Physical rock and soil properties regulate the interaction of stresses imposed by climatic, tectonic, biological, and anthropogenic activities in natural environments. Geomechanical aspects therefore determine the efficiency of sediment production, landscape change, and interconnectivity in many geomorphic systems (e.g. coastal, fluvial, riparian, hillslope, and glacial). Although Earth scientists have made significant progress quantifying rates of process activity and identifying key interactions in these systems, our understanding of environmental stresses and the role of substrate physics is limited. Improving knowledge in this area is essential for the assessment of long-term landscape evolution, the stability of present-day geomorphic systems, and the future response of natural landscapes to changes in key environmental drivers.
This session aims to bring together researchers focused on developing quantitative approaches to address these questions through new field and laboratory techniques (e.g. acoustic emission, uniaxial- and tri-axial testing, shallow geophysics, or soil and rock mass characterisation), observations of long-term or transient stress and strength changes (e.g. cryostatic or hydrostatic pressure, tectonic stress, seismic loading, debris impact, micro- or macroscopic fracture propagation, strain weakening, or root reinforcement), and state-of-the-art coupled numerical models. We encourage cross-disciplinary discussion by providing common ground for structural geologists, geomorphologists, and engineering geologists to directly relate observations, and expect contributions will improve our ability to predict change in Earth surface systems.