Topographic Stress, Bedrock Fractures, and Landscape Evolution
Friday, 19 December 2014: 2:40 PM
Fractures influence the development of landforms by altering the permeability and erodibility of bedrock. Landforms may in turn influence the development of bedrock fractures by perturbing the stress field generated by gravity and tectonics. This mutual influence could lead to feedbacks between evolving landforms and topographic stress. We summarize new geological and geophysical field evidence that topographic stress alters the distribution and state of bedrock fractures. Using these observations as a guide, we propose a framework for incorporating stress effects into landscape evolution models, including a dimensionless number that describes the relative importance of gravitational and ambient tectonic stresses.