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The global transformation of geomorphology

Goudie, Andrew S.; Burt, Tim P.; Viles, Heather A.

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Andrew S. Goudie

Tim P. Burt

Heather A. Viles


This chapter reviews the various developments in geomorphology in terms of institutions, journals, textbooks, research stations, etc. Among the institutions discussed are the Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium, the Geological Society of America Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division, the Association of American Geographers Geomorphology Specialty Group, the British Geomorphological Research Group, the IGU Commission on Measurements, Theory and Application in Geomorphology (COMTAG), the International Association of Geomorphologists, the European Geosciences Union (EGU), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the International Quaternary Association, and the International Conference on Aeolian Research. Many countries established their own national bodies. A number of new journals appeared, including Catena, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Géomorphologie, and Geomorphology. In addition, during the closing decades of the twentieth century there was a proliferation of textbooks in geomorphology. One development was that geomorphological research was promoted by the establishment of research stations. These permitted long-term monitoring and provided bases for sustained investigations. The study of fluvial processes was much encouraged in the United States at USDA Forest Service research basins (known as ‘watersheds’ in the USA) such as the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (New Hampshire), Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory (North Carolina) and the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest (Oregon). The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) organized ambitious research projects in collaboration with host nations. Various US government departments supported much geomorphological research in various parts of the world. Some European countries fostered overseas geomorphological research and created missions. Notable was the work of ORSTOM (Office de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique Outre-mer) in former francophone colonies. In the post-war years, and as independence approached and then occurred, new universities were established in Africa. These employed expatriate geomorphologists and also trained up a new generation of indigenous scholars. The decades since the 1960s have been a period of space exploration and the development of remote sensing. This has had important implications for geomorphology. The period also saw the onset of the digital age and the beginning of the World Wide Web's influence on teaching and research. Applied research became increasingly important. A major cause for international and cross-disciplinary co-operation during the period was the emergence of geoarchaeology. Finally, since the 1950s, an increasing number of women have made important contributions to the discipline.


Goudie, A. S., Burt, T. P., & Viles, H. A. (2022). The global transformation of geomorphology. Memoirs, 58, 1-17.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 17, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 19, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jan 4, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jan 4, 2023
Journal Geological Society, London, Memoirs
Print ISSN 0435-4052
Electronic ISSN 2041-4722
Publisher The Geological Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 58
Pages 1-17


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