Sapping Valley

Living reference work entry


Valley formed by retrogressive incision, i.e., headward migration of undercut steep embankments by spring seepage at the base of cliff-forming materials.



Morphologic features of valleys where sapping processes are inferred to be dominant include: nearly constant width or width that increases very slowly downstream, amphitheater (theater)-shaped alcoves at their head, sinuous-shaped channel, U-shaped cross-sectional profiles with steep walls and flat floor (Higgins 1982; Laity and Malin 1985; Baker et al. 1992), strong structural control of valley alignment and planform (Schumm et al. 1995), hanging tributary valleys, and irregular angles of channel junction (Howard 1988; Kochel and Piper 1986). They are characterized by low drainage density, one main channel and a lack of small inlet channels (Warner et al. 2010), and short stubby tributaries. Sapping valleys show sinuous development, but true meandering is restricted by...


Debris Flow Soil Piping Groundwater Level Rising Canterbury Plain Valley Network 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriella Barta
    • 1
  • René De Hon
    • 2
  • Henrik Hargitai
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physical GeographyEötvös Loránd University, Institute of Geography and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Department of GeographyTexas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  3. 3.Planetary Science Research GroupEötvös Loránd University, Institute of Geography and Earth SciencesBudapestHungary