Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

Degree Level





Matthew D. Covington

Committee Member

Ralph K. Davis

Second Committee Member

John C. Dixon


Earth sciences, Bedrock, channels, Fluvial geomorphology, Lidar, Spatial analysis


The longevity of high relief terrains in passive margin systems remains an explained phenomenon in geomorphology. Current landscape evolution models assume an equilibrium state between rock uplift rates and erosion rates. However, analysis of chi gradients of bedrock channels across several lithologies in the Buffalo River Basin reveals disequilibrium in the basin controlled by the presence of a thick interval of Pennsylvanian sandstone that caps many of the plateaus in the basin. Headwater channels beneath the caprock tend to have higher chi gradient values in all lithologies than headwater channels in basins where the sandstone caprock is absent. High chi gradients in the Boone Formation, a Mississipian age limestone, typically correspond to knickpoints arrested at the upper contact. Field and laboratory analysis suggest that limestone dissolution may be an important mechanism for knickpoint initiation in the Boone Formation.