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Fundamentals of Physical Geography

2nd Edition
James Petersen
ISBN: 9781133606536

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BuyFindarrow_forward

Fundamentals of Physical Geography

2nd Edition
James Petersen
ISBN: 9781133606536
Textbook Problem

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FIGURE 15.2 Many desert basins display ancient shorelines of lakes that formed in them during past wetter climates. The linear feature extending across this desert mountain front is the highest shoreline of one of these large ancient lakes.

Why does the terrain look so much smoother below than above this highest shoreline?

To determine

The reason why the terrain in the given photo looks so much smoother below than above this highest shoreline.

Explanation

The desert sceneries are typically dominated by landforms rather than vegetation. The evaporation and precipitation regimes of a desert climate cause sparse vegetation cover; due to the fact that most processes of weathering require water, it results also in low weathering rates. The moisture-retentive soil cannot accumulate on slopes due to low rates of weathering, insufficient vegetation that is required to break the force of raindrop impacts, and absence of a wide network of plant roots to provide a support to hold fragment of rock in place. As a result, the soil present in those areas tends to be thin, rocky, and discontinuous. The absence of a continuous cover of vegetation and soil provides a unique character to the landforms in deserts.

Much amount of rain that falls in the desert becomes suddenly surface runoff to accomplish fluvial geomorphic work in a surface condition that is characterized by very limited interception and low permeability...

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