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Geography (GEOG) 266

Introductory Physical Geography II  (Revision 1)

GEOG 266 course cover

Revision 1 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version.

Delivery Mode:Individualized study with home lab component.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: None.

Centre: Centre for Science

GEOG 266 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Introductory Physical Geography II is a continuation of GEOG 265 and is designed to give the student a better understanding of the natural environment.

Primarily, this course concentrates on geomorphology—the study of the Earth's surface and landforms. The topics covered include the internal structure of the Earth, and the forces that shape and deform it, rock types, weathering and erosion, groundwater and the hydrological cycle, and landforms and the agents that create them (volcanism, gravity, rivers, glaciers, wind, waves, and currents).


This course is composed of eight units. Each unit contains a series of objectives and is divided into sections, each with a reading assignment and study questions.

Unit 1: Earth's Structural Profile and Earth Materials

Unit 2: Plate Tectonics, Volcanism, and Diastrophism

Unit 3: Weathering and Mass Movement

Unit 4: Groundwater and the Hydrological Cycle

Unit 5: Fluvial Processes and Landforms

Unit 6: Glacial Dynamics and Continental Glaciation

Unit 7: Alpine Glaciation and Periglacial Landforms

Unit 8: Aeolian and Coastal Processes and Landforms

These units are structured to build upon a basic understanding of rock forming processes, then move on to an examination of the various Earth surface processes of deformation and weathering that produce the landforms we see today.

A series of eight laboratory exercises accompany these units and provide practical experience for the students in interpreting geomorphology using maps and air photos. The eight laboratory exercises are:

Lab Exercise 1: Topographic Map Interpretation

Lab Exercise 2: Air Photo Interpretation and Geological Cross-sections

Lab Exercise 3: Plate Tectonics and Volcanic Landforms

Lab Exercise 4: Groundwater Activity and Landforms

Lab Exercise 5: Fluvial Processes and Landforms

Lab Exercise 6: Continental Glaciation

Lab Exercise 7: Alpine Glaciation

Lab Exercise 8: Aeolian and Coastal Processes and Landforms


To receive credit for GEOG 266, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent) and a grade of at least 60 percent on the assignments and each of the examinations. All the assignments are required. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

8 Lab Exercises
(5% each)
Mid-term Exam Final Exam Total
40% 30% 30% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


deBlij, H. J., and Peter Muller. 1996. Physical Geography of the Global Environment, 2d. ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Zumberge, James H., Robert H. Rutford, and James L. Carter. 1995. Laboratory Manual for Physical Geology, 9th ed. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown.

Other materials

The course materials also include a study guide, a student manual, a laboratory manual, a topographic map of Jasper, and a pocket stereoscope.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Last updated by SAS  09/10/2013 11:52:40