Topographic Stress, Bedrock Fractures, and Landscape Evolution

Friday, 19 December 2014: 2:40 PM
J Taylor Perron1, Seulgi Moon1, James Taylor St. Clair2, Stephen J Martel3, W Steven Holbrook2, Kamini Singha4 and Jorden L Hayes2, (1)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, United States, (3)Univ Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, United States, (4)Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, United States
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.