Tectonic control of erosion in the southern Central Andes

Pedro Val, Agostina L. Venerdini, William Ouimet, Patricia Alvarado, Gregory Dean Hoke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Landscape evolution modeling and global compilations of exhumation data indicate that a wetter climate, mainly through orographic rainfall, can govern the spatial distribution of erosion rates and crustal strain across an orogenic wedge. However, detecting this link is not straightforward since these relationships can be modulated by tectonic forcing and/or obscured by heavy-tailed frequencies of catchment discharge. This study combines new and published along-strike average rates of catchment erosion constrained by 10Be and river-gauge data in the Central Andes between 28°S and 36°S. These data reveal a nearly identical latitudinal pattern in erosion rates on both sides of the range, reaching a maximum of 0.27 mm/a near 34°S. Collectively, data on topographic and fluvial relief, variability of rainfall and discharge, and crustal seismicity suggest that the along-strike pattern of erosion rates in the southern Central Andes is largely independent of climate, but closely relates to the N–S distribution of shallow crustal seismicity and diachronous surface uplift. The consistently high erosion rates on either side of the orogen near 34°S imply that climate plays a secondary role in the mass flux through an orogenic wedge where the perturbation to base level is similar on both sides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-170
Number of pages11
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume482
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 15 2018

Keywords

  • Andes
  • crustal seismicity
  • erosion rate
  • landscape evolution
  • precipitation
  • tectonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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