will involve:

    • Making observations on the impacts of seismic and storm-driven landscape disturbance
    • Understanding the imprint of glaciation on the landscape of south Westland
    • Undertaking an erosion assessment of tracks and roads for tourist access
    • Learning how landscape change is embedded in lake sediments
    • Making an evaluation of the hazards posed by episodic seismic shaking and storm events in south Westland

    This paper is 100% internally assessed.

    Teaching Arrangements

    One 2-hour lecture per week.


    Textbooks are not required for this paper, but Bierman and Montgomery (2013) Key Concepts in Geomorphology is a useful resource (available on close reserve in the Science Library).

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete this paper will gain:

    • Understanding of the complex nature of interactions between tectonic and surface processes
    • Understanding how mountain development is driven by tectonic and climatic processes
    • Knowledge and understanding of the erosion, transportation and deposition processes in an alpine setting
    • An understanding of how lake sediments can be used to reconstruct landscape change
    • An advanced ability to undertake research in the primary literature and write coherent and convincing arguments from that literature
    • An advanced ability to integrate field and laboratory evidence of landscape change


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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