Rivers as linear elements in landform evolution models

Hergarten, Stefan

Models of detachment-limited fluvial erosion have a long history in landform evolution modeling in mountain ranges. However, they suffer from a scaling problem when coupled to models of hillslope processes due to the flux of material from the hillslopes into the rivers. This scaling problem causes a strong dependence of the resulting topographies on the spatial resolution of the grid. A few attempts based on the river width have been made in order to avoid the scaling problem, but none of them appear to be completely satisfying. Here a new scaling approach is introduced that is based on the size of the hillslope areas in relation to the river network. An analysis of several simulated drainage networks yields a power-law scaling relation for the fluvial incision term involving the threshold catchment size where fluvial erosion starts and the mesh width. The obtained scaling relation is consistent with the concept of the steepness index and does not rely on any specific properties of the model for the hillslope processes.

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Hergarten, Stefan: Rivers as linear elements in landform evolution models. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Stefan Hergarten

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