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Название: Encyclopedia of Geomorphology. Volume 1 (A-I)
Автор: Goudie A.S.
The term ‘geomorphology’ arose in the Geological Survey in the USA in the 1880s and was possibly
coined by those two great pioneers, J.W. Powell and WJ McGee.
In 1891 McGee wrote: ‘The phenomena of degradation form the subject of geomorphology, the novel
branch of geology.’ He plainly regarded geomorphology as being that part of geology which enabled the
practitioner to reconstruct Earth history by looking at the evidence for past erosion, writing:
A new period in the development of geologic science has dawned within a decade. In at least two
American centres and one abroad it has come to be recognised that the later history of world growth may
be read from the configuration of the hills as well as from the sediments and fossils of ancient oceans . . .
The field of science is thereby broadened by the addition of a coordinate province – by the birth of a new
geology which is destined to rank with the old. This is geomorphic geology, or geomorphology.
Of course, many scientists had studied the development of erosional landforms (see the magisterial history
of Chorley et al. 1964) before the term was thus defined and since that time its meaning has become
broader. Many geomorphologists believe that the purpose of geomorphology goes beyond reconstructing
Earth history and that the core of the subject is the comprehension of the form of the ground surface and
the processes which mould it. In recent years there has been a tendency for geomorphologists to become
more deeply involved with understanding the processes of erosion, weathering, transport and deposition,
with measuring the rates at which such processes operate, and with quantitative analysis of the forms of
the ground surface (morphometry) and of the materials of which they are composed. Geomorphology now
has many component branches and involves the study of a huge range of phenomena.
In 1968 Rhodes W. Fairbridge edited a large and invaluable encyclopedia of geomorphology that
explored this diversity. However, geomorphology has changed greatly since that time, not least because
of the plate tectonics paradigm, the revolution in our knowledge of the Quaternary Era brought about
by new dating and environmental reconstruction techniques, the development of modelling and systems
thinking, appreciation of the importance of organisms, application of geomorphology to the study of
engineering problems and global change, a greater appreciation of the nature of geomorphological
processes, and availability of a whole range of new technologies for analysis of data and materials, the
development of satellite-borne remote sensing, and the exploration of space.
Over that time, due to the inspiration of the people to whom this book is dedicated, Geomorphology
has for the first time organized itself internationally so that the geomorphological traditions that have
grown up in different countries (see Walker and Grabau 1993) can interact as never before. It was therefore
felt at the International Geomorphological Congress in Tokyo in August 2002 that the International
Association of Geomorphologists (itself officially founded in 1989) should seek to publish a new and
truly international Encyclopedia of Geomorphology that could survey the nature of the discipline at the
turn of a new millennium. I am indebted to my Consultant Editors and the contributors from some
thirty or so countries, who have made this endeavour possible.