Erosion, Sedimentation, and Geomorphology
Hillslope processes, drainage density, and landscape morphology
Article first published online: 9 JUL 2010
Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union.
Water Resources Research
Volume 34, Issue 10, pages 2751–2764, October 1998
How to Cite
1998), Hillslope processes, drainage density, and landscape morphology, Water Resour. Res., 34(10), 2751–2764, doi:10.1029/98WR01474., and (
- Issue published online: 9 JUL 2010
- Article first published online: 9 JUL 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 MAY 1998
- Manuscript Received: 27 OCT 1997
Catchment morphology and drainage density are strongly influenced by hillslope processes. The consequences of several different hillslope process laws are explored in a series of experiments with a numerical model of drainage basin evolution. Five different models are considered, including a simple diffusive-advective process transition, a runoff generation threshold, an erosion threshold, and two types of threshold-activated landsliding. These different hillslope processes alter both the visual appearance of the landscape and the predicted relationship between slope and contributing area. On the basis of the different threshold theories, we derive expressions for the relationships between drainage density and environmental factors such as rainfall, relief, and mean erosion rate. These relationships vary depending on the dominant hillslope threshold. In particular, the sign of the predicted relationship between drainage density and relief is positive in semiarid, low-relief landscapes and negative in humid landscapes dominated by a saturation threshold and/or in high-relief landscapes dominated by simple threshold landsliding.