Microtopography as an indicator of modern hillslope diffusivity in arid terrain


Journal Article

Diffusion of topography is normally considered a smoothing process, but at the scale of the diffusive disturbance, diffusion becomes a roughening process. Roughening is exemplified by topographic features associated with disturbances such as animal burrows, hoof prints of grazing animals, and small landslides (here called large-scale processes). Diffusive processes that make small or indistinct topographic landmarks, such as rain splash and rhcological creep (here called small-scale processes), tend to erase these roughness elements. The ratio of the small-scale diffusion coefficient to the large-scale diffusion coefficient can be estimated by a measurement of the areal density of large-scale disturbances. In lightly vegetated, arid terrain, small-scale diffusion is dominant unless large-scale roughness elements cover a large fraction of the surface. The values of large-scale and small-scale modern diffusion coefficients can be estimated if the rate of generation of large-scale disturbances is known. Such estimates are performed for a burrowed fault scarp in Nevada.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jyotsna, R

Published Date

  • January 1, 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 25 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 695 - 698

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-7613

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1130/0091-7613(1997)025<0695:MAAIOM>2.3.CO;2

Citation Source

  • Scopus