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Strahler, Arthur (1918–2002)

  • By: Colin Edward Thorn
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Arthur N. Strahler earned his doctorate in geomorphology at Columbia University, emerging in 1945 as a classically trained Davisian (read qualitative) geomorphologist. However, his personal dissatisfaction with this kind of geomorphology was soon fueled by exposure to the seminal work of Robert Horton. During the 1950s, Strahler was a great pioneer of quantitative geomorphology founded on physical and chemical principles. His influence was greatly extended by the impact of his doctoral students, including Richard Chorley, Donald Coates, Marie Morisawa, and Stanley Schumm.

Influential Pioneering Papers

Strahler produced a profoundly important series of papers. Initially, he introduced extremely simple statistical measures such as tests of significance, but sophisticated concepts such as dimensionless numbers (e.g., stream order, relief ratio, and the hypsometric curve) quickly followed. Dimensionless numbers were a ...

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