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Geomorphology

  • By: Richard A. Marston
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Geomorphology is the science that studies land-forms, including their shape (morphology) and spatial distribution (location and position in the landscape), the materials of which they are composed (bedrock, soils, sediment), and the processes that form, maintain, and change them over time. Geomorphology has long been recognized as a major subfield of geography and geology, but in recent decades, concepts and techniques from geomorphology have been applied widely in engineering (e.g., restoration of damaged streams), ecology (e.g., estimating fish abundance as a function of physical habitat features), forestry (e.g., evaluating the stability of hillslopes), agriculture (e.g., modeling soil erosion), hydrology (e.g., assessing flood hazards, finding groundwater), archaeology (e.g., reconstructing past environments), pedology (e.g., explaining the movement of heavy metals, relative age dating of geomorphic surfaces using ...

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