Landscape Evolution in the United States

1st Edition

An Introduction to the Geography, Geology, and Natural History

Print ISBN: 9780123977991
eBook ISBN: 9780123978066
Imprint: Elsevier
Published Date: 8th February 2013
Page Count: 480
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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.

Table of Contents




Part I: Keys to Understanding Landscape Evolution

Chapter 1. The Tortoise and the Hare

How Slow is Slow?

Maps, Cross-sections, and Scale

The Face of the United States

Across the Great Divide

Components, Mechanisms, and Variables That Impart Change on a Landscape

Chapter 2. Component: The Rock/Sediment Type

Weathering, Erosion, and Deposition

Rocks and Unconsolidated Sediment

The Influence of Bedrock on a Landscape

Karst Landscape

Distribution of Rock/Sediment Type Among the US Physiographic Provinces

Chapter 3. Component: The Structural Form

Style of Rock Deformation (Structure)

Influence of Geologic Structure on Landscape

The Response of Dipping Layers to Erosional Lowering

The Shape of Land vs. the Shape of Rock Structure

Chapter 4. Mechanisms That Impart Change to Landscapes

Uplift and Subsidence

Erosion and Deposition



Chapter 5. Forcing Variable: The Tectonic System

Fire and Ice

The Tectonic System

The Atlantic Passive Continental Margin

The Pacific Active Continental Margin

Tectonic Accretion, Underplating, and Suture Zones

Thermal Plumes and Hot Spots

Tekton: The Carpenter, The Builder

Chapter 6. Forcing Variable: The Climatic System

Present-Day Climate Zones

Controls on Climate

A Daughter of the Snows: The Continental Glaciation

Alpine Glaciation

Chapter 7. Forcing Variables: Sea Level and Isostasy

Sea-Level Changes

River Response to Sea-Level changes

Isostasy and Isostatic Equilibrium

Tectonic Versus Isostatic Uplift/Subsidence

Chapter 8. Interaction of Tectonics, Climate, and Time

Structure-Controlled versus Erosion-Controlled Landscapes



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"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