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).
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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