Due to the geological time scales required for observation of catchment evolution, surrogates or analogues of field data are necessary to understand long-term processes. To investigate long-term catchment behaviour, two experimental model catchments that developed without rigid boundaries under controlled conditions are examined and a qualitative and quantitative analysis of their evolution is presented. Qualitatively, the experimental catchments have the visual appearance of field scale data. Observation demonstrates that changes in catchment shape and network form are conservative. Quantitative analysis suggests that the catchments reach an equilibrium form while a reduction in the channel network occurs. While the catchments are laboratory scale models, the results provide insights into field scale behaviour.
Hydrological Processes Vol. 17, Issue 12, p. 2347-2363