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geographical cycle, geographic cycle; geomorphical cycle, geomorphic cycle, cycle of erosion
1. Theory was developed or formulated by the American geographer and geomorphologist, William Morris Davis (between 1884 and 1934), who modeled the formation of river-eroded landscapes.

This theory suggests that landscapes go through three stages of development (youth, maturity, and old age) and indicates that the rejuvenation of landscapes arises from tectonic uplift of the land.

In the "youthful stage", under the influence of tectonic uplifts, there appears a mountain relief, which is dissected through erosion (the washing out of rocks by rivers) into deep, narrow valleys and sharp-peaked ridges.

With the dissection by streams, the area would reach maturity and, ultimately, would be reduced to an old-age surface called a peneplain (gently undulating, almost featureless plain), with an elevation near sea level.

The model developed by Davis, though important in historical context, is currently considered only a first approximation.

Developments in the sciences of geology and geomorphology, especially the plate tectonics revolution of the 1960's and 1970's, have confirmed the preliminary nature of the model.

This entry is located in the following units: geo-, ge- + (page 11) grapho-, graph-, -graph, -graphy, -grapher, -graphia (page 37)