CNCS Center for Nonlinear and Complex Systems
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Peter K. Haff, Professor of Geology and Civil and Environmental Engineering

Peter K. Haff

I work on problems involving modeling of earth surface processes, such as the effects of erosion, weathering and creep, typically using cellular automata methods. Recently, I have become interested in neogeomorphology, the study of the change of the earth’s surface as a result of human activity. Today the surface of the earth is undergoing a change as profound as that that occurred in the Silurian with the emergence of vegetation onto the continents. By an incredible stroke of luck (for a geomorphologist), we are alive at a time when it is possible to observe the rare phenomenon of a global transformation of the earth’s outermost layer as neogeomorphology redefines classical geomorphology. More information on Earth Surface Processes A second area of interest is the changing technological environment. As technology accelerates, the technological sphere exerts an increasing influence on humans relative to the natural sphere. Our technological environment is expanding while our natural environment is contracting. Part of my work is devoted to understanding the implications for human beings of this difference in rate of change. Masters of Environmental Management: Projects in the Technological Environment I am also interested in the philosophy and practice of modeling and prediction. The ability of science to predict lies at the base of social support for science (including earth science), and in a rapidly changing world prediction of the future behavior and form of the surface of the earth is increasingly required. I am interested in the extent to which limitations on our predictive abilities lie in the models we make of earth systems, versus the extent to which such limitations lie in the nature of earth surface processes themselves.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  103 Old Chem
Office Phone:  (919) 684-5902
Email Address: send me a message


earth surface processes
landscape dynamics
Research Interests: Field work and computation on earth surface processes, including the role of humans as geomorphic agents, in the dynamics of the modern technological environment, and in limitations to modeling and prediction in science.

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Strudley, Mark W. and Murray, A. Brad and Haff, P.K., Emergence of pediments, tors, and piedmont junctions from a bedrock weathering-regolith thickness feedback, Geology, vol. 34 no. 10 (2006), pp. 805 - 808 [1]  [abs]
  2. P. K. Haff, Response of Desert Pavement to Seismic Shaking, Hector Mine Earthquake, California (2001)
  3. P.K. Haff, Desert pavement: An environmental canary?, Journal of Geology, vol. 109 (September, 2001), pp. 661-668  [abs]
  4. P.K. Haff, Neogeomorphology, Prediction, and the Anthropic Landscape (2001) (PDF; HTML version.)
  5. Haff, P. K. and Werner, B. T., Dynamical Processes on Desert Pavements and the Healing of Surficial Disturbances, Quaternary Research, vol. 45 no. 1 (1996), pp. 38 - [0004]
  6. P.K. Haff, Rivers and Blood - Allometric Scaling in Biology and River Networks, Nature, vol. 408 (2000), pp. 159-2000
  7. Raghuraman, J. and Haff, P.K., Scaling-up of small-scale granular sediment transport laws, Proceedings of Engineering Mechanics, vol. 1 (1996), pp. 262 - 264, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA  [abs]
  8. Haff and Furbish, Upslope Transport and Other Oddities of Landscape Diffusion (2000)
  9. Haff, P.K. and Jiang, Z., Vertical mixing of grains during bedload transport, Proceedings of Engineering Mechanics, vol. 2 (1995), pp. 931 - 933, Boulder, CO, USA  [abs]
  10. Furbish and Haff, The Master Equation Applied to Landscape Evolution (2000)
  11. Haff, P.K., Constitutive laws and prediction in granular systems, Proceedings of Engineering Mechanics, vol. 2 (1995), pp. 786 - 789, Boulder, CO, USA  [abs]
  12. Haff, Peter K. and Jiang, Zhenhua and Forrest, Spencer B., Transport of granules by wind and water: Micromechanics to macromechanics in geology and engineering, Mechanics of Materials, vol. 16 no. 1-2 (1993), pp. 173 - 178, Potsdam, NY, USA  [abs]
  13. Haff, Peter K., Discrete mechanics of sediment transport, Proceedings of Engineering Mechanics (1992), pp. 756 - 759, College Station, TX, USA  [abs]
  14. Forrest, S.B. and Haff, P.K., Mechanics of wind ripple stratigraphy, Science, vol. 255 no. 5049 (1992), pp. 1240 -
  15. Haff, Peter K., Basic physical models in sediment transport (1991), pp. 1 - 14, Seattle, WA, USA  [abs]
  16. Werner, B.T. and Haff, P.K., Dynamical simulations of granular materials using the Caltech Hypercube, Third Conference on Hypercube Concurrent Computers and Applications (1988), pp. 1313 - 18, Pasadena, CA, USA  [abs]
  17. Anderson, R.S. and Haff, P.K., Simulation of eolian saltation, Science (USA), vol. 241 no. 4867 (1988), pp. 820 - 3  [abs]
  18. Haff, P. K. and Werner, B. T., COLLISIONAL INTERACTION OF A SMALL NUMBER OF CONFINED, INELASTIC GRAINS., vol. 3 (1987), pp. 483 - 501, Miami Beach, FL, USA  [abs]
  19. Hui, K. and Haff, P. K., KINETIC GRAIN FLOW IN A VERTICAL CHANNEL., International Journal of Multiphase Flow, vol. 12 no. 2 (1986), pp. 289 - 298 [0301-9322(86)90031-5]  [abs]