Evolutionary megageomorphology of the terrestrial planets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Geomorphology can be viewed alternatively as (1) a body of knowledge or facts about planet Earth's surface, or (2) a way of thinking about Earth's surface. Viewpoint (1) leads logically to a reductionistic epistemological emphasis on establishing simplifying and generalizing principles from which one might construct model simulations of landscape evolution and process operation. This viewpoint also leads to an emphasis upon readily measurable processes. The controlled experiments necessary to match reality to theory via model predictions are logically precluded in the real world of planetary surfaces. Viewpoint (2) offers a holistic approach to discovery based on the recognition that the book of Earth's surface is written in a language of indices. Indices are signs that directly represent causative processes. The holistic, evolutionary thought process is needed not only at megascales; it also is required for geoecological understanding of humankind's immediate environment. There is only one required principle for the necessary scientific processes: do not block the evolution of thought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalHeidelberger Geographische Arbeiten
Volume104
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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