Mass wasting is the geomorphic process by which soil, sand, regolith, and rock move downslope typically as a mass, largely under the force of gravity, but frequently affected by water and water content as in submarine environments and mudflows.
- 15.1: Factors That Control Slope Stability
- Mass wasting happens because tectonic processes have created uplift. Erosion, driven by gravity, is the inevitable response to that uplift, and various types of erosion, including mass wasting, have created slopes in the uplifted regions. Slope stability is ultimately determined by two factors: the angle of the slope and the strength of the materials on it.
Thumbnail: Talus cones produced by mass wasting, north shore of Isfjord, Svalbard, Norway. Image used with permission (Public Domain; Wilson44691).