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Changing Hillslopes: Evolution and Inheritance; Inheritance and Evolution of Slopes

Roering, J.J. and Hales, T.C. ORCID: 2022. Changing Hillslopes: Evolution and Inheritance; Inheritance and Evolution of Slopes. Schroder, John F., ed. Treatise on Geomorphology 2nd ed., pp. 184-205. (10.1016/B978-0-12-818234-5.01012-9)

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The antiquity and inheritance of hillslopes have long fascinated geologists seeking to unravel the impact of climate on hillslope morphology. Given the onset of profound climate oscillations in the last several million years, Neogene landscapes may have differed significantly from the modern Earth surface. Early views on climate–morphology linkages have also differed greatly; some ascribed nearly every feature of modern slopes to past climate regimes, whereas others noted the ubiquity of slope forms worldwide and thus rejected a primary role for climate. Efforts to differentiate between these divergent views were hampered by a lack of model testing. The revival of topographic surveys in the 1950s encouraged quantitative analysis of slope forms and explicit treatment of hillslope processes. More recently, the coupling of process-based models for sediment transport, erosion rate estimates via cosmogenic radionuclides, and widespread topographic data has enabled the testing and calibration of process-based models for hillslope interpretation and prediction. In soil-mantled terrain, models for soil transport and production predict that hillslope adjustment timescales vary nonlinearly with hillslope length; the adjustment timescale for typical settings should vary from 10,000 to 500,000 years, similar to the timescale for glacial–interglacial and other climate fluctuations. Because process-based models for bedrock landscapes are poorly understood, we have limited ability to quantify, for example, post-glacial rockfall and scree slope formation. Although the paradigm of steady-state hillslopes has facilitated the testing of numerous process models in the last several decades, this assumption should be relaxed such that climate–hillslope linkages can be more clearly defined.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
ISBN: 978-0-12-818235-2
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2023 16:00

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