This code has been community reviewed and published in the open access Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS)


Also known as
Model type Single
Model part of larger framework
Incorporated models or components:
Spatial dimensions 3D
Spatial extent Continental, Global, Landscape-Scale, Regional-Scale
Model domain Terrestrial, Hydrology, Marine, Climate
One-line model description parallel global-scale landscape evolution model
Extended model description eSCAPE is a parallel landscape evolution model, built to simulate Earth surface dynamics at global scale and over geological times. The model is primarily designed to address problems related to geomorphology, hydrology, and stratigraphy, but it can also be used in related fields.

eSCAPE accounts for both hillslope processes (soil creep using linear diffusion) and fluvial incision (stream power law). It can be forced using spatially and temporally varying tectonics (vertical displacements) and climatic conditions (precipitation changes and/or sea-level fluctuations).


landscape evolution, geomorphology, marine sedimentation, erosion/deposition, parallel computing, Python,

First name Tristan
Last name Salles
Type of contact Model developer
Institute / Organization School of Geosciences The University of Sydney
Postal address 1 NSW
Postal address 2
Town / City Sydney
Postal code 2006
Country Australia
Email address

Supported platforms Linux, Mac OS, Windows
Other platform
Programming language Fortran90, Python
Other program language
Code optimized Single Processor, Multiple Processors
Multiple processors implemented Distributed memory
Nr of distributed processors
Nr of shared processors
Start year development 2018
Does model development still take place? Yes
If above answer is no, provide end year model development
Code development status Active
When did you indicate the 'code development status'? 2020
Model availability As code
Source code availability
(Or provide future intension)
Through web repository
Source web address
Source csdms web address
Program license type GPL v3
Program license type other
Memory requirements
Typical run time

Describe input parameters Input files for eSCAPE are based on YAML syntax.

domain: definition of the unstructured grid containing the vtk grid filename and the associated field (here called Z) as well as the flow direction method to be used flowdir that takes an integer value between 1 (for SFD) and 12 (for Dinf) and the boundary conditions (bc: ‘flat’, ‘fixed’ or ‘slope’) time: the simulation time parameters defined by start, end, tout (the output interval) and dt (the internal time-step). Follows the optional forcing conditions:

sea: the sea-level declaration with the relative sea-level position (m) and the sea-level curve which is a file containing 2 columns (time and sea-level position). climatic & tectonic have the same structure with a sequence of events defined by a starting time (start) and either a constant value (uniform) or a map. Then the parameters for the surface processes to simulate:

spl: for the stream power law with a unique parameter Ke representing the The erodibility coefficient which is scale-dependent and its value depend on lithology and mean precipitation rate, channel width, flood frequency, channel hydraulics. It is worth noting that the coefficient m and n are fixed in this version and take the value 0.5 & 1 respectively. diffusion: hillslope, stream and marine diffusion coefficients. hillslopeK sets the simple creep transport law which states that transport rate depends linearly on topographic gradient. River transported sediment trapped in inland depressions or internally draining basins are diffused using the coefficient (streamK). The marine sediment are transported based on a diffusion coefficient oceanK. The parameter maxIT specifies the maximum number of steps used for diffusing sediment during any given time interval dt. Finally, you will need to specify the output folder:

output: with dir the directory name and the option makedir that gives the possible to delete any existing output folder with the same name (if set to False) or to create a new folder with the give dir name plus a number at the end (e.g. outputDir_1 if set to True)

Input format ASCII, Binary
Other input format csv and vtk files
Describe output parameters Output are grids of 3D surface evolution in HDF5
Output format Binary
Other output format
Pre-processing software needed? No
Describe pre-processing software
Post-processing software needed? No
Describe post-processing software
Visualization software needed? Yes
If above answer is yes
Other visualization software You can visualise the output with Paraview or MayaVI

Describe processes represented by the model The model computes flow accumulation using multiple flow direction over unstructured grids based on + an adaptation of the implicit approach proposed by Richardson & Perron (Richardson, Hill, & Perron, 2014).

+ an extension of the parallel priority-flood depression-filling algorithm from (Barnes, 2016) to unstructured mesh is used to simulate sedimentation in upland areas and internally drained basins. + marine sedimentation is based on a diffusion algorithm similar to the technique proposed in pybadlands (Salles, Ding, & Brocard, 2018).

Describe key physical parameters and equations + hillslope processes soil creep law

+ landscape dynamic by the stream power law + marine deposition by diffusion

Describe length scale and resolution constraints A set of four examples is provided (eSCAPE-demo - and illustrates the different capabilities of the code from synthetic to regional, to continental and to global scale models.
Describe time scale and resolution constraints The model is primarily intended to address problems at geological time-scales
Describe any numerical limitations and issues

Describe available calibration data sets To get some additional info in regards to how to use eSCAPE a series of examples and tutorials is provided in the docker container (Geodels escape-docker) and is also available for download from the eSCAPE-demo repository (
Upload calibration data sets if available:
Describe available test data sets
Upload test data sets if available:
Describe ideal data for testing

Do you have current or future plans for collaborating with other researchers?
Is there a manual available? No
Upload manual if available:
Model website if any
Model forum / discussion board join the eSCAPE User Group on Slack by visiting

This part will be filled out by CSDMS staff

OpenMI compliant No but possible
BMI compliant No but possible
WMT component No but possible
PyMT component
Is this a data component
DOI model 10.5281/zenodo.1419844
For model version 1.0.1
Year version submitted 2018
Link to file
Can be coupled with:
Model info

Citation indices ESCAPE
Nr. of pubs: 3
Citations: 3
h-index: 1
Qrcode ESCAPE.png
Link to this page




Citation indices ESCAPE
Nr. of pubs: 3
Citations: 3
h-index: 1

Featured publication(s)YearModel describedType of ReferenceCitations
Salles, Tristan; 2019. eSCAPE: Regional to Global Scale Landscape Evolution Model v2.0. Geoscientific Model Development, 12, 4165–4184. 10.5194/gmd-12-4165-2019
(View/edit entry)
Model overview 2
Salles, Tristan; 2018. eSCAPE: parallel global-scale landscape evolution model. Journal of Open Source Software, 3, 964. 10.21105/joss.00964
(View/edit entry)
Model overview 1
See more publications of ESCAPE



Input Files

Output Files