Encyclopedia of Planetary Landforms

2015 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Hargitai, Ákos Kereszturi


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3134-3_88


Creep is the gradual downslope displacement of regolith due to gravity, sometimes with the aid of ground disturbance. (Note the distinction from the broader definition used in mechanics, in which creep refers more generally to permanent deformation of a material in response to stress).


A type of  mass wasting process.

A type of  flow.

Includes types of  periglacial landforms.

Description of the Process

Creep may be either continuous, if the gravitational driving stress always exceeds the strength of the regolith, or discontinuous, if the driving stress exceeds the regolith only part of the time or if the displacement is caused by an episodic process (Kirkby 1967; Cruden and Varnes 1996; Highland and Bobrowsky 2008). Examples of continuous creep include solifluction, in which elevated pore water pressure induces flow, and shearing of frozen ground due to migration of water and internal deformation of pore ice. Examples of discontinuous creep include gelifluction,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA