Geomorphology is the study of the Earth's diverse physical land surface features and the dynamic processes that shape these features. Examining natural and anthropogenic processes, The SAGE Handbook of Geomorphology is a comprehensive exposition of the fundamentals of geomorphology that examines form, process, and history in the discipline. Organized into four sections, the Handbook is an overview of foundations and relevance, including the nature and scope of geomorphology, the origins and development of geomorphology, the role and character of theory in geomorphology, the significance of models and abstractions to geomorphology; techniques and approaches, including geomorphological mapping, field observations and experimental design, remote sensing in geomorphology, quantifying rates of erosion, measuring fluid flows and sediment fluxes, dating surfaces and sediment, GIS in geomorphology, and modelling landforms and processes; process and environment, including rock weathering, the evolution of regolith, hill slopes, riverine environments, glacial environments, periglacial environments, coastal environments, desert environments, karst landscapes, environmental change and anthropogenic activity; and environmental change, including geomorphology and environmental management, geomorphology and society, and planetary geomorphology.
The majority of the terrestrial surface of the Earth is formed from slopes; indeed plains are essentially the exception, usually formed by comparatively recent depositional processes in fluvial or marine environments. Even areas of low relief generally consist primarily of low-angled slopes. Thus, the understanding of the processes and behaviour of slope systems must form an essential component of geomorphology. However, slopes vary vastly in their character, ranging from gentle slopes formed from young, weak sediments to >1000 m high near-vertical cliffs formed from ancient, strong metamorphic rocks. Thus, it is unsurprising that processes vary greatly across and between slope systems.
In geomorphology the terms slope and hillslope can be used essentially interchangeably when discussing land units. Thus the term hillslope, which might appear to ...