Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Tectonism, Climate and Geomorphology

In this essay the author1 examines a basic premise of geomorphology, interactions between the tectonic framework of the Earth and its atmosphere are reflected in the landforms and land-forming processes, and the author1 develops 5 themes:

1st is the outlining by the author1 of tectonism and tectonic change in terms of changing tectonic concepts, plate mechanics, continental interiors (cratons and platform covers) and continental margins, active and passive.

2nd is a review of climate forcing by defining weather and climate, early ideas of changing climate, and the probable causes of these changes. Over time climates change in response to several forces that are interactive. These include forces are external to the Earth, others with relation to the Earth's orbital relations with the Sun, and those that are internal to the Earth system, such as the profound alteration of the playing field for climate that result from tectonism.

3rd, the spatial implications for geomorphology that result from tectonic and climate forcing when viewed in the context of latitude and location, continentally and oceanicity, ocean gateways and land corridors, barriers that result from continental elevation and relief, and vegetation cover.

4th is prefaced by the author1 with a discussion of the nature and rate of change, the temporal implications of this change, tectonic and climatic, for geomorphology, and an evaluation of the changes in climate that have occurred over the last 300 My. The 8 topics that are discussed are the supercontinent of Pangaea, the opening of the Tethys Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, the opening of the Southern Ocean, uplift of the Western Cordillera of North America, uplift of the Andes, uplift of the Eurasian Cordillera and the closure of the Tethys Ocean, closure of the Central American Isthmus, and volcanism.

5th is a discussion of 3 geomorphic feedbacks that affect tectonism and climate: denudation, sedimentation and isostasy; biogeochemical cycling; and a change in relative sea level.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Orme, A. R. "1.10 Tectonism, Climate, and Geomorphology." In Treatise on Geomorphology, edited by F. Shroder Editor-in-Chief: John, 146-89. San Diego: Academic Press, 2013.


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last Updated 07/07/2013
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