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Fluvial processes and settlement in arid environments

Abstract

The impact of fluvial geomorphic processes on settlement in deserts is tie d to two conflicting factors: the extreme rarity of geomorphic events on the one hand, and the violence of the geomorphic forces coupled with a minimal resistance to erosion on the other.

The unique character of desert floods calls for a careful geomorphic evaluation in the siting of settlements and transportation facilities. On the beneficial sid e, the geomorphic processes involved enable, under some conditions, the local exploitation of floodwaters which percolate in the alluvium of the upper tributaries, as well as the utilization of the hydraulic geometry for estimating discharge characteristics.

On a larger scale, human interference often disrupts the delicate quasi-equilbrium between erosion and sedimentation in deserts. Although our poor understanding of many aspects of the mechanism of response makes it difficult to separate the effects from those of climatic changes, enough information is available to document the detrimental effect of inconsiderate management on both the regional and local levels.

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Schick, A.P. Fluvial processes and settlement in arid environments. GeoJournal 3, 351–360 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00221237

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Keywords

  • Climatic Change
  • Transportation
  • Sedimentation
  • Detrimental Effect
  • Local Level