Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


How rain affects rock and rivers

An analysis of the evolution of river channels on Hawaii's Big Island shows that a key factor is the effect of local rainfall on bedrock strength — rather than its effect on river discharge, as is often assumed. See Letter p.223

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: The geological carbon cycle.


  1. See all news & views


  1. Murphy, B. P., Johnson, J. P. L., Gasparini, N. M. & Sklar, L. S. Nature 532, 223–227 (2016).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Berner, R. A. Nature 426, 323–326 (2003).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Molnar, P. & England, P. Nature 346, 29–34 (1990).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Whipple, K. X. & Tucker, G. E. J. Geophys. Res. 104, 17661–17674 (1999).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Willenbring, J. K. & Jerolmack, D. J. Terra Nova 28, 11–18 (2016).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  6. Herman, F. et al. Nature 504, 423–426 (2013).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Whipple, K. X. Science 346, 918–919 (2014).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Dixon, J. L., Heimsath, A. M. & Amundson, R. Earth Surf. Process. Landforms 34, 1507–1521 (2009).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  9. Sheldon, N. D. J. Geol. 114, 367–376 (2006).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  10. Gaillardet, J., Dupré, B., Louvat, P. & Allègre, C. J. Chem. Geol. 159, 3–30 (1999).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alison M. Anders.

Related links

Related links

Related links in Nature Research

Earth science: Landscape inversion by stream piracy

Earth science: A fresh look at river flow

Earth science: River incision revisited

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Anders, A. How rain affects rock and rivers. Nature 532, 186–187 (2016).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing