Articles | Volume 3, issue 4
Research article
16 Oct 2015
Research article |  | 16 Oct 2015

Topographic roughness as a signature of the emergence of bedrock in eroding landscapes

D. T. Milodowski, S. M. Mudd, and E. T. A. Mitchard

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Rock is exposed at the Earth surface when erosion rates locally exceed rates of soil production. This transition is marked by a diagnostic increase in topographic roughness, which we demonstrate can be a powerful indicator of the location of rock outcrop in a landscape. Using this to explore how hillslopes in two landscapes respond to increasing erosion rates, we find that the transition from soil-mantled to bedrock hillslopes is patchy and spatially heterogeneous.