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How water, wind, waves and ice shape landscapes and landforms: Historical contributions to geomorphic science

Gardner, James
Geomorphology 2019
Anthropocene epoch, Earth system science, anthropogenic activities, historical records, ice, landforms, landscapes, models, remote sensing, vigor, wind
Research over approximately 200 yr on the geomorphic effects of the force of water, wind, waves and ice is reviewed. In a changed scientific, technological, institutional and socio-political context, several trends emerge. Increased focus on measurement of processes from the 1930s onwards was facilitated by new technologies, leading eventually to a blurring of disciplinary boundaries and the emergence of geomorphology as an Earth system science. Human impact research and applications have blossomed and are contributing to an emerging understanding of the Anthropocene. Absolute dating techniques have reinvigorated landform and landscape evolution research, while remote sensing and geospatial science generally have enhanced observation, measurement and modeling of terrestrial and planetary surface and subsurface forms and processes. The historical record demonstrates that geomorphology has attained scientific vigour and societal relevance through fascinating journeys of curiosity, exploration, mapping, measurement, modeling and explanation.