Methods of Mass Movement

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  • Mass-Movement Processes
    • What is Mass-Movement?
      • Mass Movement can be classified in different ways, as a flow or a slide.
      • Movement depends on different factors, e.g. angle of the slope/cliff; rock type and structure; vegetation cover; how wet the ground is.
      • In a slide the material remains intact, in a flow the material becomes jumbled up
    • The 3 Flows of Mass Movement
      • Solifluction
        • Occurs mainly in tundra areas. When the top layer of soil thaws and becomes saturated, it flows over the frozen layers beneath
        • Averages 5cm to 1 metre every year
      • Earth Flows and Mudflows
        • An increase in the amount of water (e.g. due to heavy rain) can reduce friction, causing earth and mud to flow over bedrock
      • Soil Creep
        • Very slow downhill movement of soil particles
        • This is the slowest form of mass movement
    • The 3 Slides of Mass Movement
      • Rock Falls
        • Most likely to occur when strong, jointed rock faces are exposed to mechanical weathering (e.g. freeze thaw)
        • Material falls to form scree (talus) at the foot of the slope
        • Block falls are similar. A large block of rock falls from the cliff as a single piece due to the jointing of the rock
      • Slumps
        • Common where softer materials like clay overlie more resistant or impermeable rock like limestone
        • Often in saturated conditions on moderate to steep slopes
        • Rotational Movement
        • Slumping causes rotational scars and terraced cliff profiles


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