This book provides a detailed coverage of the landforms of Planet Earth and the processes that shaped them. The study of these morphologies, some of which formed during past geological periods under environmental conditions very different from those of today, makes it possible to reconstruct the evolution of relief and to infer environmental changes that have involved geological media, the climate, or human activity.
A major advance of Geomorphology in recent decades is the development of techniques that make it possible to quantify morphogenetic processes and rates at which forms change under different environmental conditions. The development of Geochronology, or absolute dating methods, is helping us correct the limitations of relative dating that have prevailed in Geomorphology for many years. The ability to assign numerical ages to both landforms and deposits opens up multiple possibilities for reconstructing the evolution of relief, making correlations, calculating rates, and estimating recurrence periods.
A theme of major concern facing people today is the possible warming of the planet due to the release of greenhouse gases into the environment. Investigations conducted by the scientific community show that this temperature increase is at least partially anthropogenic. Given this more-than-probable cause and effect relationship, the most sensible and prudent path is to design and apply mitigation measures to alleviate this heating that can negatively affect both the natural environment and human society. The information that Geomorphology can provide on the recent past (Historical Geomorphology) may be very useful in making predictions on the activity of these potentially dangerous processes in the future and on the possible effects of environmental changes.
The aim of this book is to provide a general vision of the multiple aspects of Geomorphology and to provide a methodological foundation to approach the study of various branches of geomorphology. To this end, the book contains a basic bibliography that can be used for future research. In addition, applied aspects of Geomorphology are covered at the end of each chapter to provide knowledge of the activities of geomorphologists in the professional world.