Abstract

Introduction

A marked convergence of interest has characterized geomorphological and engineering investigations of slopes during the last decade or so. The former have combined traditional geomorphological mapping with recently developed remote sensing methods to identify and classify stable and unstable slopes, while examination of slope-process mechanics and application of stability analyses formulated by engineers have both become important themes (Prior 1978). The latter have become increasingly concerned with Quaternary slope evolution, because of the danger of reactivation of fossil mass movements during engineering projects (Skempton 1976). However, distinctive elements exist in geomorphological approaches to hillslope studies. Relevant temporal and spatial scales are broader than those of immediate interest to the engineer, and concern with long-term slope development is necessarily paralleled by investigation of regional slope assemblages, through both the interpretation of regional slope angle histograms and the development of models of slope evolution in relation to Quaternary climatic change and general drainage basin processes. Such long-term regional slope development reflects the summation of discrete, local events, making consideration of individual slopes and mass movements also necessary. At this scale, geomorphological interest relates to morphology, the magnitude-frequency properties of different processes, the dating of events, and the environmental controls of slope stabiliity, such as the spatial variation of soil water pressures and weathering. These general approaches are focussed on specific slopes by a geographical appraisal of variation of salient geotechnical properties both between and within particular lithologies, which permits calibration of appropriate stability models in the specific

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