Mark W. Williams

Department of Geography and

Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research

University of Colorado at Boulder


Instructor: Mark Williams
Telephone: 492-8830
Office Hours: MW 1-1:45pm
Where: Gugg 103a E-mail:
web site:

Teaching Assistant

Text (required):

Mountain Geography: Physical and Human Dimensions Hardcover – August 24, 2013 by Martin F. Price (Editor), Alton C. Byers (Editor), & 3 more

Mountain geography presents a geographic overview of major mountain ranges in the world, and provides an introduction to the physical, biological, and anthropological processes that shape these mountain environments. Changes in the mountain environment caused by humans will be evaluated and land use strategies to minimize these human impacts will be discussed. There are no prerequisites for Mountain Geography. Students should take this course who are interested in the geologic origin of mountains, the erosional processes that shape mountains, vegetation and animal life in mountains, and resource problems and mitigation efforts in mountainous areas. My intent with this course is to provide incentives for you to pursue more detailed classes in physical and human geography, biology, geology and anthropology.

The course is primarily lectures, supplemented with a lot of slides, videos, and other media. Course material will be presented in two sections: i) an overview of the physical, ecological, and cultural processes that produce and shape mountains and the people that live in those mountains, and ii) investigation of these processes in specific mountain ranges. Several guest lectures will present material; the order of lectures will undoubtedly be changed to accomodate their schedules. The emphasis of the course will be primarily on material presented in class. Regular attendance is therefore suggested, since much of the material presented in class is not covered in the text. Exams will emphasize memory, understanding, and to a lesser extent the ability to apply knowledge in a new context. The exam format will consist of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. Test questions are based on lecture material and to a lesser extent on reading. Tests are comprehensive and long; there will be questions from each lecture.


Quizes 20% There will be several quizzes. Regular attendance is advised!
Presentation/participation 20% There will be several quizzes. Regular attendance is advised!
Midterm 40% There will be three midterms, each worth 25% of your grade. The lowest of the three midterms will be dropped. THERE ARE NO MAKEUP MIDTERMS FOR ANY REASON.
Final 20% Half of the final exam will be on material covered after the last midterm and half will be comprehensive. YOU MUST TAKE THE FINAL.

Midterm 1, 1999

Midterm 2, 1999

Midterm 3, 1999

Final, 1999

Review Questions, 2003

Accommodation For Disabilities

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to your professor a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner (for exam accommodations provide your letter at least one week prior to the exam) so that your needs can be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities. Contact Disability Services at 303-492-8671 or by e-mail at If you have a temporary medical condition or injury, see Temporary Injuries guidelines under the Quick Links at the Disability Services website and discuss your needs with your professor.

Religious Holidays

Campus policy regarding religious observances requires that faculty make every effort to deal reasonably and fairly with all students who, because of religious obligations, have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments or required attendance. Chat with me if you have a conflict.

Classroom Behavior

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. Those who fail to adhere to such behavioral standards may be subject to discipline. Professional courtesy and sensitivity are especially important with respect to individuals and topics dealing with differences of race, color, culture, religion, creed, politics, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and gender expression, age, disability, and nationalities. Class rosters are provided to the instructor with the student's legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.

Discrimination And Harassment

The University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment. CU-Boulder will not tolerate acts of discrimination or harassment based upon Protected Classes or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. For purposes of this CU-Boulder policy, "Protected Classes" refers to race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation or political philosophy. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) at 303-492-2127 or the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSC) at 303-492-5550.

Honor Code

All students of the University of Colorado at Boulder are responsible for knowing and adhering to the academic integrity policy of this institution. Violations of this policy may include: cheating, plagiarism, aid of academic dishonesty, fabrication, lying, bribery, and threatening behavior. All incidents of academic misconduct shall be reported to the Honor Code Council (; 303-735-2273). Students who are found to be in violation of the academic integrity policy will be subject to both academic sanctions from the faculty member and non-academic sanctions (including but not limited to university probation, suspension, or expulsion).







Aug 22-26 Why important
Rory's notes
week 1 notes
Why are mountains important? What is a mountain? Historical attitudes towards mountains
Aug 29-Sep 2 Sacred Mtns pdf
Alana's notes
Sacred Mountains Sacred Mountains Plate tectonics
Sep 5-9 Plate Tectonic notes
Labor Day Plate tectonics Plate tectonics
Sep 12-16 Plate Tectonic notes
Alton's talk
Nepal earthquake video
Mountain types Midterm I
bring paper, pencil, colored pens
Sep 19-23 Ty's notes
Marks notes
Mountain Climate Mountain Climate Mountain Climate
Sep 26-30 avy ppt Snow Avalanche Avalanche
Oct 3-7 Adina's glacier ppt Glaciers: Intro Ryan Vachon: Paleoglaciology Mtn Glaciers
Oct 10-14 Glacier Landforms ppt Glaciers Mid II Rocky Mountains
Oct 17-21 Rocky Mtn Time Series
Laramide Orogeny
Stratigraphic history, required
State of Rockies
California Wildfires
Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains Rocky Mountains
Oct 24-Oct 28 Sierra Nevada Orogeny
Mtns as Water Towers
Yosemite Valley
Sierra Nevadas Sierra Nevadas Sierra Nevadas
Oct 31-Nov 4 Himalayan Orogeny
Glaciers and climate
Mountains and people
Himalayas Himalayas Himalayas
Nov 7-Nov 11 Mountain Warfare ppt Mountain Warfare Mid III Andes
Nov 14-18 Mass wasting events
Illimani avalanche
High-altitude archeology
Andes Andes Andes
Nov 21-25 No classes Fall break Fall break Thanksgiving
Nov 28-Dec 2 Alpine plants powerpoint
Treeline powerpoint
pikas powerpoint
Treeline Alpine plants Pikas
Dec 5-9 Nitrogen Deposition
N dep effects
Telluride and Tom Cruise Daniel's lecture, ppt
Visuals: Peru Creek, Keystone
Nice overview of pyrite weathering
In-class review
Dec 1x final

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Department of Geography and

Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research

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