Geomorphology and geohazards
Geomorphology is the study of landforms and the processes that form them. Geomorphologists investigate why landscapes look the way they do, both in terms of understanding the evolution of landforms in the past and present, and to predict future changes (including geohazards). This is accomplished by a combination of field observations, field experiments and numerical modeling.
A glacier river in Denali, Alaska. Photo: K. S. Lilleøren
The Earth surface is not stable, but is continuously modified by a variety of surface processes (often influenced by climate) that shape landforms and landscapes, and the geological processes that cause tectonic uplift and subsidence.
Geomorphological surface processes are influenced by ice, water, air, gravity and humans, as well as various chemical reactions. Practical applications of the geomorphology include hazard assessments (eg avalanche warning), slope stability, river management and coastal conservation.
About the group
Our research focuses on the processes in cold climates, with emphasis on glacial (glacier), periglacial (permafrost and seasonal frost) and fluvial geomorphology (rivers). Examples of recent geomorphological study areas include; the formation and distribution of rock glaciers and ice-cored moraines in Norway, Svalbard and Iceland; reconstruction of ice sheet dynamics during deglaciation after the last ice age (Weichsel) in Norway, the prevalence and dynamics of the glaciation during the Holocene in southern Norway and Svalbard (eg during the Little Ice Age); the prevalence and dynamics of the last ice age on the Faroe Islands; geomorphological significance of snow avalanches and the relationship between different periglacial slope processes and climate. In addition, research is conducted on the formation of large-scale landforms over long periods by identifying and mapping ancient land surfaces.
We use modern methods from geomatics to measure movements in the natural environment (photogrammetry, interferometry, GPS) and advanced statistical methods to quantify spatial patterns of landforms and geomorphological processes.
Several research activities are carried out in collaboration with researchers at the University centre in Svalbard (UNIS).
Find more information about our research activities, see also the research group: