Original paper

Rock control in sandstone geomorphology: a tribute to Eiju Yatsu with some Australian examples

Young, Robert W.; Wray, Robert A.L.


Almost 50 years have passed since the publication of Yatsu's “Rock control in geomorphology”, a book that highlighted the importance of an understanding of the influence of rock properties on the formation of landforms. Unfortunately considerations of such issues have often been neglected in the study of the formation of sandstone landforms. Using examples from quartz sandstones in northern, central and south-eastern Australia we find that a clear appreciation of “rock control” – that is, an understanding of the physico-chemical and mechanical properties of rocks, and how they are reflected on the earth's surface – is critical for a more complete understanding of the development of quartz sandstone landforms. The aspects of sandstone considered here include rock strength, mass strength, anisotropy, brittle fracture, block failure and sliding, rheology, and the processes linked to the development of cavernous weathering, karst and ruiniform features in highly quartzose rock.


rock controlsandstonegeomorphology