Landlab: A modular Earth Surface Dynamics modeling library

Landlab is a Python-based library that allows scientists and students to build numerical landscape models. Designed for disciplines that quantify earth surface dynamics such as geomorphology, hydrology, glaciology, and stratigraphy, it can also be used in related fields.

Landlab provides components to compute flows (such as water, sediment, glacial ice, volcanic material, or landslide debris) across a gridded terrain. With its robust, reusable components, Landlab allows scientists to quickly build landscape model experiments and compute mass balance across scales.

The most current source code is always available from our git repository.

If you are interested in the state of current development, we compile ongoing development. If you are interested in contributing but don’t know how to get started (THANK YOU!), we compile desired contributions and have a page all about development.

Many Jupyter notebooks exist describing use of Landlab. Find an overview here. A subset of these notebooks are designed specifically for the classroom. Information about them and how to set them up for classroom use is described on this page.



Landlab is funded by the US National Science Foundation. It has been supported by the following grants:

  • A Collaborative NSF SI2-SSE proposal to University of Colorado (Greg Tucker, 1147454), and the University of Washington (Erkan Istanbulluoglu, 1148305)

  • A Collaborative NSF SI2-SSI proposal to University of Colorado (Greg Tucker and Dan Hobley, 1450409), Tulane University (Nicole Gasparini, 1450338), and the University of Washington (Erkan Istanbulluoglu, 1450412).

  • A NSF EAR Postdoctoral Fellowship to Katy Barnhart (1725774).

  • TODO: Add CSDMS grants, add any other grant.

Citing Landlab

If you use any portion of Landlab, you must cite the following paper:

Hobley, D. E. J., Adams, J. M., Nudurupati, S. S., Hutton, E. W. H., Gasparini, N. M., Istanbulluoglu, E. and Tucker, G. E., 2017, Creative computing with Landlab: an open-source toolkit for building, coupling, and exploring two-dimensional numerical models of Earth-surface dynamics, Earth Surface Dynamics, 5, p 21-46, 10.5194/esurf-5-21-2017.

In addition, many components have an additional citation. The table below lists these. We also provide a handy way to get a bibtex file of the components you use. It is descrdibed below.

BibTeX format:

         Author = {Hobley, D. E. J. and Adams, J. M. and
                   Nudurupati, S. S. and Hutton, E. W. H.
                   and Gasparini, N. M. and Istanbulluoglu,
                   E. and Tucker, G. E.},
         Journal = {Earth Surface Dynamics},
         Year = {2017},
         Title = {Creative computing with Landlab: an open-source
                  toolkit for building, coupling, and exploring
                  two-dimensional numerical models of
                  Earth-surface dynamics},
         Number = {5},
         Pages = {21-46},
         Doi = {10.5194/esurf-5-21-2017}}

If you are working with Landlab components and utilities, many of them have their own publication. Please cite it to acknowledge the component authors.

The following is a summary table of component and utility citations:

TODO: we need to add to citations from Table 5 in Hobley et al. (2017) to this table.



Celular Automaton

Tucker et al. (2015)


Hutton and Syvitski (2008)


Barnes et al. (2014)


Strauch et al. (2017)


Langston and Tucker (2018)


Barnhart et al. (2018)


Barnhart et al. (2018)


Adams et al. (2017)


Shobe, et al (2017)


Singer et al. (2018)

A relatively new interface also automates the process of extracting citations for landlab.

import landlab

# do you work in landlab when you write your model, then a call to

landlab.registry.format_citations() # will produce a Bibtex-formatted
                                    # citations for all Landlab components
                                    # that you currently have instantiated.
The Landlab Team:
  • Greg Tucker (CU)

  • Nicole Gasparini (Tulane)

  • Erkan Istanbulluoglu (UW)

  • Daniel Hobley (Cardiff)

  • Sai S. Nudurupati (UW)

  • Jordan Adams (Tulane)

  • Eric Hutton (CU)

  • Jenny Knuth (CU)

  • Katy Barnhart (CU)

  • Margaux Mouchene (CU)

  • Christina Bandaragoda (UW)

  • Nathan Lyons (Tulane)


Questions? Feedbacks?

Need an improvement/addition to Landlab?

Want to contribute?

The recommended way to contact the Landlab development team is with a GitHub Issue

To keep in touch with the latest Landlab news:

During workshops and clinics, we often use the Landlab Slack channel