Skip to Main Content


Alluvial and fluvial fans are the most widespread depositional landforms bordering the margins of long-lived highland regions and actively subsiding continental basins, across a broad spectrum of tectonic and climatic settings. Their significance is relevant not only to the local morphodynamics of mountain regions and proximal basinal sectors, but also to the long-term evolution of sediment-routing systems, affecting the propagation of stratigraphic signals of environmental change and the preservation potential of stratal successions over much larger spatial scales than those they occupy. Subaerial fan systems archive information on the palaeoclimate, local tectonic history and landscape response to various allogenic factors, although our ability to decipher such information is still limited. Early recognition of alluvial fans dates from the late nineteenth century, but a coordinated research community on these systems has been active only over the last few decades and the full relevance of fluvial fan systems to the geomorphology of present day continental basins and to the interpretation of ancient stratigraphic successions has been convincingly demonstrated only over the last decade. This introductory chapter summarizes advances in our knowledge of alluvial and fluvial fans, identifies potential new lines of future inquiry, and presents the contributions to this volume in the context of the current state of research.

You do not currently have access to this chapter.

Figures & Tables





Citing Books via

Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal