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Physics of sedimentary processes

Physics of sedimentary processes

Sand ripples


Person in charge: Vincent Langlois
Teachers : V. Langlois, R. Deguen, B. Pittet
Needed: Notions of sedimentary dynamics and/or fluid mechanics are useful but not mandatory.

Contents :

This course offers a quantitative approach to geomorphology. We will investigate the elementary physical processes that are responsible for sediment transport and erosion (both on Earth and on other planetary surfaces). We present the basic physics needed to model geological particle-laden flows, the observational techniques in the field, and the experimental and numerical modelling methods. In particular we will treat the following objects:

  • sediment transport in rivers and by the wind ;
  • erosion instabilities: ripples, dunes, banks, meanders ;
  • rockslides, debris flows, avalanches ;
  • turbidites and gravity flows ;
  • properties and evolution of rivers, watersheds and river networks.

This course can be chosen for both « Terre et Planètes » et « Paléontologie, Sédimentologie, et Paléoenvironnements ».


Marks : numerical project: landscape evolution; review of articles; final written exam.



  • Principles of Physical Sedimentology, JRL Allen (Blackburn Press)
  • Earth Surface Processes, PA Allen (Wiley)


This course might be taught in english.

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