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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About the author

Joseph DiPietro

Joseph A. DiPietro is Professor of Geology at the University of Southern Indiana. His research interests are in the fields of structural geology, tectonics, and metamorphism. He has been on the faculty at University of Southern Indiana since 1991 where he teaches Physical Geology, Landscapes and Geology of North America, Mineralogy, Structural Geology, and Tectonics. Most of his research has been on the tectonics of the Pakistan Himalaya where he mapped along the suture zone that separates India from Asia. He has also worked for the New York State Geological Survey mapping in the Adirondack Mountains and for the Idaho Geological Survey mapping in the Clearwater Mountains. He has also conducted mapping and research in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Southern Indiana, Evansville, USA


"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