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Geomorphic Cycle

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

The geomorphic cycle was introduced by William Morris Davis as a comprehensive model of the way in which natural landscapes develop at a regional scale. Although initiated somewhat earlier, it emerged as a largely finished product in 1899 and quickly became the dominant way in which landscapes were viewed academically for several decades. While its dominance in the world of research was challenged in the late 1930s and substantively soon after World War II, it remained an important teaching framework much longer. Today, the comprehensive model is passé, but discrete elements and terms remain and are often used shorn of their original critical conceptual underpinnings.

Context and Objectives

The geomorphic cycle was launched into the scientific world at a time when Charles Darwin's work was an overt ...

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