Courses Catalogue

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Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia

External Geodynamics



Academic unit

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia


Departamento de Ciências da Terra



Teacher in charge

Beatriz Fonseca Ferreira Lopes Marques

Weekly hours


Teaching language



The goals of the "Geodinâmica Externa" are to provide studens with a basic understanding of surface processes and their associated landforms and, on small-scale, with an understanding  of planetary geomorphology.

Subject matter

I. Exogenic processes

  •  Weathering. Soils.
  • Slope processes and forms.
  • Hillslope hydrology.

II. Landscape models

  • Glacial processes and landforms. Basic types of glaciers. Erosional landforms, depositional landforms, fluvioglacial erosion, and deposition. The glacial processes landforms in Portugal.
  • Periglacial processes and landforms. The periglacial environment. Periglacial processes. Frost action. Periglacial landforms, depositional forms related to mass movement. Periglacial processes and landforms in Portugal.
  • Aeolian processes and landforms. Deserts. Aeolian activity. Depositional landforms and erosional landforms. Dune types. Development of impeded dunes. The aeolian  processes and landforms in Portugal.
  • Fluvial processes and landforms. The drainage basin hydrology. Fluvial depositional landforms and fluvial erosional landforms. Longitudinal profile. River terraces. Fluvial processes and landforms in Portugal.
  • Coastal processes and landforms. Morphological and dynamic terminology of the beach profile and coastal zone. Estuary and deltas. Reefs. Types of coasts. Coastal processes and landforms in Portugal.
  • Karst topography. Karst. Groundwater system. Karst weathering forms and climatic controls. Karst topography in Portugal.
  • Climate. Global climatic changes (Milankovitch theory).
  • Pleistocene glaciation, global and regional sea-level change.

III. Long-term landscape development

  •  Tectonic, climatic changes, vegetation and landscape development.

IV. Planetary geomorphology

  • Planet-shaping processes.


CHRISTOFOLETTI, A. (1980)- Geomorfologia. Edgard Blucher, 2ª ed., São Paulo, 188p.

DERRUAN, M. (1979) - Les formes du relief terrestre. Masson, Paris, 119p.

MONTGOMERY, C. W. (1996) - Environmental Geology. McGraw Hill, New York, 546p.

LISITZIN, A. P. (2003) - Sea-Ice and Iceberg  Sedimentation in the Ocean. Springer, Heidelberg, 564p.

SUMMERFIELD, M. A. (1997) - Global Geomorfology. An introduction to physical geology. Jonh Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2ª ed., 570p.

SKINNER, B. J. & PORTER, S. C. (1992) - The Dynamic Earth. An introduction to physical geology. Jonh Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2ª ed., 570p.

Teaching method

We make use of:

  • multimedia products;
  • key terms at the end of each chapter;
  • sample test questions at the end of each chapter;
  • presentations of the sample topics for students interested in pursuing a particular topic;
  • ask questions during a lecture or during office hours if the students don''''t understand something;