In recent years, the nature of the complex interactions between the solid earth and the overlying atmosphere has been the subject of much debate (England and Molnar 1990; Whipple et al. 1999; Braun et al. 1999). Does erosion play an important role in the dynamics of mountain building? Is there a strong feedback into the balance of forces at the crustal scale from mass transport by erosional and depositional processes at the Earth’s surface? Or does erosion passively react to changes in the Earth’s surface topography to shape mountains with tectonic forces, originating in the underlying...

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