PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (1): 8-15.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2018.01.002

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Progress in geomorphology and future study:A brief review

Huayu LU1,2()   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Ocean Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2018-01-11 Revised:2018-01-13 Online:2018-01-28 Published:2018-01-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.L1624026, No.41690111;Research Project on the Development Strategy of Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.2016-DX-C-02


The formation and evolution of landform and landscape on Earth follow unique rules with specific forcing mechanisms. Earth surface processes have affected human environment, resource exploitation, and natural hazards and disasters. As an important branch of geography, geomorphology is an interdisciplinary field with important theoretical and practical values. With the application of remote sensing, geographical information system, digital elevation models, and sediment dating techniques, detection and tracing techniques of geophysics and geochemistry, and numerical simulation, the scope of geomorphology has been expanded and deepened over the past 10 years. Study on geomorphological process modulated by tectonic movement, climatic changes, gravity forcing, and human activities has greatly moved forward. New geomorphological processes and forcing mechanisms have been unraveled, and these recent achievements have significantly improved our understanding of Earth surface processes. In this new era of research, in addition to strengthening the study in traditional areas such as investigating different geomorphological processes at various temporal and spatial scales, bridging geomorphological research with global environment change and Future Earth programs is recommended. In particular, geomorphologists should pay much more attention to human activities, which is a vital agent that modulates Earth surface in the Anthropocene. Quantitatively reconstructing and modeling geomorphological processes are also an important area to explore. In China, to train geography students with more extensive and in-depth geological knowledge and practices, develop quantitative geomorphology and planetary geomorphology, and strengthen research on human impact on landform and topography will improve the quality of research, and promote geomorphology as a key discipline in Earth system science.

Key words: progress in geomorphology, new detection and tracing technologies, quantitative reconstruction and numerical simulation, Anthropocene, earth surface system science