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By Peter Duren

ISBN-10: 0821801244

ISBN-13: 9780821801246

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We will be concerned initially with large-scale geomorphic processes. All erosional processes are driven by gravity. In some, such as streamflow, downhill creep, or downslope movement of glacial ice, the medium usually moves down a gradient from higher to lower elevation. In the case of the wind, solar heating has created differences in densities of masses of air, which tend to be equalized by air flow from regions of higher to lower pressure. Shore currents, if due to wave action, may be traced back to gravitational stresses through the winds responsible for their formation; if due to tides, the currents may be traced to gravity flow responding to differences in water level.

In some instances even informative and detailed analyses do not yet provide the critical translation from analytical and laboratory studies to field evidence. This may be because the field evidence is often subject to several possible interpretations. Plural processes can produce similar evidence. It is therefore usually impossible to explain all the details of the formation of many features of the landscape, at least to the satisfaction of those who desire mathematical certainty. But this level of uncertainty should not blind us to the fact that the mechanics of erosion and deposition and the correlation of existing landforms with the processes which appear to be forming them are currently both inadequately described and poorly understood.

By comparing, for example, landslides (1), mudflows (4), and sheetflows (8) in Table 3-3, one can see that the simple addition of water may alter the mode of failure and of movement. 37 Climate and Denudational Processes Table 3-4. Approximate viscosities of several geomorphic agents. Geomorphic Agent Viscosity (poises)" Source Glaciers Rock glaciers Mudflow Solifluction Rivers (70°F) 10 13-10 14 2 X 1014-8 X 1014 2 X 10'-6 X 10' 10' 10- 2 Sharp (1954) Wahrhaftig and Cox (1959) Sharp and Nobles (1953) Hopkins and Sigafoos (1952) King (1954) • 1 poise = 1 gram mass per centimeter second.

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A century of mathematics in America. by Peter Duren


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