Urban geomorphology of an arid city: Case study of Phoenix, Arizona

Ara Jeong, Suet Yi Cheung, Ian J. Walker, Ronald I. Dorn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

17 Scopus citations


The urban metropolis of Phoenix, Arizona, USA rests on classic desert landforms, including extensive areas of pediments, alluvial fans, aeolian sand sheets, and former areas of desert pavement. The Phoenix area landforms exemplify classic desert geomorphic processes, such as rock varnish accretion, the rock decay processes of dirt cracking, desert pavement formation, rockfall, debris flows, high magnitude-low frequency flooding events, and pedimentation. Recent urban expansion has pushed housing up against the base of steep desert slopes capable of generating debris flows, rockfalls, and rockslides. Other geomorphic hazards experienced by urbanism in the desert include dust storms and flash flooding. The Phoenix metropolitan region offers an opportunity to explore the impact of the Anthropocene, the proposed new geological epoch defined by the human imprint, in a warm desert setting impacted by cattle crazing, wildfire that results from introduced grass species, and urbanization processes, such as road building and home construction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUrban Geomorphology
Subtitle of host publicationLandforms and Processes in Cities
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780128119518
ISBN (Print)9780128119525
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Aeolian
  • Alluvial fans
  • Biological soil crusts (bscs)
  • Desert geomorphology
  • Flash flooding
  • Mass wasting
  • Pediments
  • Rock varnish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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