Why geomorphology is a global science

J.M. García-Ruiz


Geomorphology is a highly complex science that involves elements of geography and geology, and concerns the study of, and explanations for, landforms at various temporal and spatial scales. This review focuses on those aspects of geomorphology that highlight its global importance. Landforms are the result of the activity of geomorphic processes on geological structures, occurring over varying time scales. Each landform is the consequence of a complex interaction between bedrock, changing climate, biological activity, geomorphic processes and time. The role of geomorphologists is to unravel this complexity from the relief, where the remnants of past deposits and landforms constitute a palimpsest from which most information has disappeared. Interpreting the relief and its dynamics necessitates detailed analysis, increasing use of remote sensing and GIS techniques, and especially a global perspective. The collaboration of geomorphologists with ecologists has contributed to enhance the role of geomorphologists in environmental studies.


Geomorphology, global science, landforms, landscape, catchment scale.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/cig.2652

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