Chapter 19: The age of scarplike landforms from diffusion-equation analysis




The purpose of this paper is to review developments in the quantitative modeling of fault-scarp geomorphology, principally those since 1980. These developments utilize diffusionequation mathematics, in several different forms, as the basic model of fault-scarp evolution. Because solutions to the general diffusion equation evolve with time, as we expect faultscarp morphology to evolve with time, the model solutions carry information about the age of the structure and thus its time of formation; hence the inclusion of this paper in this volume. The evolution of fault-scarp morphology holds a small but special place in the much larger class of problems in landform evolution. In general, landform evolution means the evolution of topography as a function of both space and time. It is the outcome of the competition among those tectonic processes that make topography, erosive processes that destroy topography, and depositional processes that redistribute topography. Deposition and erosion can always be coupled through conservation-of-mass relations, but in general deposition occurs at great distance from the source region of detritus. Moreover, erosion is an inherently rough process whereas deposition is inherently smooth, as is evident from even casual inspection of shaded-relief, digital-elevation maps (e.g., Thelin and Pike, 1990; Simpson and Anders, 1992) and the current fascination with fractal representations oferoding terrains (e.g., Huang and Turcotte, 1989; Newman and Turcotte, 1990). Nevertheless, large-scale landform-evolution modeling, now a computationally intensive, advanced numerical exercise, is generating ever more realistic landforms (e.g., Willgoose and others, 1991a,b; Kooi and Beaumont, 1994; Tucker and Slingerland, 1994), although many of the rate coefficients remain poorly prescribed

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Chapter 19: The age of scarplike landforms from diffusion-equation analysis
ISBN 9780875909509
DOI 10.1029/RF004p0313
Volume 4
Year Published 2000
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Description 26 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Instruction
Larger Work Title Quaternary Geochronology: Methods and Applications v. 4
First page 313
Last page 338