cycle of erosion

World English Dictionary
cycle of erosion
 
n
the hypothetical sequence of modifications to the earth's surface by erosion, from the original uplift of the land to the ultimate low plain, usually divided into the youthful, mature, and old stages

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Main Entry:  cycle of erosion
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  the sequence of changes to a landscape, passing from youth and the beginning of erosion to old age; also called geomorphic cycle
Usage:  geology
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

cycle of erosion

theory of the evolution of landforms. In this theory, first set forth by William M. Davis between 1884 and 1934, landforms were assumed to change through time from "youth" to "maturity" to "old age," each stage having specific characteristics. The initial, or youthful, stage of landform development began with uplift that produced fold or block mountains. Upon dissection by streams, the area would reach maturity and, ultimately, would be reduced to an old-age surface called a peneplain, with an elevation near sea level. The cycle could be interrupted by uplift during any period of the life cycle and thus returned to the youthful stage; this return is called rejuvenation. The geomorphic cycle could be applied to all landforms such as hillslopes, valleys, mountains, and river drainage systems. It was assumed that, if the stage of a landform was known, its history followed directly according to a predetermined framework

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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