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Table 2 Hillslope elements based on profile curvature (Ruhe, 1960; Huggett, 2007)

From: Surface storm flow prediction on hillslopes based on topography and hydrologic connectivity

Hillslope element Description
Summit The summit is also referred to as plateau because this relatively flat zone is higher than the rest of the hillslope. Mass wasting processes are almost absent, leaching and rainsplash dominate.
Shoulder When looking down from the summit, the shoulder below the summit has a slightly convex slope. This is where soil creep can occur.
Backslope Part of the hillslope with a concave slope between shoulder and footslope called debris slope in the classification of King (1953). Sediment is deposited on this part of the hillslope because overland flow is slowed down as the slope decreases in downhill direction. Associated with mass wasting processes such as fall, flows, slides and subsidence.
Footslope Also called glacis, the (often colluvial) footslope is less concave than the backslope above it. This part of the slope is relatively stable because sediment input is low and the most erosive streams are located downstream of the footslope.
Toeslope The toeslope or valley bottom is rather flat (1–2 % slope) and characterized by alluvial depositions with greater clay and silt content than upstream parts. Consequently, this is often the part of the hillslope most suitable for agriculture.