In steep bedrock terrain, processes of sub-aerial erosion combine to attack and mobilize intact material, controlling landscape morphology by modulating rates of: (i) weathering in response to climate and pre-disposition, (ii) rock slope retreat in response to magnitude and frequency of detachment, and (iii) channel incision or valley infilling in response to variable sediment supply. Rock slope erosion can thus be both weathering-limited and transport-limited.
Rock surfaces exposed to the atmosphere are beset by a suite of physical and chemical mechanisms that degrade intact rock, creating new fractures and extending existing flaws. The result is partial to complete separation of blocks from the more stable slope material, and preparation for transport. Transport processes move released debris away from the source region, often combining in a complex system of different agents and intermediate storage. Commonly, a separate detachment (or triggering) mechanism aids the transition from weathering to transport. Complexity arises from differential responses of these erosional processes to climate forcing. To better understand the morphology and evolution of mountain landscapes, all stages of rock slope erosion must be thoroughly investigated and understood, and the rates of these processes characterized. This session invites contributions for a discussion of the mechanisms of rock slope erosion, from weathering to detachment through transport and deposition.