What Is a Creep in Science?

A creep is the slow, downward movement of soil or debris. One factor thought to contribute to a creep is heaving. Heaving is the expansion and contraction of rock fragments during wet and dry cycles.

A creep is hard to identify at first because the process moves so slowly. There are signs that indicate it is occurring, including bent trees, cracked walls and tilted fences. The rate of the creep depends on a variety of factors, including the steepness of the slope, the amount of water in the soil, the sedimentation and the vegetation. Creeps are what give hillsides their rounded slopes.