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Lowland river responses to intraplate tectonism and climate forcing quantified with luminescence and cosmogenic Be-10
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
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2013 (English)In: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, ISSN 0012-821X, E-ISSN 1385-013X, Vol. 366, 49-58 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Intraplate tectonism has produced large-scale folding that steers regional drainage systems, such as the 1600 km-long Cooper Ck, en route to Australia's continental depocentre at Lake Eyre. We apply cosmogenic Be-10 exposure dating in bedrock, and luminescence dating in sediment, to quantify the erosional and depositional response of Cooper Ck where it incises the rising Innamincka Dome. The detachment of bedrock joint-blocks during extreme floods governs the minimum rate of incision (17.4 +/- 6.5 mm/ky) estimated using a numerical model of episodic erosion calibrated with our 10Be measurements. The last big-flood phase occurred no earlier than similar to 112-121 ka. Upstream of the Innamincka Dome long-term rates of alluvial deposition, partly reflecting synclinal-basin subsidence, are estimated from 47 luminescence dates in sediments accumulated since similar to 270 ka. Sequestration of sediment in subsiding basins such as these may account for the lack of Quaternary accumulation in Lake Eyre, and moreover suggests that notions of a single primary depocentre at base-level may poorly represent lowland, arid-zone rivers. Over the period similar to 75-55 ka Cooper Ck changed from a bedload-dominant, laterally-active meandering river to a muddy anabranching channel network up to 60 km wide. We propose that this shift in river pattern was a product of base-level rise linked with the slowly deforming syncline-anticline structure, coupled with a climate-forced reduction in discharge. The uniform valley slope along this subsiding alluvial and rising bedrock system represents an adjustment between the relative rates of deformation and the ability of greatly enhanced flows at times during the Quaternary to incise the rising anticline. Hence, tectonic and climate controls are balanced in the long term.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 366, 49-58 p.
Keyword [en]
intraplate tectonism, bedrock river incision, anabranching, cosmogenic nuclides, luminescence, deposition rate
National Category
Geophysics Geochemistry
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91319DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.02.007ISI: 000319177100006OAI: diva2:633310


Available from: 2013-06-26 Created: 2013-06-24 Last updated: 2013-06-26Bibliographically approved

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Jansen, John D.
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Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology
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