Groundwater-sapping origin for the giant quebradas of northern Chile

Gregory D. Hoke, Bryan L. Isacks, Teresa E. Jordan, Jennifer S. Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Northernmost Chile is home to a well-preserved disequilibrium landscape of great antiquity. Contrasting drainage patterns are developed on the western slope of the Altiplano plateau. The oldest of these patterns is a now-relict parallel-patterned drainage network. In places a younger pattern, comprising a series of deeply incised canyons, or quebradas, crosscuts the older parallel-patterned network. These canyons show strong evidence of a groundwater-sapping origin. We hypothesize that the initiation of the canyon network resulted from changes in the hydrological regime related to a drying out of climate of the forearc and to the uplift of the Altiplano plateau.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-608
Number of pages4
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Andes
  • Geomorphology
  • Groundwater
  • Groundwater sapping
  • Rivers and streams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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