soil creep

soil creep

noun Geology.
creep of soil on even slopes; often accelerated by spring freeze-and-thaw or general periglacial conditions. Compare creep ( def 22a ).

Origin:
1895–1900

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World English Dictionary
soil creep
 
n
the gradual downhill movement, under the force of gravity, of soil and loose rock material on a slope

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

soil creep

in geology, slow downslope movement of particles that occurs on every slope covered with loose, weathered material. Even soil covered with close-knit sod creeps downslope, as indicated by slow but persistent tilting of trees, poles, gravestones, and other objects set into the ground on hillsides. The most important process producing creep, aside from direct gravitational influences, is frost heaving: as interstitial water freezes, surface particles are forced up and out perpendicular to the slope; when let down by melting, these particles are drawn directly downward by gravity and are thereby gradually moved downslope. Other processes involved are the wedging action of root growth and the wetting and drying of soil layers

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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