Evolutionary Signatures of River Networks
Monday, 15 December 2014
River networks exhibit fractal characteristics and it has long been wondered how such regular patterns have been formed. This subject has been actively investigated mainly by two great schools of thoughts, i.e., chance and organization. Along this line, several fundamental questions have partially been addressed or remained. They include whether river networks pursue certain optimal conditions, and if so what is the ultimate optimality signature. Hydrologists have traditionally perceived this issue from fluvial-oriented perspectives. Nevertheless, geological processes can be more dominant in the formation of river networks in reality. To shed new lights on this subject, it is necessary to better understand complex feedbacks between various processes over different time scales, and eventually the emerging characteristic signature. Here, I will present highlights of earlier studies on this line and some noteworthy approaches being tried recently.