Unwind your EGU stress with a geomorphology memory game

Unwind your EGU stress with a geomorphology memory game

Solmaz Mohadjer, PhD student at the University of Tübingen, found the perfect way to relax during a stressful day at EGU while refreshing your knowledge on landforms: A MEMORY card game.

– written by Solmaz Mohadjer –

Assessing rock surface hardness, dating lateral moraines, modelling future mass-balance changes of glaciers, and playing memory games with school children. Meet Dr. Stefan Winkler, a geomorphologist at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. When he is not roaming around glaciers in New Zealand, Norway and the European Alps, he can be found in school classrooms, with a box of memory cards featuring photographs of different glacial features. The game is simple yet effective, fun and sometimes challenging, even for geomorphologists. The idea for the game came to Stefan while on a geology field trip. There are many ways to unwind at the end of a long day in the field: observing and contemplating nature, yoga, beer or simply going to bed. Stefan adds ‘playing match pair memory game’ to that list.

Most of us have played memory games before, often as kids or parents of kids. Stefan’s memory game, however, is not an ordinary one. It does require you to remember where the card pairs are placed, but that is only one way to get points. To score more, you need to be able to identify the landform shown in the photograph. Is it a drumlin, a fjord, or dead ice? Once the feature is identified, you are asked to describe the landform, explain how it is formed, what it is made out of, and what it says about the glacial history of the region. The game master then judges the quality of the answers using an information card developed for each photo pair. How many points do you think you can score?

This morning at the EGU Booth, I was lucky to stop Stefan from his busy schedule and ask him a simple question: Why do you do this? ‘We need to get geomorphology back into school curriculum,’ he says. But he also emphasizes the importance of considering the end user’s needs, ‘Sadly scientists often create educational tools without involving school teachers.’ He also points out how often teachers become frustrated when they cannot access educational resources developed by scientists because of IT incompatibility, and that the most useful resources are those that are developed in collaboration with teachers.

The memory game was presented at the 2015 General Assembly, and can be ordered by emailing Stefan directly. He will also be convening a session this Thursday, so stop by if you can. If you are lucky, you might be able to unwind with a round of match pair memory game.

solmaz_photoBy Solmaz Mohadjer

Solmaz Mohadjer is the founder of the ParsQuake Project, an initiative with a mission to increase earthquake awareness, education, and preparedness in the global Persian community. She is currently a geohazard PhD researcher in at the University of Tübingen, Germany, with strong interest in science education and outreach.


EGU Workshop: Digital Terrain Analysis of Anthropogenic Landscapes

EGU is about to start and besides many presentation and meeting Paolo Tarolli, Tobias Heckmann and  Wolfgang Schwanghart offer a hands on workshop on Digital Terrain Analysis of Anthropogenic Landscapes (13:30–15:00 in Room L4/5). Please see below some information on the course.

Tarolli & Sofia 2016 (Geomorphology)

Tarolli & Sofia 2016 (Geomorphology)

– written by Paolo Tarolli (University of Padova) –

Humans are among the most prominent geomorphic agents, redistributing land surface, and causing drastic changes to the geomorphic organization of the landscape (e.g. intensive agriculture, urbanization, mining, roads construction), with direct consequences on land degradation and watershed response.
High-resolution topography (HRT) can be useful for engineered landscapes, where the anthropic forcing related to human activities may affect natural processes (Tarolli, 2014). HRT could play a strategic and helpful role, through the recognition of human-induced geomorphic and anthropogenic features, and the connected erosion.

In this workshop, we will explore various techniques to extract and analyze anthropogenic features from high-resolution Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), and to account for the problems associated with such features in anthropogenic landscapes. Basic knowledge in Matlab® and GIS, and the availability of a laptop are an advantage but they are not a requirement to attend the workshop. Attendants at the beginning of the workshop will receive teaching materials and guidelines for the proposed methodologies.

Specifically, we will aim at:

    1. Extracting channel levees in floodplains, and terraces walls on hillslopes applying the semi-automatic techniques.
    2. Identifying terraces/road induced erosion/landslides.
    3. Automatic detection of bank erosion in agricultural drainage networks.

Upon course termination attendants will be awarded with a specific certificate of attendance signed by the EGU – GM division President and by the workshop Instructor.

Tarolli, P., Sofia, G. (2016). Human topographic signatures and derived geomorphic processes across landscapes. Geomorphology, 255, 140-161.
Tarolli, P. (2014). High-resolution topography for understanding Earth surface processes: opportunities and challenges. Geomorphology, 216, 295-312.

EGU 2016 events

EGU 2016 events

Award lectures

(Credit: EGU and Stephanie Mc Clellan)

(Credit: EGU and Stephanie Mc Clellan)

The Geomorphology Division awards the Ralph Alger Bagnold medal to individuals in recognition of their outstanding scientific contribution to the study of geomorphology, and also awards an Outstanding Young Scientists award to recognise remarkable scientific achievements in the field of geomorphology by an early-career scientist.

This year’s winners are Niels Hovius, recipient of the Ralph Alger Bagnold medal for his outstanding research in the field of Earth surface science, as well as for being a key figure in European geomorphology and a versatile interdisciplinary scientist and Pierre Valla, recipient of the Outstanding Young Scientists award.

Niels Hovius is giving the Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal Lecture on “Earth surface dynamics – dispatches from the flats” on Thursday 21 April in Room K1.

Pierre Valla is giving the Penck Lecture on “Progressive impact of glaciation on mountain erosion and topography: insights from in-situ thermochronometry” on Wednesday 20 April in Room L4/5.

Workshops and Short Courses

This year we have a packed programme of events, primarily aimed at early career scientists, but not-so-early career scientists might learn a thing or two too! Below is a list of events organised or co-organised by the Geomorphology division but there are many more excellent courses on offer which may be of interest to geomorphologists. A full list is available here.

Mon 18 Apr – SC36: How to navigate EGU: tips & tricks (12:15–13:15 in Room 2.85)

Tue 19 Apr – SC11/GM13.2: Supervising and tutoring students with the GM division officers (17:30–19:00 in Room 2.85)

Wed 20 Apr – GM13.1/SC10/SSS12.25: Digital Terrain Analysis of Anthropogenic Landscapes with Paolo Tarolli et al (Wed 20 Apr, 13:30–15:00 in Room L4/5)

Wed 20 Apr – SC12/GM13.3: ‘Meet the Master’ with Andreas Lang (17:30–19:00 in Room 2.85)

Thu 21 Apr – SC50: Using Bayesian modelling for integrating geochronologies with Richard Chiverrell (17:30–19:00 in Room 0.31)

Fri 22 Apr – SC4/GM13.4/TS9.2: Publishing in Solid Earth and Earth Surface Dynamics: meet the editors with Prof Fabrizio Storti and Prof Tom Coulthard (10:30–12:00 in Room 2.61)

Social events

hashtagThe Opening Reception is being held between 18.30-21.00 on Sunday 17 April in Foyer E. There will be an area specifically designated for Early Career Scientists which will be clearly labelled at the event, and provide an opportunity to meet other young scientists attending the meeting.

There will also be an Early Career Scientist Lounge available on the Red Level of the conference centre to take a break, grab a free coffee or soft drink and catch up with colleagues. Emma Shuttleworth, the GM Early Career Representative, will be in the lounge most days. Keep an eye on Twitter or Facebook to find out when she’s about.

For the third year running there will be a social evening for Young Geomorphologists (and those that still feel young!) in Mozart’s on Wed 20th April at 19.30, organised by the “Junge Geomorphologen” from Germany and the Postgraduate Forum of the British Society for Geomorphology. There is no age limit, everyone is welcome! See you there for stimulating geomorphological discussion over a reasonably priced beer.

GM Division Meeting 2016

The EGU Division on Geomorphology organises a Division Meeting each year at the EGU General Assembly. During this event, the division president reports on division activities (awards and medals, publications, current and next year General Assemblies), Union-wide news, presents the current division officers and runs the election of new ones.

This year’s meeting will be held on Thursday 21 April, 12:15–13:15, in Room L4/5. All are welcome to attend and provide feedback on the meeting and the division.

The minutes and slides from the 2015 GM Division Meeting are available in the report section.

EGU International Young Geomorphologists Social Event

Written by Julia Meister (FU Berlin)

The EGU 2016 General Assembly is getting closer and like for the past two years there will be a social evening for Young Geomorphologists (and those that still feel young!) from all over the world to promote scientific discussions and collaborations while enjoying a beer.

We are happy to invite you to the “3rd International Young Geomorphologists Social Event” which will take place on Wednesday, 20th April – 7:30 PM in the Mozart`s (close to the Westbahnhof U3 & U6), organized by the Postgraduate Forum of the British Society for Geomorphology and the “Junge Geomorphologen” from Germany. We negotiated the price for beer and 4 traditional Austrian meals, so please drop by and share in! And, by the way, the location is one of Vienna’s top 10 recommended authentic night restaurants. 😉

There is no age limit to this meeting, everyone is welcome!

We are looking forward to meet you there, please spread the word.

Kind regards

Julia, Jan and Sabine (German Young Geomorphologists)
Danielle, Morgan and Mark (British Society for Geomorphology (BSG) PG Forum)


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