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Title: The Art of Landslides: How Stochastic Mass Wasting Shapes Topography and Influences Landscape Dynamics

Bedrock landslides shape topography and mobilize large volumes of sediment. Yet, interactions between landslide‐produced sediment and fluvial systems that together govern large‐scale landscape evolution are not well understood. To explain morphological patterns observed in steep, landslide‐prone terrain, we explicitly model stochastic landsliding and associated sediment dynamics. The model accounts for several common landscape features such as slope frequency distributions, which include values in excess of regional stability limits, quasi‐planar hillslopes decorated with straight, closely spaced channel‐like features, and accumulation of sediment in valley networks rather than on hillslopes. Stochastic landsliding strongly affects the magnitude and timing of sediment supply to the fluvial system. We show that intermittent sediment supply is ultimately reflected in topography. At dynamic equilibrium, landslide‐derived sediment pulses generate persistent landscape dynamism through the formation and breaching of landslide dams and epigenetic gorges as landslides force shifts in channel positions. Our work highlights the importance of interactions between landslides and sediment dynamics that ultimately control landscape‐scale response to environmental change.

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Award ID(s):
2148762 2104102
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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