Gravity besides being a directional force activating all downslope movements of matter also causes stresses on the earth’s materials. Indirect gravitational stresses activate wave and tide-induced currents and winds. Without gravity and gradients there would be no mobility and hence no erosion, transportation, and deposition are possible.
- The endogenic and exogenic forces causing physical stresses and chemical actions on earth materials and bringing about changes in the configuration of the surface of the earth are known as geomorphic processes.
- A process is a force applied to earth materials affecting the same. An agent is a mobile medium (like running water, moving ice masses, wind, waves and currents etc.) which removes, transports and deposits earth materials. Running water, groundwater, glaciers, wind, waves, and currents, etc., can be called geomorphic agents.
So, gravitational stresses are as important as the other geomorphic processes. Gravity is the force that is keeping us in contact with the surface and it is the force that switches on the movement of all surface material on earth. All the movements either within the earth or on the surface of the earth occur due to gradients — from higher levels to lower levels, from high pressure to low-pressure areas etc.