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Davis, William Morris (1850–1934)

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

William Morris Davis is the single most influential geomorphologist to have written in the English language, and perhaps in any language. Given the enormous growth and diversity in the discipline, it is unlikely that anyone will ever again dominate it to the degree that he did. The primary component of his reputation is the creation and indefatigable proselytism of the geomorphic cycle, also known as the geographical cycle. The model attempts to provide a comprehensive theoretical explanation of the development of landforms and many of their individual elements during the perceived lengthy periods between regional uplifts. The model gained enormous, but not unchallenged, currency and represented the prevailing orthodoxy in the English world from about 1900 until around World War II. It was challenged in ...

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