Equilibrium in the balance? Implications for landscape evolution from dryland environments
Louise J. Bracken, John Wainwright, 2008. "Equilibrium in the balance? Implications for landscape evolution from dryland environments", Landscape Evolution: Denudation, Climate and Tectonics over Different Time and Space Scales, K. Gallagher, S. J. Jones, J. Wainwright
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Equilibrium is a central concept in geomorphology. Despite the widespread use of the term, there is a great deal of variability in the ways equilibrium is portrayed and informs practice. Thus, there is confusion concerning the precise meanings and usage of the concept. In this chapter we draw on examples from dryland environments to investigate the practical implications of applying and testing the concept of equilibrium. Issues that we cover include the importance of scale and spatial variability, time, the assumption of constant environmental feedbacks and nonlinearities. The evaluation demonstrates that there are a range of problems inherent with using ideas of geomorphological equilibrium explicitly or implicitly to structure research in drylands. Many of these problems also apply to other environments.
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Landscape Evolution: Denudation, Climate and Tectonics over Different Time and Space Scales
The morphology of Earth’s surface reflects the interaction of climate, tectonics and denudational processes operating over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. These processes can be considered catastrophic or continuous; depending on the timescale of observation or interest. Recent research had required integration of historically distinct subjects such as geomorphology, sedimentology, climatology and tectonics. Together, these have provided new insights into absolute and relative rates of denudation, and the factors that control the many dynamic processes involved. Specific subject areas covered are sediment transport processes and the timescales of competing processes, the role of the geological record and landscapes in constraining different processes, the nature of landscape evolution at different spatial scales and in contrasting geological environments.