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Geomorphology NJCU GEOS 335 Lec 1 Easterbrook Chap 1 (Intro) & Chap 2 (Basic Concepts) Chap 1 Introduction to Geomorpholog

log !e"ined# $stud o" origin and e%olution o" topographic "eatures b ph sical & chemical processes operating at or near the earth&s sur"ace' Geomorph interdisciplinar ( o%erlaps )ith# * drolog Glaciolog Geograph +tatistics Climatolog +oil science ,erod namics (-) *istoric contributions# Geomorph starts in .th centur BC / *erodotus (ca0 1.2 BC) recogni3es Eg ptian r4 )ith marine "ossils "ormed beneath the sea5 he also suggested that 6ile 7 delta took 1222s o" ears to "orm ("ar ahead o" his time in this t pe o" thinking) / ,ristotle (ca0 8.2 BC) recogni3es that streams can erode( and also deposit allu%ium / Lucretias (ca0 122 BC) recogni3es deca o" r4 b )eathering / +trabo (ca0 2 ,!) suggests principles o" delta gro)th !ark ,ges not much happens in geomorph( e4cept / ,%icenna (ca0 1222 ,!) suggests that mts can be created b crustal uphea%al and then sculpted into "eatures b erosion (landscapes car%ed b erosion a"ter uphea%al is a ke geomorph concept) 7enaissance things pick up again / !a 9inci (ca 1.22) sees marine "ossils in rocks( sees streams sculpting landscapes / +teno (ca 1:.2) sees that running )ater is the chie" agent o" erosion !espite the lack o" progress because o" the Church&s insistence upon instantaneous creation o" earth (literal reading o" Genesis)( there )as some progress also made in 1;th centur # / <argioni sees that streams erode di""erentiall depending upon rock t pe the run through / Leclerc sees potential "or peneplanation (creation o" a completel "lat sur"ace) b stream erosion / Guettard sees destruction o" cli""s (chalk( poss =hite cli""s o" !o%er) b )a%e action / !esmarest presented theor that landscapes e%ol%e through successi%e erosional stages 1

/ !e+aussure recogni3ed erosion & deposition caused b glaciers0 >ather o" modern geolog ( ?ames *utton (1@2:/A@) "ought against $6eptunists' (people )ho thought that 6oah&s "lood receding "lood )aters caused most deposition o" r4 and subseBuent erosion as "lood )aters receded) and the $catastrophists' (people )ho thought that Earth "eatures "ormed %er Buickl b catastrophic e%ents since God created the )orld ca 8222 BC according to Bishop Cssher)( b preaching the idea o" uniformitarianism, a cornerstone o" modern geologic theor (leads us to be able to sa D0$<he present is the ke to the past'D0) Ela "air (1;22) and L ell ($Erinciples o" Geolog ' published "rom 1;88 to 1;@.) continued in the "ootsteps o" *utton( )ith clearer )riting st les that led to more )idespread reading and greater public acceptance o" modern ideas0 Fthers in 1Ath centur also made important contributions# / +urrell (ca 1;.2) spelled out erosional & depositional parts o" streams along the longitudinal pro"ile / 7eade (ca 1A22) pro%ed that solution o" r4 (ie( dissol%ing o" limestone) )as important in erosion0 / Leslie (ca 1A22) e4plained e4plained di""erential erosion o" ,ppalachians / Geikie (ca 1A22) studied relati%e $erosi%eness' o" marine %s subaerial (land/based) processes( concluded that the latter is more e""ecti%e because it acts upon the entire upli"ted sur"ace o" a continent( )hereas marine processes act onl on the shoreline (Dthis is not entirel true( but it is "air to sa that much more erosion occurs on land than in the ocean( )here the lion&s share o" the processes are depositional( not erosional European glaciolog reall )as the trigger that kicked o"" modern geomorpholog / Bernardi (ca 1;2.) publishes "irst e%idence o" earlier glaciation (in area o" 60 German no) "ree o" ice) / ,gassi3 (1;12)( %er "amous glaciologist( populari3es the concept o" glaciers "ormerl co%ering much larger areas o" 60 *emi( tra%els to 60 ,merica( spreads glacial concepts here too0 / <C Chamberlin & >rank Le%erett (ca 1A22) documented the e4istence o" a maGor continental glacier that originated in Canada and e4panded south man 122s o" miles into C0+0 E%en !ar)in contributed to geomorph( b obser%ing the immediate upli"t i" se%eral "eet in ele%ation (and subseBuent erosion) o" the Chilean shoreline a"ter an 1;8. eBk In last hal" o" 1Ath centur ( some ,merican pioneers )ere also geologists# / ?ohn =esle Eo)ell tra%eled through the Grand Can on on the Colorado 70( came up )ith the concept o" $base le%el' o" ri%ers (base le%el is sea le%el( ultimatel )0 ,s streams drop closer to base le%el( gradients (longitudinal slope) are reduced and the lose abilit to erode (and start depositing the sediment the ha%e been carr ing

Gro%e Harl Gilbert ($the present is the ke to the past') "ollo)ed in Eo)ell&s "ootstep( )ith )ork in *enr Its o" Ctah documenting stream erosion and Buanti" ing the relationship bet)een stream load( discharge( %elocit ( and gradient0 In 22th centur ( =0I0 !a%is combined much earlier )ork to "orm the concept o" $c cle o" erosion'# +ur"aces become dissected b erosion( and stream/car%ed landscapes e%ol%e to a "inal stage o" a planar sur"ace ($peneplain') near base le%el0 +tages are Jouth Iaturit Fld age Fn to Chap <)oD Basic Concepts Check out photo on p0@ - Iultiple meander belts o" the same ri%er( s)eeping back and "orth( re)orking sediments I0 >undamental Erinciples need to understand both modern sur"ace processes (and the controlling ph sics and chemistr o" those processes) and historic in"luence o" geologic time0 He is understanding )hich processes are at )ork( "or ho) long( on )hat materials0 =ith training (and luck)( ou can identi" the appropriate stage o" geomorphic e%olution ( outh( maturit ( old age) o" geologic "eatures a0 Geomorphic process each process besto)s distincti%e "eature(s) upon a landscapeDcharacteristic $assemblages o" land"orms' de%elop0 Jou should be able to unra%el( "rom the land"orm itsel"( the original "eature (i" an ) and the geomorphic process that modi"ied that "eature0 +imple e4ampleD0 , mountain %alle bet)een t)o peaks starts out looking like#

7i%er Dthen becomes modi"ied to look like this#

=hat happenedKK 8

Look at the initial "orm( )ith a stream running through it0 Imagine )hat )ould happen i" a large alpine glacier came do)n the stream %alle ( plucking rocks as it )entK


, classic $C/shaped %alle ' is )hat is car%ed and le"t behind once the ice melts +ur"ace processes responsible "or most o" the earths& "eatures are# =eathering Iass )asting (land/ and mudslides( earth"lo)s( rock"alls( soil creep) 7unning )ater (streams( ri%ers) Ground)ater (chemistr dissol%es r4 in one place( precipitates them in another place) Glaciers =ind =a%es =ind <ectonism / earthBuakes cause "ault mo%ement( one block upli"ted (or do)nthro)n) relati%e to another 9olcanism b0 E%olution o" land"orms land"orms e%ol%e continuousl ( through a seBuence o" "orms0 c0 Geologic structure tectonic disturbance o" the crust can create land"orms( either b the actual disturbance( or the secondar di""erential erosion o" di"" r40 IF+< o" Earth&s maGor( large/scale "eatures like mountains and ocean basins( are result o" large/scale tectonic motion0

<here are more locali3ed geomorphic "eatures kno)n as escarpments( or "ault scarps( that are the sur"ace e4pressions o" indi%idual "aults00the directl o""set the land sur"ace# BE>F7E# ,><E7# "ault scarp In addition to these neotectonic "eatures( there are longer/term sur"ace irregularities caused b di""erential erosion# Be"ore#
Lmstone shale


shale eroded a)a Limestone le"t

this is ho) the ,ppalachian 9alle and 7idge ha%e been "ormed0 E4tra Credit# look up the 9alle and 7idge( "ind a representati%e cross/section sho)ing the subsur"ace geolog and the present/da land sur"ace

d0 Geomorphic s stems/ to understand sur"ace processes and geomorphic s stems( one needs to understand# Cni"ormitarianism understanding o" relict land"orms created b ancient processes can be understood i" those ancient processes are similar to those operating toda ()hich the more or less areD)0 +o the ke is to e4trapolate back)ard in time( and %isuali3e ho) things ma ha%e de%eloped0 EBuilibrium s stems aka $negati%e "eedback' a balance bet)een opposing "orces / GH Gilbert (in the 1;@2s-) came up )ith concept o" $graded' stream one that is in eBuilibrium )ith surroundings and neither erodes or deposits sediment (p0A detailed e4planation)# I" slope is steeper than that reBuired to maintain %elocit needed to carr the sed load( erosion )ill occur until bed is lo)ered and %elocit drops

Eositi%e "eedback in this case the change is in the same direction as the "orcing mechanism0 <heir e4ample is a meander bend in a ri%er0 <he bend progressi%el mo%es out)ard( ultimatel intersects )ith another bend0 Good Buote# $positi%e "eedback s stems carr the source o" their o)n destruction and e%entuall accelerate to sel"/elimination0


7ational & empirical approaches need both to "ull understand s stems a0 7ational approach "ocuses upon determining cause/and/e""ect relationships0 .

b0 Empirical approach "ocuses upon characteri3ing the nature (o"ten Buantitati%e) o" the relationships0 c0 Iultiple )orking h potheses a cornerstone o" modern geolog (keep an open mind( al)a s consider multiple )a s to e4plain our obser%ations)0 +teps# / Fbser%e "acts / !e%elop multiple h potheses / <est h potheses (reGect those that ou can( come up )ith ne) )a s to test %alidit o" the sur%i%ors) / 6ot al)a s possible to narro) do)n things to Gust one alternati%e E4ample use >ig 2/2 on p0 11/12 to "ocus on %alle 6orth o" Cedar Creek0 +e%eral anomalies( and a Buestion# *o) did this %alle "ormK +teps# I! all possible alternati%es "or origin o" this %alle (present con"iguration in 2/2a)# Eond Creek (currentl "lo)ing 6=) probabl too small to ha%e "ormed the %alle +ame likel true "or small +/"lo)ing stream <he possible candidates that eroded this %alle are# 10 Hentuck 7 20 Cedar Creek Fne has a hard time tr ing to en%isage the Hentuck 7 originall cutting the channel and then Gumping to it&s present course( so the Hentuck 7 as a source is probabl out <his lea%es Cedar Creek( and i" ou imagine >ig 2/2B( it is not hard to see that Cedar creek could ha%e "lo)ed "rom +E to 6= at some point in the past( dumping into Hentuck 70 Later( it is concei%able that Cedar Crk could ha%e eroded a meander bend into the Hentuck on it&s outside edge( )hich )ould ha%e caused an immediate s)itch o" Cedar Crk drainage into the Hentuck +o the most likel h pothesis to e4plain the de%elopment o" this %alle is the last one0