The aim of this book is to gather together results from the return to alluvial fans in the field. The alluvial fans that have been studied are scattered over nearly the entire globe. They vary in size from the megafan of Kosi River in the Himalayan foreland, to a quite small fan on the Leba River in a pradolina of northern Poland. Equally variable are their histories and ages, which range from decades to hundreds of thousands of years. As different as the alluvial fans themselves are the approaches essayed to the problems presented by their morphology, depositional history and contemporary development. One can note two main attitudes toward the study of alluvial fans. In the first, the entire attention of the researchers if focussed strictly on the alluvial fans. In the second, the fans are treated as a useful artefact enabling one to discover and reconstruct palaeoenvironmental changes in the region where they occur. In appraising the papers in this collection, one must remember that various the alluvial fans and their environmental contexts are, so also are the conditions in which contributors work. Just as the landforms studied each has its own morphodynamical milieu, each of the authors has a particular intellectual, political and economic environment exerting an influence on real possibilities. This often is reflected in the objectives of studies, in the approach, and in the mode of presentation of the results. This perhaps has generated the second salutary outcome: a significant proportion of the papers report applied investigations. They vary from water resources assessments, through land use studies, to hazard appraisals.
Part 1 alluvial fans in recent environmental settings: the alluvial fan problem, S.A.Lecce; quaternary alluvial fans in the Karakoram mountains, E.Derbyshire and L.A.Owen; ice marginal ramps and alluvial fans in semi-arid mountains - convergence and differences, M.Kuhle; anatomy of a White Mountains debris flow - the making of an alluvial fan, Ch.B.Beaty; alluvial fans in Japan and South Korea, K.Ono; humid fans of the Appalachian Mountains, R.Craig Kochel; the Chandigarh Dun alluvial fans - an analysis of the process-form relationship, A.B.Mukerji; morphology of the Kosi mega-fan, K.Gohain and B.Parkash; the protage la Prairie 'floodplan fan', W.F.Rannie; fan deltas-alluvial fans in coastal settings, W.A.Wescott and F.G.Ethridge; the Yallahs fan delta - a coastal fan in a humid tropical climate, W.A.Wescott. Part 2 alluvial fans in studies of palaeogeomorphology: evolution of the alluvial fans of the Alfold, Z.Borsy; factors influencing Quaternary alluvial fan development in southeast Spain, A.M.Harvey; Long-term palaeochannel evolution during episodic growth of an exhumed Plio-Pleistocene alluvial fan, Oman, J.Maizels; the Leba river alluvial fan and its palaeogeomorphological significance, A.H.Rachocki. Part 3 alluvial fans - a scene of human activity: development of alluvial fans in the foothills of the Darjeeling Himalays and their geomorphological and pedological characteristics, S.R.Basu and S.Sarkar; hazard management on fans, with examples from British Columbia, R.Kellerhals and M.Church; artificial recharge of aquifers in alluvial fans in Mexico, N.Otero San Vicente; geomorphic appraisals for development on two steep, active alluvial fans, Mt Cook, New Zealand, E.E.Whitehouse and M.J.McSaveney.