Chapter 3 Processes and landforms in deserts
Published:January 01, 2012
J. S. Griffiths, P. G. Fookes, A. S. Goudie, M. Stokes, Engineering Group Working Party, 2012. "Chapter 3 Processes and landforms in deserts", Hot Deserts: Engineering, Geology and Geomorphology Engineering Group Working Party Report, M. J. Walker
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The ground conditions relevant to construction in deserts are controlled to a great extent by geomorphological processes of landscape development acting on the extant geology and topography. Thus, examining the geomorphological ‘process–response’ system forms the basis for understanding the desert landscape and natural hazards to safe and economic construction (Chapter 4). Within the geomorphological systems, the balance between erosion, transportation and deposition caused by wind, water and gravity, linked to soil moisture deficit and the prevalence of salt compounds, is instrumental in creating distinctive morphological forms. In addition to contemporary geomorphological processes, the extent and location of desert areas have fluctuated throughout the Cenozoic, and in particular during the Quaternary. Thus, all existing deserts contain landforms created under different climatic regimes that remain as relict features that might or might not be stable under prevailing conditions.
In this chapter the processes that create desert landforms are presented under four categories:
rock weathering, disintegration and duricrust formation;
wind: sand and dust;
subsurface water, salts and aggressive ground.
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Hot Deserts: Engineering, Geology and Geomorphology Engineering Group Working Party Report
This volume provides an authoritative and comprehensive state-of-the-art review of hot desert terrains in all parts of the world, their geomaterials and influence on civil engineering site investigation, design and construction. It primarily covers conditions and materials in modern hot deserts, but there is also coverage of unmodified ancient desert soils that exhibit engineering behaviour similar to modern desert materials. Thorough and up-to-date guidance on modern field evaluation and ground investigation techniques in hot arid areas is provided, including reference to a new approach to the desert model and detailed specialized assessments of the latest methods for materials characterization and testing.
The volume is based on world-wide experience in hot desert terrain and draws upon the knowledge and expertise of the members of a Geological Society Engineering Group Working Party comprising practising geologists, geomorphologists and civil engineers with a wealth of varied, but complementary experience of working in hot deserts.
This is an essential reference book for professionals, as well as a valuable textbook for students. It is written in a style that is accessible to the non-specialist. A comprehensive glossary is also included.