On the History of Tropical Geomorphology

  • Alfred Wirthmann


Various branches of natural science research in the tropics can be traced back to Alexander von Humboldt. However, the evidence collected by him in the tropics of the New World, including such important geomorphological observations as that on the bedrock rapids in the Orinoco lowlands, where he described iron-manganese rinds far above the present flood marks as proof of formerly higher runoffs (Wilhelmy 1975), on the black- and white-water rivers or the bifurcation of the Casiquiare River, obviously did not induce him to reflect on the peculiar character of the tropical landforms. This may partly be due to the fact that his other travels through the Andean region and Mexico led him to landscapes where, for European eyes, a much more “normal” topography prevailed.


Planation Surface Humid Tropic Denudation Rate Valley Formation Landform Development 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfred Wirthmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Geography and GeoecologyUniversity of KarlsruheKarlsruheGermany

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