Bedrock rivers and the geomorphology of active orogens

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

860 Scopus citations


Bedrock rivers set much of the relief structure of active orogens and dictate rates and patterns of denudation. Quantitative understanding of the role of climate-driven denudation in the evolution of unglaciated orogens depends first and foremost on knowledge of fluvial erosion processes and the factors that control incision rate. The results of intense research in the past decade are reviewed here, with the aim of highlighting remaining unknowns and suggesting fruitful avenues for further research. This review considers in turn (a) the occurrence and morphology of bedrock channels and their relation to tectonic setting; (b) the physical processes of fluvial incision into rock; and (c) models of river incision, their implications, and the field and laboratory data needed to test, refine, and extend them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-185
Number of pages35
JournalAnnual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Denudation
  • Fluvial erosion
  • Neotectonics
  • Relief
  • Sediment transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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