Sandur (Credit: Miloš Rusnák, distributed via

GM Geomorphology Division on Geomorphology

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European Geosciences Union

Division on Geomorphology

Division on Geomorphology

President: Daniel Parsons (
Deputy President: Giulia Sofia (

Geomorphology is the scientific study of land-surface features and the dynamic processes that shape them. Besides focusing on the diverse physical landscapes of the Earth, geomorphologists also study surfaces of other planets. Understanding landform history and dynamics, and predicting future changes through a combination of field observations, physical experiments, and numerical modelling is at the heart of geomorphology. The division brings together research on processes that build topography trough e.g. the effects of tectonic forces as well as processes that modify the terrain such as weathering, erosion through running water, waves, glacial ice, wind and gravitational forces. Division members also study the impact of humans on geomorphological processes and investigate how geomorphological knowledge can be applied to solve problems of relevance to societies.

Latest News & Events

 EGU CampFire - Landscapes Live - Virtual Webinar Series in Geomorphology 

EGU are pioneering a new CampFire concept to bring together the geoscience community across the year inbetween our General Assemblies.  We hope that this will meet the needs of the current pandemic but also help us in our transition to a greener future and ensure that our community better serve the needs of all scientists regardless of international mobility. 

Landscapes Live is the Geomorphology Division's virtual webinar series focused on sharing exciting geomorphology research throughout the international scientific community. The Autum series of Webinars have now conculded but can be viewed here:   


Autumn CampFires

“Appalachian pasts, Arctic futures: permafrost landscape dynamics” - Joanmarie del Vecchio (Penn State University) - Thursday the 5th of November 2020 at 4pm CET.
Abstract: What happens to permafrost landscapes when the climate heats up? Today, high latitudes face amplified warming and permafrost thaw, leading to erosion, carbon release and ecosystem disturbance, and predicting the location and magnitude of such disturbance is a top priority for Arctic communities and climate modelers alike. I argue we can make better predictions by probing sedimentary records from past warming events in unglaciated Appalachia, where permafrost thaw and ecosystem change occurred thousands of years ago and is recorded in sedimentary archives in headwater catchments and bogs. I show how digital terrain analysis in both Appalachia and Alaska, geophysical imaging, isotope and bulk geochemistry and pollen allow me to connect erosion rates and styles to  past climate conditions. 

“Faulting and landscapes – a tribute to Patience Cowie” - Alex Whittaker & Mikael Attal (Imperial College London & University of Edinburgh) - Thursday the 12th of November 2020 at 4pm CET.
Abstract: Patience Cowie inspired a generation of geologists and geomorphologists to understand the linkage and interactions between faulting and landscape evolution. The Italian Apennines, an area of active extension, provided a well-constrained tectonic template that motivated many of her field and numerical modelling contributions. Here we revisit the quantitative insights we have gained from studying the tectonic geomorphology of this spectacular region in the last 15 years, and we take a forward look at some of the key research questions that remain unresolved.

“Exploring the timing, triggering and spatial distribution of landslides along the Cascadia Subduction Zone” - Alison Duvall (University of Washington) - Thursday the 19th of November 2020 at 4pm CET.
Abstract: The last decade has provided unexpected lessons in the enormous risks from great subduction earthquakes: Sumatra 2004, Chile 2010, and Japan 2011 were each devastating, resulting in surprising impacts distinct from shallow seismic events. Similar large-magnitude earthquakes are known to occur on the Cascadia subduction zone, with the potential of rupturing the entire 1100 km length of the Pacific Northwest plate boundary. Because a magnitude 9 (M9) subduction earthquake is well known to have occurred just over 300 years ago, evidence of coseismic landslides triggered by this event might still be present in the landscapes of the Washington and Oregon Coasts. Indeed, the coastal Pacific Northwest USA hosts thousands of deep-seated landslides, yet little is known about their timing or what triggered them. In this talk, I will show our new map of 9,938 deep-seated bedrock landslides in the Oregon Coast Range and explain how we used surface roughness dating to estimate that past earthquakes triggered less than half of the landslides in the last 1,000 years. Comparison of our inventory with other geophysical factors suggests that landslide frequency increases with mean annual precipitation but not with modeled peak ground acceleration or proximity to the megathrust. Our results agree with findings from other recent subduction-zone earthquakes where few deep-seated landslides were mapped, and suggest that despite its proximity to the megathrust, most deep-seated landslides in the Oregon Coast Range were triggered by rainfall.

“Estimating mass loss from pebble shape” - Gabor Domokos (Budapest University of Technology) - Thursday the 26th of November 2020 at 4PM CET.
Abstract: One important question in sedimentology is the mass loss of pebbles due to erosion. In some cases it is possible to track the mass loss process, however, this may not always be the case. We present a mathematical theory which suggests that from measurements of current shape descriptors and some information on the formative process, the original mass of pebbles may be efficiently estimated.

EGU21 will be Virtual:

Due to the continuing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, and to protect our members as much as possible, sadly #EGU21 will not be held in Vienna again this year. Instead, today we announce the all new #vEGU21 : Gather Online! More info:

EGU Geomorphology Division 2021 awardees:

We congratulate Jo Bullard, University of Loughborough for receiving the 2021 Ralph Alger Bagnold medal, and Louise Slater, University of Oxford for receiving the GM Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award. They will both receive their awards at the forthcoming General Assembly.

GM Division meeting 2020:

The slides of the GM Division meeting 2020 are online and can be downloaded here (4.2 MB).

Dan Parsons elected new GM Division president until 2022-23:

Dan Parsons has been duly elected for a second term as Divison President. His nomination for President can be found here. See also his candidate interview on the the GM blog.

Recent awardees

Thomas J. Coulthard

Thomas J. Coulthard

  • 2020
  • Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal

The 2020 Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal is awarded to Thomas J. Coulthard for establishing landscape evolution modelling as a robust approach to geomorphological investigation, changing how geomorphology is studied and communicated, and promoting open research.

Georgina Bennett

Georgina Bennett

  • 2020
  • Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award

The 2020 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientist Award is awarded to Georgina Bennett for careful field measurements and aligned earth observation; Georgina’s innovative approaches have unlocked new understanding of key controls on landslide mechanics and resultant landscape evolution.

Latest posts from the GM blog

Running a live stream of proglacial processes

Running a live stream of proglacial processes

This is a joint post, published together with the hydrological sciences division blog, the cryospheric sciences division blog, the geomorphology division blog, given the interdisciplinarity of the topic. – Floreana Miesen and Prof. Dr. Stuart Lane, University of Lausanne – In Switzerland, nothing is really remote, but some places are more so than others. Dense infrastructure networks typically provide convenient access to research sites in the Alps where it is difficult to feel far away from home. However, this is …

Pandemics vs. Academia: How do German geomorphologists deal with teaching, research projects and online conferences during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Pandemics vs. Academia: How do German geomorphologists deal with teaching, research projects and online conferences during the COVID-19 pandemic?

– Authors: The German Young Geomorphologists (Renee van Dongen, Jörn Profe, Steffi Tofelde, Janek Walk, Mario Kirchhoff, Julian Trappe, Johannes Buckel, Stefan Haselberger, Simon Meyer-Heintze) – COVID-19 Pandemic has changed the world this year. We as scientists are affected by this pandemic, but we can mostly work from home and most importantly, we can conduct our jobs. Nonetheless, certain things have changed for us. Many of us had to find new ways and formats to switch from classroom teaching to …

Interview with the Steepest Descent Organizers

The Steepest Descent is a yearly one-day meeting taking place in Vienna, Austria, close to the EGU general assembly. Participants have the opportunity to see a few keynote talks by outstanding geomorphologists and to discuss their posters in a more informal and geomorphology-focused community than at the EGU. Despite its youth, the Steepest Descent Meeting seems to have lost its aura of a niche-event, and it may already be considered as a must for our community. In the team of …

Current issue of the EGU newsletter

Why is research in Antarctica so important? In this issue of The Loupe, EGU asks experts why they think it really matters. We also highlight blogs from each of the month’s featured EGU divisions: Climate: Past, Present & Future, Cryospheric Sciences, and Nonlinear Processes in Geosciences.

This issue also discusses the extensive fee waiver programme for vEGU21. The abstracts submission deadline is 13 January 2021 at 13:00 CET!

Last, but not least: for those scientists who tend to shop late, there’s the Top 5 (last-minute) gifts for geoscientists. From the ultimate sample collection kit to cake (no, really!), EGU has you covered with our last-minute guide. And the #1 gift? You’ll need to read the blog!

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