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Encyclopedia > Dip slope

General Definition

A dip slope is a geological formation often created by tilted strata. It is seen in large ridges that have one side that is steep and irregular and one side that is generally planar and tilting at a continuous angle.


Some rocks erode more preferentially than others. For example, shale most frequently erodes faster than limestone. In situations like this, an entire layer of the more preferentially eroded rock can erode while a layer of a more durable rock will not be as affected. This results in a nearly flat surface created by the top of the more durable layer. When this happens to beds that aren't tilted mesas are formed. When this happens to tilted beds, structures called cuestas and hogbacks are formed. Mesas will have a flat top while cuestas and hogbacks will look like ridges with one side that is a dip slope and another side that is eroded and generally more steep.

Dip slopes can also be formed by igneous structures such as sills. Any generally planar geological structure can form dip slopes when it is tilted away from horizontal.


Dip slopes are quite prone to landslides due to the dipping flat erotional surface. Large sheets of rock have a tendency to slide down dip slopes rather easily. In general it is unwise to build on or directly below a dip slope.

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