What is Daviss' erosion cycle

Cycle theory

Cycle theory, by William M. Davis at the turn of the century, a historical theory of a universal course of geomorphological landscape formation. This model consists of three components: an existing geological structure, the erosion and a given time period. Depending on the elapsed time, Davis divides the erosion cycle into stages. The cycle begins with the uplift of a land mass that initially has a relatively flat surface. In the youth stage, the dominance of deep erosion (fluvial erosion) creates a river network, the maturity stage is represented by a subsequent erosion of the slopes between the valleys (interfluvia). In the old age, the erosion of the interfluvia has progressed so far that an almost flat relief (so-called peneplain) is created near the level of the erosion base. Davis developed this theory from viewing the landscape of the humid Appalachians. The underlying thought model of slope development assumes that slopes are removed from above, i.e. the convexity of the slopes increases with progressive erosion and the interfluvia gradually flatten out. Davis thus formulated the authoritative theory of relief development at the time, which partly shapes the terminology of Anglo-American geomorphology up to the present day. From today's perspective, the relief development is much more complex; the most important objections: tectonic processes are not unique, the role of climate or climate changes (climate geomorphology, climatic genetic geomorphology) and process response systems for relief development is neglected (W. Penck). In terms of the history of science, Davis's cycle theory, with its conception of time-dependent (historical) development in the form of past and predictable stages of development, shows a kinship with the contemporary approaches of historicism in the humanities (Oswald Spengler). [PH]