Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Research article
16 Jun 2021
Research article |  | 16 Jun 2021

Rarefied particle motions on hillslopes – Part 4: Philosophy

David Jon Furbish and Tyler H. Doane

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Cited articles

Ancey, C.: Stochastic modeling in sediment dynamics: Exner equation for planar bed incipient bed load transport conditions, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 115, F00A11,, 2010. 
Ancey, C.: Bedload transport: a walk between randomness and determinism. Part 1. The state of the art, J. Hydraul. Res., 58, 1–17, 2020a. 
Ancey, C.: Bedload transport: a walk between randomness and determinism. Part 2. Challenges and prospects, J. Hydraul. Res., 58, 18–33, 2020b. 
Ancey, C. and Heyman, J.: A microstructural approach to bed load transport: mean behaviour and fluctuations of particle transport rates, J. Fluid Mech., 744, 129–168, 2014. 
Ancey, C. and Pascal, I.: Estimating mean bedload transport rates and their uncertainty, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth, 125, e2020JF005534,, 2020. 
Short summary
Using analyses of particle motions on steep hillslopes in three companion papers (Furbish et al., 2021a, 2021b, 2021c), we offer philosophical perspective on the merits of a statistical mechanics framework for describing sediment particle motions and transport, and the implications of rarefied versus continuum transport conditions. We highlight the mechanistic yet probabilistic nature of the approach, and the importance of tailoring the style of thinking to the process and scale of interest.