Module Catalogue 2024/25

GEO3152 : Applied Fluvial Geomorphology

GEO3152 : Applied Fluvial Geomorphology

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Andrew Russell
  • Lecturer: Dr Matthew Perks
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Code Title
GEO2137Key Methods for Physical Geographers
Pre Requisite Comment

Students must have taken the pre-requisite module at stage 2.


Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



Rationale: Rivers are a major component of the hydrological cycle and are important agents of erosion, sediment transport and long-term landscape evolution. Over shorter timescales, rivers constitute important natural resources and powerful natural hazards. Understanding of how rivers behave is essential for the management of both low and high flows. This module builds upon first and second year Physical Geography modules to provide detailed insight of fluvial geomorphological processes and forms.

Aim: This module aims to provide you with a detailed understanding of how rivers behave and how fluvial geomorphological processes are managed within a range of environments.

In order to fulfil the above aim you will:

(1) be introduced to a range of fluvial processes;
(2) understand fluvial process-form relationships in a range of environments;
(3) use field data sets to gain understanding of fluvial process-form relationships;
(4) be introduced to a range of cutting-edge techniques and data sources for characterizing fluvial processes and landscapes;
(5) understand how knowledge of flood process can be used to reduce flood risk.

Outline Of Syllabus

Part 1: Fundamentals of fluvial processes

Introduction to Applied Fluvial Geomorphology
UK Flood Hazards
Basics of fluvial flow, stream energy, resistance, shear stress and stream power
Flood generation mechanisms and processes. Flood magnitude and frequency regime.
Quiz on basics of fluvial flow and flood processes.
Sediment transport in rivers I
Sediment transport in Rivers II
Sediment transport videos
Practical 1: Secondary data sets for the River Coquet
Flow monitoring I
Flow monitoring II
Fieldwork River Coquet Day 1
Quiz on sediment transport and flow monitoring

Part 2: Fluvial landforms and deposits

Fluvial processes: bed and bar forms I
Fluvial processes: bed and bar forms II
Bed and bar form videos
Practical 2: Post fieldwork data work up
River channel change
Glacifluvial processes and forms I
Glacifluvial processes and forms II
Practical 3: Post fieldwork data work-up
Characterisation of surface and sub-surface fluvial deposits
Practical 4: Post fieldwork data work up
Report drop-in session.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

•       Appreciation of the role of rivers within the global hydrological cycle.
•       Understanding of fluvial processes and the relationship between fluvial process and form.
•       Knowledge of the controls on river channel change over a range of timescales.
•       Knowledge of societal importance of fluvial geomorphology.
•       Demonstrate an understanding of the processes that cause flood hazards and what their societal impact can be.
•       Understanding of how fluvial process knowledge can be applied to the management of rivers.
•       Knowledge of appropriate data sets and data acquisition techniques for fluvial geomorphology.
•       Knowledge of how fluvial deposits can provide an archive of past environmental change.

Intended Skill Outcomes

••       Reading – independent research.
•       Analysis of primary and secondary data sets using ArcMap/QGIS, statistical software packages (R/MATLAB).
•       Written presentation skills.
•       Report writing.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00PiP Lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1137:00137:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops42:008:00Computer practicals (PIP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork18:008:00One day trip to the Hepple Reach of the River Coquet, Northumberland. (PiP)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Synchronous online teaching
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will provide an overview of the principals of fluvial geomorphology and its application within a range of environments. Lecture will also introduce each of the guided learning practicals.

Q & A sessions will help student with their understanding of lecture and practical material as well as preparation of the report.

Practicals and fieldwork will be used to introduce students to a suite of primary and secondary data sets as well as the techniques and methodologies to detect and measure fluvial geomorphological change.

Report writing skills are critical skills for students who may wish to pursue a career in Environmental Consultancy (i.e. one that applies the skills and knowledge learnt in this module to the real-world). As such, these transferable skills are an integral component of this module.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M40Essay (2000 words)
Report1M60Field Report (2000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The 2000 word essay assesses lecture material delivered in the first seven weeks of the module with the aim of consolidating understanding of fluvial geomorphological theory.

The 2000 word report assesses the use of secondary data analysis skills and fluvial geomorphological theory in understanding fluvial processes and form.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described.

Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2025/26 entry will be published here in early-April 2025. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.