Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

The plate tectonics revolution was the most significant advance in our understanding of the Earth in the twentieth century, but initially it had little impact on the discipline of geomorphology. Topography and landscape development were not considered to be important phenomena that deserved attention from the broader Earth-science community in the context of the new model of global tectonics. This situation began to change from the 1980s as various technical innovations enabled landscape evolution to be modelled numerically at the regional to subcontinental scales relevant to plate tectonics, and rates of denudation to be quantified over geological timescales. These developments prompted interest amongst Earth scientists from fields such as geophysics, geochemistry and geochronology in understanding the evolution of topography, the role of denudation in influencing patterns of crustal deformation, and the interactions between tectonics and surface processes. This trend was well established by the end of the century, and has become even more significant up to the present. In this chapter I review these developments and illustrate how plate tectonics has been related to landscape development, especially in the context of collisional orogens and passive continental margins. I also demonstrate how technical innovations have been pivotal to the expanding interest in macroscale landscape development in the era of plate tectonics, and to the significant enhancement of the status of the discipline of geomorphology in the Earth sciences over recent decades.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.
Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal