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Mass Wasting

  • By: John F. Shroder
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Mass wasting is a term for a wide variety of motions of rock, debris, earth, and organic matter that are moved downhill by gravity with various fluids entrained, such as water and air as well as ice. The concept of mass wasting is commonly supplanted by several other terms, such as mass movement or slope failure, and it also includes a tremendous diversity of things such as the various forms of creep, talus accumulation, flow of dry loess, burst of wet peat bogs, or block streams and rock glaciers as well. Classification of such diverse phenomena has been refined over the past century and a half, ultimately with emphasis on the types of material and types of movement, with a present-day consensus classification using rates ...

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