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William E. Dietrich

William E. Dietrich
William E. Dietrich

The 2011 Arthur Holmes Medal & Honorary Membership is awarded to William E. Dietrich for seminal contributions to our understanding of the evolution of the landscape of the Earth.

William E. Dietrich has made a range of seminal contributions to the Earth Sciences. Much of what we know about how landscapes evolve is due to the work of Bill Dietrich and his students. The role of the drainage network in the transfer of sediments from channels to the flood plain was first accounted for in a realistic manner by Dietrich. He and his results have dramatically influenced research and practical applications in the Earth sciences. He delineated a scale break in the relationship between channel slope and drainage area. Not only did he identify the scale of the break for different environments but he also defined the dominant processes of channel incision that shifts from debris flow to fluvial processes during continuous tectonic uplift. His contributions not only span a wide variety of fundamental topics but also involve theory, field work and laboratory experimentation. Landscape evolution and the migration of channel networks as function of climate and tectonic processes are all fields where Dietrich has contributed immensely. Moreover it is mainly through his field research that the assessment of rates of creep and wash transport has drastically advanced in recent years. He is currently a professor at UC Berkeley in the USA and has an impressive record of publication and contribution to academia and to government in key areas of landscape geomorphology. As he has been widely recognised for his contributions throughout his career, William E. Dietrich is a worthy winner of the EGU Arthur Holmes Medal.

Video of the Arthur Holmes Medal Lecture given at the EGU General Assembly 2011.