Landscape evolution models using the stream power incision model show unrealistic behavior when m ∕  n equals 0.5

Kwang, Jeffrey S.; Parker, Gary

Landscape evolution models often utilize the stream power incision model to simulate river incision: E =  KAmSn, where E is the vertical incision rate, K is the erodibility constant, A is the upstream drainage area, S is the channel gradient, and m and n are exponents. This simple but useful law has been employed with an imposed rock uplift rate to gain insight into steady-state landscapes. The most common choice of exponents satisfies m ∕  n = 0.5. Yet all models have limitations. Here, we show that when hillslope diffusion (which operates only on small scales) is neglected, the choice m ∕  n = 0.5 yields a curiously unrealistic result: the predicted landscape is invariant to horizontal stretching. That is, the steady-state landscape for a 10 km 2 horizontal domain can be stretched so that it is identical to the corresponding landscape for a 1000 km 2 domain.

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Kwang, Jeffrey S. / Parker, Gary: Landscape evolution models using the stream power incision model show unrealistic behavior when m ∕ n equals 0.5. 2017. Copernicus Publications.

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