Links between erosion, runoff variability and seismicity in the Taiwan orogen

Dadson, Simon J.; Hovius, Niels; Chen, Hongey; Dade, W. Brian; Hsieh, Meng-Long; Willett, Sean D.; Hu, Jyr-Ching; Horng, Ming-Jame; Chen, Meng-Chiang; Stark, Colin P.; Lague, Dimitri; Lin, Jiun-Chuan. 2003 Links between erosion, runoff variability and seismicity in the Taiwan orogen. Nature, 426 (6967). 648. 10.1038/nature02150

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The erosion of mountain belts controls their topographic and structural evolution1, 2, 3 and is the main source of sediment delivered to the oceans4. Mountain erosion rates have been estimated from current relief and precipitation, but a more complete evaluation of the controls on erosion rates requires detailed measurements across a range of timescales. Here we report erosion rates in the Taiwan mountains estimated from modern river sediment loads, Holocene river incision and thermochronometry on a million-year scale. Estimated erosion rates within the actively deforming mountains are high (3–6 mm yr-1) on all timescales, but the pattern of erosion has changed over time in response to the migration of localized tectonic deformation. Modern, decadal-scale erosion rates correlate with historical seismicity and storm-driven runoff variability. The highest erosion rates are found where rapid deformation, high storm frequency and weak substrates coincide, despite low topographic relief.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1038/nature02150
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water > WA01 Water extremes > WA01.3 Quantification of uncertainties, trends and risk of extremes
CEH Sections: Harding (to July 2011)
ISSN: 0028-0836
Date made live: 21 Apr 2011 11:14 +0 (UTC)

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