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The University of Southampton

GEOG3004 Arctic and Alpine Geomorphology

Module Overview

This module will explore the periglacial environments of the arctic and alpine, and the unique landforms associated with the freezing and thawing of the ground, and formation of ground ice.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Synthesise information
  • Gain an expert knowledge in an emerging and critical geomorphological discipline
  • Critically analyse
  • Resolve controversy
  • Apply new technology for greater understanding
  • Demonstrate discussion and presentation skills
  • Produce creative visual presentations
  • Demonstrate succinct communication in writing
  • Apply process theory to real case-study examples
  • Develop an awareness of research and other career opportunities related to cold environments


The module is founded on a general consideration of the factors underlying the distinctive (nonglacial) geomorphological processes which characterise arctic and high altitude areas. These general principles are then applied to a detailed study of arctic periglacial geomorphology. Building on a sound theoretical foundation of the environmental drivers, the processes associated with ground freezing and the amazing behaviour of H2O, are applied to a range of unique landforms such as pingos, palsas, ice-wedges, thermokarst, patterned ground and slope activity The uniqueness of arctic coasts and periglacial rivers is explored and explained. Whilst the emphasis is remains very much geomorphological, the application of new technologies in understanding periglacial processes in challenging and remote environments forms an important part of the case-study application. The course-work is challenging but highly regarded by students and offers the opportunity for creativity and originality in this relatively young discipline and has normally results with many 1st class assignments.

Learning and Teaching

Independent Study115
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Core textbook. There is a core text, plus several other related texts and students are expected to engage with both classic and contemporary journal and www materials.



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 50%
Exam  (2 hours) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 100%

Linked modules

Prerequisites: GEOG1001 OR GEOG1002

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