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Book Chapter

Slope movements

By
Robert W. Fleming
Robert W. Fleming
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David J. Varnes
David J. Varnes
U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, MS 966, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225
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Published:
January 01, 1991

Abstract

Hillslopes are a fundamental unit of a landscape, comprising that reach of ground between a drainage divide and a valley floor, and thus much effort has been expended in their study. Early research by Davis (1899) and Penck (1924) was directed toward developing unified theories of slope formation and evolution. Subsequently, emphasis has shifted toward morphometric description of slopes (Strahler, 1956) and study of hillslope processes (Schumm, 1956). Currently, geomorphologists are making impressive advances in understanding hillslope forms and processes (Carson and Kirkby, 1972; Scheidegger, 1970, 1975; Huggett, 1985). While unified theories of hillslope formation and evolution are apparently many years away, the next generation of models can be based on carefully obtained measurements of hillslope processes.

Slope movements of several different types are among the principal processes by which hillslopes evolve. Slope movements are downward and outward movements of slope-forming materials composed of natural rock, soils, artificial fills, or combinations of these materials. This definition is identical to the definition of landslide used by Eckel (1958a). The terms landslide and mass wasting are sometimes used synonymously for slope movement. Slope movements, however, include some processes that involve little or no true sliding, such as falls and flows, and do not include some processes contained in mass wasting such as subsidence (Sharpe, 1938).

Progress in understanding and control of slope movements has been the result of a truly interdisciplinary effort involving geological scientists, engineers, physicists, and hydrologists. Most of the major practitioners in applied geology in the 19th and 20th centuries have contributed significantly to our understanding of slope movement types and processes.

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Contents

DNAG, Centennial Special Volumes

The Heritage of Engineering Geology; The First Hundred Years

George A. Kiersch
George A. Kiersch
Professor Emeritus, Geological Sciences Cornell University
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Geological Society of America
Volume
3
ISBN electronic:
9780813754154
Publication date:
January 01, 1991

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