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the sum total of the processes of ablation and transportation (by water, wind, ice, or the direct action of the force of gravity) of disintegrated rock into subsided areas of the earth’s surface, where these products accumulate.
Tectonic movements have a great effect upon the rate and character of denudation. The direction of topographic development depends on the relationship between denudation and the movements of the earth’s crust. When the processes of disintegration and denudation predominate over the effect of a structural high, there is a gradual lowering of the absolute and relative elevations and a general leveling of the relief. As a result of the protracted predominance of denudation processes, entire highlands can be turned into rolling denuded plains (peneplains). Other denuded surfaces, such as pediments, pediplains, and piedmont steps are also the consequence of denudation. To a certain extent the intensity of denudation can be judged from the amount of drift carried away by rivers (up to several thousand tons a year). The term “denudation” is also sometimes used in a narrower sense to signify the processes of ablation (removal) of the products of erosion solely by planar washout.