Hillslope Processes: Mass Wasting, Slope Stability and Erosion

  • Rens van Beek
  • Erik Cammeraat
  • Vicente Andreu
  • Slobodan B. Mickovski
  • Luuk Dorren

This chapter describes the dominant types of processes present on hillslopes where both gravity and running water are active. The impact of natural hillslope processes is important and is currently strongly influenced by human activity due to land use change and vegetation removal, and is becoming even greater due to climate change. Both the fundamentals of erosion and slope stability are discussed in this chapter with respect to processes, causes and impacts. To fully appreciate the role of vegetation in the remediation of adverse slope processes, the fundamentals of these slope processes are addressed. In the first part, the role of mass movements is discussed. The definitions used and physical principles underlying mass movements are explained and keys and diagnostic parameters are given to explain how to recognize certain types of mass movements in the field. The causes of mass movement are described, amongst which deforestation, adverse hydrological conditions or slope undercutting, are summarized. The main types of mass movements i.e. falls, slides and flows are then separately discussed, giving full details with regard to their causes, processes and consequences, as well as a first glimpse to the solutions to slope failure problems, which will be addressed in more detail elsewhere in the book. The second part addresses erosion processes. Accelerated erosion is considered as one of the greatest problems of land degradation as it removes the fertile topsoil at high rates. Mankind, who is removing the original vegetation for agricultural purposes, is causing this problem. Again the general principles behind soil erosion are illustrated, giving attention to the causes and the different soil erosion processes such as sheet erosion, rill and gully erosion, piping and tunnel erosion as well as tillage erosion.

Keywords

mass wasting slope stability soil erosion rockfall slides slumps flows 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rens van Beek
    • 1
  • Erik Cammeraat
    • 2
  • Vicente Andreu
    • 3
  • Slobodan B. Mickovski
    • 4
  • Luuk Dorren
    • 5
  1. 1.Utrecht Centre of GeosciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtNetherlands
  2. 2.IBED, University of AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands
  3. 3.CSIC-CIDE, Camí de la MarjalValenciaSpain
  4. 4.Jacobs UK Ltd.GlasgowUK
  5. 5.Cemagref GrenobleFrance

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