Introducing Geomorphology: A Guide to Landforms and Processes (2nd edition)


By Adrian Harvey

As I said in my review of the first edition of this guide (see Introducing Geomorphology: A Guide to Landforms and Processes by Adrian Harvey), I love geomorphology. In fact, I have loved it since my school days and deeply regret not having studied it at university. However, as I said in that review, I suspect many people are discouraged by its scientific name, but all it means is the study of the earth’s landforms and the processes that create the landscapes we see today. In fact, it is a fascinating subject that can (and should) be applied wherever you can see an interesting landform (for example, a river, slope, cliff face, mountain and so on).

That is, what we see when we look at a scenic view is the result of the interplay of the forces that shape the earth’s surface. As Adrian Harvey explains, these varying geomorphological forces operate on many different timescales and involve geological as well as climatic forces. These combine from:

  • global-scale geomorphology, which shapes continents and mountain ranges
  • to the regional-scale, producing hills and river basins
  • to the local-scale, forming beaches, glaciers and slopes, and
  • to micro scale forces, which weather rock faces and produce sediment.

In this respect, he has revised, updated and expanded the guide to cover the above, and also discusses the effect that humans have had, and are having, on the world’s topography. His guide also contains a list of further reading and a glossary to explain some of the more esoteric technical terms that it is necessary to use when discussing the science.

And, as with all Dunedin guides, it is full of great colour photos and diagrams, and the language means that this well-established and popular introduction to geomorphology appeals to adult amateurs, as well as students of the science. I thoroughly recommend it for anyone who is interested.

Professor Adrian Harvey retired from the University of Liverpool, where he taught undergraduate courses in geomorphology. As a past editor-in-chief of the leading academic journal in the field, Geomorphology, he is clearly uniquely placed to condense his encyclopaedic knowledge of geomorphology into this concise introduction to the subject.

Introducing Geomorphology: A Guide to Landforms and Processes by Adrian Harvey, Dunedin Academic Press Ltd, Edinburgh (2021), 146 pages (paperback), ISBN: 978-1780461038.

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