Landscape Evolution in the United States

An Introduction to the Geography, Geology, and Natural History


  • Joseph DiPietro, University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, USA

Landscape Evolution in the United States is an accessible text that balances interdisciplinary theory and application within the physical geography, geology, geomorphology, and climatology of the United States. Landscape evolution refers to the changing terrain of any given area of the Earth's crust over time. Common causes of evolution (or geomorphology-land morphing into a different size or shape over time) are glacial erosion and deposition, volcanism, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, sediment transport into rivers, landslides, climate change, and other surface processes. The book is divided into three main parts covering landscape components and how they are affected by climactic, tectonic and ocean systems; varying structural provinces including the Cascadia Volcanic Arc and California Transpressional System; and the formation and collapse of mountain systems.

The vast diversity of terrain and landscapes across the United States makes this an ideal tool for geoscientists worldwide who are researching the country’s geological evolution over the past several billion years.

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primary- Geologists, Exploration Geologists, Geographers, Geomorphologists, Climatologists, and Land Managers conducting research and working in industry, particularly with U.S. Geological Surveys nationwide, GPS/GIS companies as well as Oil & Gas companies.
secondary- undergraduate students in the Geosciences, particularly those taking coursework in geomorphology/physical geology and landscape evolution


Book information

  • Published: February 2013
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-397799-1


"This text is written for first-semester university students and for general readers curious about the landscapes they live in or travel through in the United States."--Reference and Research Book News, August 2013

Table of Contents

Part I - Keys to Understanding Landscape Evolution

  1. The Tortoise and the Hare
  2. Component: The Rock/Sediment Type
  3. Component: The Structural Form
  4. Mechanisms That Impart Change to Landscape
  5. Forcing Variable: The Tectonic System
  6. Forcing Variable: The Climatic System
  7. Forcing Variables: Sea Level and Isostasy
  8. Interaction of Tectonics, Climate, and Time

    Part II - Structural Provinces
  9. Unconsolidated Sediment
  10. Nearly Flat-Lying Sedimentary Layers
  11. Crystalline-Cored Mid-Continent Anticlines and Domes
  12. Foreland Fold and Thrust Belts
  13. Crystalline Deformation Belts
  14. Young Volcanic Rocks of the Cordillera
  15. Normal Fault-Dominated Landscapes
  16. Cascadia Volcanic Arc System
  17. California Transpressional System
  18. The Story of the Grand Canyon
  19. Part III - Mountain Building

  20. Early Theories on the Origin of Mountain Belts
  21. Keys to the Interpretation of Geological History
  22. Tectonic Style, Rock Successions, and Tectonic Provinces
  23. Formation, Collapse, and Erosional Decay of Mountain Systems
  24. The Appalachian Orogenic Belt: An Example of Compressional Mountain Building
  25. The Cordilleran Orogenic Belt