First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SC01122959, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
SC1180, Degree course structure A.Y. 2009/10, A.Y. 2017/18
bring this page
with you
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination APPLIED GEOMORPHOLOGY
Department of reference Department of Geosciences
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge ALESSANDRO FONTANA GEO/04
Other lecturers PAOLO MOZZI GEO/04

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses GEO/04 Physical Geography and Geomorphology 6.0

Mode of delivery (when and how)
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Organisation of didactics
Type of hours Credits Hours of
Hours of
Individual study
Group didactic activities 0.67 10 6.75 2
Laboratory 1.33 21 12.25 No turn
Lecture 4.0 32 68.0 No turn

Start of activities 26/02/2018
End of activities 01/06/2018

Prerequisites: Good knowledge of the basic principles of Geomrphology. Also some notions of Applied Geology are requested.
Target skills and knowledge: The course wants to provide theorical and practical skills for the application of the analysis of the geomorphological processes to the territorial planning, with a specific focus on the use of remote sensing methodologies and geomorphological mapping as tools for investigate and represent the phenomena.
Examination methods: The examination is oral, with questions about the program explained during the lectures and discussion of the maps (hard or digital version of the maps) produced during the exercises with the stereoscope and/or the analysis and elaboration of satellite images obtained through the software ENVI.
Assessment criteria: The assessment is based on the ability of the student to recognize and describe processes that interact with the landscape and the environment before, during and after the design of large works. Moreover, the examination checks the ability to create geomorphological cartographies, obtained mainly by remote sensing and field observation, on large scale (1:5000 - 1:10,000) and with the typical contents of the elaborations used in the territorial design.
Course unit contents: Basic principles and applications of Remote Sensing: geometric and spectral resolution; atmospheric scattering and spectral windows; spectral signatures; main characteristics of Landsat, SPOT, World View, Ikonos and COSMO SkyMed missions, ASTER sensor; Use of the different spectral bands for geomorphological and geological purposes.

Aerial photographs: properties of central perspective pictures; scales, dimensions and films of aerial photographs; orthophotos; relief displacement; stereoscopic parallax; reconstruction of the flight line.

Digital Terrain Models: DEM and DSM; resolution of a DEM and vertical accuracy; principles of interpolation and production of DEM raster and TIN; main features of LiDAR detection.

Syntetic Aperture Satellite radar: basic principles of SAR interferometry; Meaning of the amplitude and phase of the signal; Interferograms; differential interferometry; permanent scatterers.

Interpretation of remote data and applications: tone, contrast, shape, color, pattern, texture; recognition of lithologies, hydrographic lattices, major morphologies and alluvial surfaces of different ages.

Basic elements for using ENVI software (multispectral image composition, contrast stretching, filtering operations and classification principles on raster images).
Ability to create a map of photo-interpretation of mountainous and floodplain areas using zenithal aerial photographs and satellite images.

Geomorphological hazard: concepts and methods for evaluation in mountainous, coastal and alluvial areas.

Dynamics of the slope: classification of a phenomenon and assessment of the degree of activity by observation on the ground and photo interpretation; characteristics of rockfalls, toppling, lateral spread, translational and rotational slide, megaslides, rock avalanches, Deep Seated Gravitational Slope Deformations (DSGSD), debris flow, mud flow. Recognition of geological, geomorphological, hydrogeological, climatic, anthropic causes.

Recent changes in river channel morphology and related hazard: variations in amplitude, depth and type of the channel; changes in the longitudinal profile; modifications induced by gravel mining in channels.

Coastal Dynamics: sea surge and flooding risk in low-lying coasts, key factors and evaluation methods; Coastal protections and basics of renourishment techniques.

Geomorphology applied to alluvial plains: geomorphological, pedological and stratigraphic characteristics of the surface and the first subsoil of the Po Plain and the Venetian-Friulian Plain; evolution in LGM and post-LGM; meaning of the "caranto" palaeosol; main geomorphological, pedological and stratigraphic Quaternary elements for the reconstruction of geotechnical and shallow hydrogeological properties; Italian nomenclature for quaternary units in the CARG project (differences between UBSU and allostratigraphic units).

Paleoseismology: indicators of direct and indirect surface deformation; study of sites with surface faulting through trial trenches; Liquefaction of sands; Tsunami and associated deposits;

Geomorphology applied to Geoarchaeology: recognition of ancient anthropological traces through remote sensing and in Holocene sequences; meaning of coluvial deposits in the alpine and mediterranean areas.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Beside the lectures, the analysis of aerial photos and satellite images of different processes and landscapes are planned during classroom exercises and in the GIS laboratory; use remote-sensed data, freely available on the web.
The exercises in the computer lab are planned for acquiring some basic knowledge in the use of software for remote sensing and managment of georeferenced information (e.g. ENVI and ArcMap).
An important part of the exercises will be the interpretation of conventional aerial photos using the stereoscope.
Two fieldtrip are planned: one in the Venetian Plain, aimed at analyzing the interaction between anthropic activity in river bed and river dynamics; another fieldtrip in the Dolomitic region, for practicing geomorphological mapping of slopes and alpine valleys as a tool for knowledge, planning and intervention on the territory.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Slide shows and notes of the lectures, some research papers distributed by the teacher. Notes taken by the students during lectures, laboratories and fieldtrips.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Gomarasca M., Basics of Geomatics, 656 pp.. --: Springer, 2009. Varie copie della versione italiana (Gomarasca 2004) disponibili per il prestito presso la Biblioteca di Geografia Cerca nel catalogo
  • Dikau R., Brunsden D., Schrott L., Ibsen M.L. (a cura di), Landslide recognition. Chichester: Whiley, 1996. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Panizza M. (a cura di), Manuale di geomorfologia applicata. Milano: Franco Angeli, 2005. Cerca nel catalogo