Geomorphology is the study of the evolution of the Earth’s surface. We address a wide array of landscapes with an equally broad set of tools and methods. We study the weathering of rock to produce sediment, the transport of sediment on hillslopes and in rivers, and the erosion of bedrock by rivers. We address glacial and periglacial processes in polar and alpine environments – the cryosphere -- as their evolution most clearly reflects the variations in climatic forcing, and as these landscapes serve as the mountainous backdrop to our campus. In the field we document real-time geomorphic processes, from GPS monuments on glaciers to meteorological instrumentation to pressure plates beneath debris flow chutes. We also employ an increasingly diverse set of remote sensing tools to image the landscape and to produce time series of changes that highlight both climate and tectonic processes. Finally, we have deep experience in developing numerical models of landscape evolution at the scale of individual landscape elements to the whole landscape, and take advantage of the national office of the CSDMS here at CU/INSTAAR.
We work with many others across the campus who study these topics, including several faculty in Geography, Civil Environmental and Architectural Engineering (CEAE), and Environmental Studies (ENVS), and many researchers at the institutes INSTAAR, CIRES and LASP.