Geomorphological heritage and geodiversity

A.Y. 2017/2018
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The geological heritage (Geoheritage) and geoconservation are relevant topics at international level. As a result, the creation of international Geoparks networks (European and Global) have been recently recognized by UNESCO.
The course has the main topic of analyzing the geomorphological heritage and geo(morpho)sites.
The course is aimed at providing to master degree students the tools for: 1) recognizing and quantitatively assessing the morphological elements of a landscape, a natural resource and part of the geological-geomorphological heritage (geosites and geomorphosites), in relation with their census, valorization, conservation and protection; 2) recognizing the evolution of geomorphosites in relation with the action of natural processes and in particular with climate-related processes and recognizing possible degradation factors, 3) recognizing impacts and hazards and risk related with geomorphosites fruition; 4) acquiring familiarity in the passage from geomorphological cartography to thematic and geotouristic cartography; 5) acquiring knowledge about the Geoparks functioning and the new job opportunities deriving from them.
Expected learning outcomes
Ability in reading landforms and the geomorphological landscape, recognizing landforms activity and processes responsible of their evolution, identifying sites of geomorphological interest, quantitatively assessing their attributes for valorization, promotion and conservation, ability in thematic map elaboration.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
1) Introduction
the geomorphological landscape as a natural resource.
Cultural geomorphology.
geomorphological modeling processes, relation between climate conditions and relief modeling processes
Morphogenetic and morphoclimatic environments
The main current morphoclimatic zones; morphodynamic equilibrium

2) Geodiversity e geological-geomorphological heritage (geosites and geomorphosites)
Geodiversity, definitions and quantification through the use of indexes
Geosites and geomorphosites: definitions, history and evolution
Active, inactive, fossil landforms; active, passive, evolving passive geomorphosites.
Geosites census. Study case and normative aspects
Simple, complex and composite geomorphosites
Quantitative assessment of geomorphosites.
Scientific value of geo(morpho)sites. Investigation techniques.
Aesthetic, economic and cultural value of geo(morpho)sites.
Evolution and degradation of geomorphological assets in relation with climate change.
Geomorphosites fruition and deriving impacts.
Hazard and risks connected with geomorphosites
Valorization and promotion of geomorphological assets
Geo-touristic and geo-educational itineraries
European and Global Geoparks Network - EGN GGN

3) Geomorphosites in different morphogenetic and morphoclimatic contexts
Geomorphological processes, landscape landforms: landforms and geomorphosites modeled mainly by weathering processes. Study cases.
Landforms and geomorphosites modeled mainly by water runoff and their evolution. Study cases.
Landforms and geomorphosites modeled mainly by gravity processes. Study cases.
Landforms and geomorphosites modeled mainly by fluvial processes. Study cases.
Landforms and geomorphosites modeled mainly by coastal processes. Study cases.
Landforms and geomorphosites: lithological, structural and tectonic control. Study cases.
Volcanic Landforms and geomorphosites. Study cases.
Morphoclimatic landscapes and geomorphosites:
Glacial environment: glaciers, glacial geomorphosites and their evolution in relation with climate change. Study cases.
Periglacial environment: alpine and high latitude periglacial landforms. Periglacial environments geomorphosites and their evolution. Study cases.
Temperate environment: humid, temperate-humid and Mediterranean environments landforms and geomorphosites
Arid and desert environments: landforms, landscapes and geomorphosites.

4) Applications and laboratories:
geomorphological and geotouristic cartography and photointerpretation.
Practical experiences on geomorphosites quantitative assessment.
Application of multidisciplinary techniques for the analysis of geomorphosites evolution.
Lessons: 48 hours
Upon appointment arranged through e-mail
Room 54 or 59, First Floor