least-work principle

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least-work principle The theory that geomorphological processes always operate in such a way as to achieve the work that has to be done with a minimum expenditure of energy (and maximum entropy). This is typically achieved by the adoption of a certain profile or shape (e.g. a river meander may be that shape best suited for carrying the discharge and sediment with the least loss of energy). See LEAST-WORK PROFILE.

least-work principle

views updated

least-work principle The theory that geomorphological processes always operate in such a way as to achieve the work that has to be done with a minimum expenditure of energy (and maximum entropy). This is typically achieved by the adoption of a certain profile or shape (e.g. a river meander may be that shape best suited for carrying the discharge and sediment with the least loss of energy). See least-work profile.