I was looking at this question and considering adding the tag "geomorphology". Then I wondered if it was really appropriate, as the features discussed in the question were man-made.

I looked at some definitions of geomorphology (here and here, for instance): they don't seem to include humans as an agent that shape landscapes (although I guess we could be included in the "biological processes" category!). On the other hand, there is an entire book on the subject of anthropogenic geomorphology...

So my question is: in your opinion, do man-made landforms count as geomorphological features? As it is more of a "philosophical" (opinion-based) question, I ask it here rather than in the main site.


1 Answer 1


I'd say yes.

Let's be progressive and allow geomorphology in the Anthropocene as an appropriate subject on this site, simply because in some areas where humans have settled since thousands of years extensive earthworks, changing river beds, irrigation systems etc. have changed the landscape, erosion and sedimentation considerably.

Sure there are uncertainties, where it can't be said if a feature formed because of human intervention or because of a combination. Or a feature may be indirectly connected to human activity (e.g. landslides because of thawing), in which case we probably would just accept and classify it instinctively.

So, as far as I am concerned, go ahead and ad the tag.

  • $\begingroup$ Would these count then? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wall_of_Sand $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 1:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uho rubchin I suggest a new term: geovandalism. That's what my former girlfriend said to me when I paved my patio with Solnhofer limestone, on a volcanic island :-) $\endgroup$
    – user20217
    Commented Aug 24, 2020 at 8:24

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