Exploring the Fractal Mountains

  • Brian Klinkenberg
  • Keith C. Clarke


The form of the earth’s surface, reflected by the variation in elevation over space, is very often used as one of the best examples of a naturally fractal phenomenon. The simulated landscapes that are included in Mandelbrot’s now classic texts (Mandelbrot, 1977, 1982), and in the work of many others conducting fractal simulation, are very realistic (e.g., Peitgen and Saupe, 1988). Are the models, however, correct? Can we explore the synthetic mountains of the fractal models, just as we can explore the real mountains on earth, and look for natural structure, form, and process? In this chapter we examine the applicability of fractal methods to natural topography from a geoscience, rather than a mathematical, viewpoint. We consider the question “is the land surface fractal?”


Fractal Dimension Land Surface Fractal Model Digital Elevation Model Divider Method 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Klinkenberg
  • Keith C. Clarke

There are no affiliations available

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