Hillslopes record the growth and decay of landscapes

Hurst, M.D. , Mudd, S.M., Attal, M. and Hilley, G. (2013) Hillslopes record the growth and decay of landscapes. Science, 341(6148), pp. 868-871. (doi: 10.1126/science.1241791) (PMID:23970695)

119801.pdf - Accepted Version



The Earth's surface archives the combined history of tectonics and erosion, which tend to roughen landscapes, and sediment transport and deposition, which smooth them. We analyzed hillslope morphology in the tectonically active Dragon’s Back Pressure Ridge in California, USA, to assess whether tectonic uplift history can be reconstructed using measurable attributes of hillslope features within landscapes. Hilltop curvature and hillslope relief mirror measured rates of vertical displacement caused by tectonic forcing, and their relationships are consistent with those expected when idealizing hillslope transport as a non-linear diffusion process. Hilltop curvature lags behind relief in its response to changing erosion rates, allowing growing landscapes to be distinguished from decaying landscapes. Numerical modeling demonstrates that hillslope morphology may be used to infer changes in tectonic rates.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by a National Environmental Research Council grant (NE/G524128/1) awarded to M.D.H. and by grant NE/H001174/1 and a grant from the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland to S.M.M.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hurst, Dr Martin
Authors: Hurst, M.D., Mudd, S.M., Attal, M., and Hilley, G.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GA Mathematical geography. Cartography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Q Science > QE Geology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Science
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN (Online):1095-9203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Science 341(6148): 868-871
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record