Exposure of Slopes

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Exposure of Slopes


the orientation of slopes with respect to the cardinal points and to processes that are correspondingly directed in space, particularly prevailing winds.

Slopes that face the wind are called windward slopes, and those that are in the wind shadow are called lee slopes. Slopes of northern and southern exposure differ with respect to radiation and thermal characteristics, resulting in differences in the regime and nature of exogenic processes, the onset of seasonal phenomena, and living conditions for organisms. Thus, on northern mountain slopes, snow lasts longer and nivation is more vigorous; on southern slopes, the frozen ground thaws earlier and solifluction develops. Windward slopes, especially when subjected to the action of humid winds, are wetter and have more lush vegetation than the lee slopes. In parallel ridges, exposure zonality is observed, with rhythmically alternating landscapes. Differences in the intensity of erosion and denudation processes caused by exposure are one of the factors responsible for the asymmetry of valleys and interfluves.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.