Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
08 May 2018
Research article | 08 May 2018
Testing the effects of topography, geometry, and kinematics on modeled thermochronometer cooling ages in the eastern Bhutan Himalaya
Michelle E. Gilmore et al.
No articles found.
Andrea Madella, Christoph Glotzbach, and Todd A. Ehlers
Geochronology, 4, 177–190,Short summary
Cooling ages date the time at which minerals cross a certain isotherm on the way up to Earth's surface. Such ages can be measured from bedrock material and river sand. If spatial variations in bedrock ages are known in a river catchment, the spatial distribution of erosion can be inferred from the distribution of the ages measured from the river sand grains. Here we develop a new tool to help such analyses, with particular emphasis on quantifying uncertainties due to sample size.
Mirjam Schaller and Todd A. Ehlers
Earth Surf. Dynam., 10, 131–150,Short summary
Soil production, chemical weathering, and physical erosion rates from the large climate and vegetation gradient of the Chilean Coastal Cordillera (26 to 38° S) are investigated. Rates are generally lowest in the sparsely vegetated and arid north, increase southward toward the Mediterranean climate, and then decrease slightly, or possible stay the same, further south in the temperate humid zone. This trend is compared with global data from similar soil-mantled hillslopes in granitic lithologies.
Hemanti Sharma, Sebastian G. Mutz, and Todd A. Ehlers
Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss.,
Revised manuscript under review for ESurfShort summary
We estimate global changes in frost cracking intensity (FCI) using existing process-based models for four time-slices in Late Cenozoic ranging from Pliocene (~3 Ma) to Pre-Industrial (~1850 CE, PI). Results indicate for all time-slices, FCI was most prevalent in mid to high latitudes, and high elevation lower latitude areas such as Himalayas. Larger deviations (relative to PI) were observed in colder climate (LGM) and warmer climate (Pliocene) due to differences in temperature and glaciation.
Emilija Krsnik, Katharina Methner, Marion Campani, Svetlana Botsyun, Sebastian G. Mutz, Todd A. Ehlers, Oliver Kempf, Jens Fiebig, Fritz Schlunegger, and Andreas Mulch
Solid Earth, 12, 2615–2631,Short summary
Here we present new surface elevation constraints for the middle Miocene Central Alps based on stable and clumped isotope geochemical analyses. Our reconstructed paleoelevation estimate is supported by isotope-enabled paleoclimate simulations and indicates that the Miocene Central Alps were characterized by a heterogeneous and spatially transient topography with high elevations locally exceeding 4000 m.
Kirstin Übernickel, Jaime Pizarro-Araya, Susila Bhagavathula, Leandro Paulino, and Todd A. Ehlers
Biogeosciences, 18, 5573–5594,Short summary
Animal burrowing is important because it impacts the physical and chemical evolution of Earth’s surface. However, most studies are species specific, and compilations of animal community effects are missing. We present an inventory of the currently known 390 burrowing species for all of Chile along its climate gradient. We observed increasing amounts of excavated material from an area with dry conditions along a gradient towards more humid conditions.
Astrid Oetting, Emma C. Smith, Jan Erik Arndt, Boris Dorschel, Reinhard Drews, Todd A. Ehlers, Christoph Gaedicke, Coen Hofstede, Johann P. Klages, Gerhard Kuhn, Astrid Lambrecht, Andreas Läufer, Christoph Mayer, Ralf Tiedemann, Frank Wilhelms, and Olaf Eisen
The Cryosphere Discuss.,
Revised manuscript accepted for TCShort summary
This study combines a variety of geophysical measurements in front of and beneath the Ekström Ice Shelf in order to identify and interpret geomorphological evidences of past ice sheet flow, extent and retreat. The maximal extent of grounded ice in this region was 11 km away from the continental shelf break. The thickness of palaeo-ice on the calving front around the LGM was estimated to be at least 305 m to 320 m. We provide essential boundary conditions for palaeo ice-sheet models.
Sean D. Willett, Frédéric Herman, Matthew Fox, Nadja Stalder, Todd A. Ehlers, Ruohong Jiao, and Rong Yang
Earth Surf. Dynam., 9, 1153–1221,Short summary
The cooling climate of the last few million years leading into the ice ages has been linked to increasing erosion rates by glaciers. One of the ways to measure this is through mineral cooling ages. In this paper, we investigate potential bias in these data and the methods used to analyse them. We find that the data are not themselves biased but that appropriate methods must be used. Past studies have used appropriate methods and are sound in methodology.
Hemanti Sharma, Todd A. Ehlers, Christoph Glotzbach, Manuel Schmid, and Katja Tielbörger
Earth Surf. Dynam., 9, 1045–1072,Short summary
We study effects of variable climate–vegetation with different uplift rates on erosion–sedimentation using a landscape evolution modeling approach. Results suggest that regardless of uplift rates, transients in precipitation–vegetation lead to transients in erosion rates in the same direction of change. Vegetation-dependent erosion and sedimentation are influenced by Milankovitch timescale changes in climate, but these transients are superimposed upon tectonically driven uplift rates.
Solmaz Mohadjer, Sebastian G. Mutz, Matthew Kemp, Sophie J. Gill, Anatoly Ischuk, and Todd A. Ehlers
Geosci. Commun., 4, 281–295,Short summary
Lack of access to science-based natural hazards information impedes the effectiveness of school-based disaster risk reduction education. To address this challenge, we created and classroom tested a series of earthquake education videos that were co-taught by school teachers and Earth scientists in the UK and Tajikistan. Comparison of the results reveals significant differences between students' views on the Earth's interior and why and where earthquakes occur.
Mirjam Schaller, Igor Dal Bo, Todd A. Ehlers, Anja Klotzsche, Reinhard Drews, Juan Pablo Fuentes Espoz, and Jan van der Kruk
SOIL, 6, 629–647,Short summary
In this study geophysical observations from ground-penetrating radar with pedolith physical and geochemical properties from pedons excavated in four study areas of the climate and ecological gradient in the Chilean Coastal Cordillera are combined. Findings suggest that profiles with ground-penetrating radar along hillslopes can be used to infer lateral thickness variations in pedolith horizons and to some degree physical and chemical variations with depth.
Clemens Schannwell, Reinhard Drews, Todd A. Ehlers, Olaf Eisen, Christoph Mayer, Mika Malinen, Emma C. Smith, and Hannes Eisermann
The Cryosphere, 14, 3917–3934,Short summary
To reduce uncertainties associated with sea level rise projections, an accurate representation of ice flow is paramount. Most ice sheet models rely on simplified versions of the underlying ice flow equations. Due to the high computational costs, ice sheet models based on the complete ice flow equations have been restricted to < 1000 years. Here, we present a new model setup that extends the applicability of such models by an order of magnitude, permitting simulations of 40 000 years.
Clemens Schannwell, Reinhard Drews, Todd A. Ehlers, Olaf Eisen, Christoph Mayer, and Fabien Gillet-Chaulet
The Cryosphere, 13, 2673–2691,Short summary
Ice rises are important ice-sheet features that archive the ice sheet's history in their internal structure. Here we use a 3-D numerical ice-sheet model to simulate mechanisms that lead to changes in the geometry of the internal structure. We find that changes in snowfall result in much larger and faster changes than similar changes in ice-shelf geometry. This result is integral to fully unlocking the potential of ice rises as ice-dynamic archives and potential ice-core drilling sites.
Sebastian G. Mutz and Todd A. Ehlers
Earth Surf. Dynam., 7, 663–679,Short summary
We apply machine learning techniques to quantify and explain differences between recent palaeoclimates with regards to factors that are important in shaping the Earth's surface. We find that changes in ice cover, near-surface air temperature and rainfall duration create the most distinct differences. We also identify regions particularly prone to changes in rainfall and temperature-controlled erosion, which will help with the interpretation of erosion rates and geological archives.
Lorenz Michel, Christoph Glotzbach, Sarah Falkowski, Byron A. Adams, and Todd A. Ehlers
Earth Surf. Dynam., 7, 275–299,Short summary
Mountain-building processes are often investigated by assuming a steady state, meaning the balance between opposing forces, like mass influx and mass outflux. This work shows that the Olympic Mountains are in flux steady state on long timescales (i.e., 14 Myr), but the flux steady state could be disturbed on shorter timescales, especially by the Plio–Pleistocene glaciation. The contribution highlights the temporally nonsteady evolution of mountain ranges.
Matthias Nettesheim, Todd A. Ehlers, David M. Whipp, and Alexander Koptev
Solid Earth, 9, 1207–1224,Short summary
In this modeling study, we investigate rock uplift at plate corners (syntaxes). These are characterized by a unique bent geometry at subduction zones and exhibit some of the world's highest rock uplift rates. We find that the style of deformation changes above the plate's bent section and that active subduction is necessary to generate an isolated region of rapid uplift. Strong erosion there localizes uplift on even smaller scales, suggesting both tectonic and surface processes are important.
Christian Werner, Manuel Schmid, Todd A. Ehlers, Juan Pablo Fuentes-Espoz, Jörg Steinkamp, Matthew Forrest, Johan Liakka, Antonio Maldonado, and Thomas Hickler
Earth Surf. Dynam., 6, 829–858,Short summary
Vegetation is crucial for modulating rates of denudation and landscape evolution, and is directly influenced by climate conditions and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Using transient climate data and a state-of-the-art dynamic vegetation model we simulate the vegetation composition and cover from the Last Glacial Maximum to present along the Coastal Cordillera of Chile. In part 2 we assess the landscape response to transient climate and vegetation cover using a landscape evolution model.
Manuel Schmid, Todd A. Ehlers, Christian Werner, Thomas Hickler, and Juan-Pablo Fuentes-Espoz
Earth Surf. Dynam., 6, 859–881,Short summary
We present a numerical modeling study into the interactions between transient climate and vegetation cover with hillslope and fluvial processes. We use a state-of-the-art landscape evolution model library (Landlab) and design model experiments to investigate the effect of climate change and the associated changes in surface vegetation cover on main basin metrics. This paper is a companion paper to Part 1 (this journal), which investigates the effect of climate change on surface vegetation cover.
Byron A. Adams and Todd A. Ehlers
Earth Surf. Dynam., 6, 595–610,Short summary
Where alpine glaciers were active in the past, they have created scenic landscapes that are likely in the process of morphing back into a form that it more stable with today's climate regime and tectonic forces. By looking at older erosion rates from before the time of large alpine glaciers and erosion rates since deglaciation in the Olympic Mountains (USA), we find that the topography and erosion rates have not drastically changed despite the impressive glacial valleys that have been carved.
Sebastian G. Mutz, Todd A. Ehlers, Martin Werner, Gerrit Lohmann, Christian Stepanek, and Jingmin Li
Earth Surf. Dynam., 6, 271–301,Short summary
We use a climate model and statistics to provide an overview of regional climates from different times in the late Cenozoic. We focus on tectonically active mountain ranges in particular. Our results highlight significant changes in climates throughout the late Cenozoic, which should be taken into consideration when interpreting erosion rates. We also document the differences between model- and proxy-based estimates for late Cenozoic climate change in South America and Tibet.
Heiko Paeth, Christian Steger, Jingmin Li, Sebastian G. Mutz, and Todd A. Ehlers
Clim. Past Discuss.,
Manuscript not accepted for further reviewShort summary
We use a high-resolution regional climate model to investigate various episodes of distinct climate states over the Tibetan Plateau region during the Cenozoic rise of the Plateau and Quaternary glacial/interglacial cycles. The simulated changes are in good agreement with available paleo-climatic reconstructions from proxy data. It is shown that in some regions of the Tibetan Plateau the climate anomalies during the Quaternary have been as strong as the changes occurring during the uplift period.
Michael Dietze, Solmaz Mohadjer, Jens M. Turowski, Todd A. Ehlers, and Niels Hovius
Earth Surf. Dynam., 5, 653–668,Short summary
We use a seismometer network to detect and locate rockfalls, a key process shaping steep mountain landscapes. When tested against laser scan surveys, all seismically detected events could be located with an average deviation of 81 m. Seismic monitoring provides insight to the dynamics of individual rockfalls, which can be as small as 0.0053 m3. Thus, seismic methods provide unprecedented temporal, spatial and kinematic details about this important process.
Solmaz Mohadjer, Todd Alan Ehlers, Rebecca Bendick, Konstanze Stübner, and Timo Strube
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 529–542,Short summary
The Central Asia Fault Database is the first publicly accessible digital repository for active faults in central Asia and the surrounding regions. It includes an interactive map and a search tool that allow users to query and display critical fault information such as slip rates and earthquake history. The map displays over 1196 fault traces and 34 000 earthquake locations. The database contains attributes for 123 faults mentioned in the literature.
R. M. Headley and T. A. Ehlers
Earth Surf. Dynam., 3, 153–170,Short summary
Within a landscape evolution model operating over geologic timescales, this work evaluates how different assumptions and levels of complexity for modeling glacier flow impact the pattern and amount of glacial erosion. Compared to those in colder climates, modeled glaciers in warmer and wetter climates are more sensitive to the choice of glacier flow model. Differences between landscapes evolved with different glacier flow models are intensified over multiple cycles.
Related subject area
Subject area: The evolving Earth surface | Editorial team: Rock deformation, geomorphology, morphotectonics, and paleoseismology | Discipline: TectonicsTogether but separate: decoupled Variscan (late Carboniferous) and Alpine (Late Cretaceous–Paleogene) inversion tectonics in NW PolandExhumation and erosion of the Northern Apennines, Italy: new insights from low-temperature thermochronometersConditional probability of distributed surface rupturing during normal-faulting earthquakesContrasting exhumation histories and relief development within the Three Rivers Region (south-east Tibet)Subsidence associated with oil extraction, measured from time series analysis of Sentinel-1 data: case study of the Patos-Marinza oil field, AlbaniaUsing seismic attributes in seismotectonic research: an application to the Norcia Mw = 6.5 earthquake (30 October 2016) in central ItalyRelative timing of uplift along the Zagros Mountain Front Flexure (Kurdistan Region of Iraq): Constrained by geomorphic indices and landscape evolution modeling
Piotr Krzywiec, Mateusz Kufrasa, Paweł Poprawa, Stanisław Mazur, Małgorzata Koperska, and Piotr Ślemp
Solid Earth, 13, 639–658,Short summary
Legacy 2-D seismic data with newly acquired 3-D seismic data were used to construct a new model of geological evolution of NW Poland over last 400 Myr. It illustrates how the destruction of the Caledonian orogen in the Late Devonian–early Carboniferous led to half-graben formation, how they were inverted in the late Carboniferous, how the study area evolved during the formation of the Permo-Mesozoic Polish Basin and how supra-evaporitic structures were inverted in the Late Cretaceous–Paleogene.
Erica D. Erlanger, Maria Giuditta Fellin, and Sean D. Willett
Solid Earth, 13, 347–365,Short summary
We present an erosion rate analysis on dated rock and sediment from the Northern Apennine Mountains, Italy, which provides new insights on the pattern of erosion rates through space and time. This analysis shows decreasing erosion through time on the Ligurian side but increasing erosion through time on the Adriatic side. We suggest that the pattern of erosion rates is consistent with the present asymmetric topography in the Northern Apennines, which has likely existed for several million years.
Maria Francesca Ferrario and Franz Livio
Solid Earth, 12, 1197–1209,Short summary
Moderate to strong earthquakes commonly produce surface faulting, either along the primary fault or as distributed rupture on nearby faults. Hazard assessment for distributed normal faulting is based on empirical relations derived almost 15 years ago. In this study, we derive updated empirical regressions of the probability of distributed faulting as a function of distance from the primary fault, and we propose a conservative scenario to consider the full spectrum of potential rupture.
Xiong Ou, Anne Replumaz, and Peter van der Beek
Solid Earth, 12, 563–580,Short summary
The low-relief, mean-elevation Baima Xueshan massif experienced slow exhumation at a rate of 0.01 km/Myr since at least 22 Ma and then regional rock uplift at 0.25 km/Myr since ~10 Ma. The high-relief, high-elevation Kawagebo massif shows much stronger local rock uplift related to the motion along a west-dipping thrust fault, at a rate of 0.45 km/Myr since at least 10 Ma, accelerating to 1.86 km/Myr since 1.6 Ma. Mekong River incision plays a minor role in total exhumation in both massifs.
Marianne Métois, Mouna Benjelloun, Cécile Lasserre, Raphaël Grandin, Laurie Barrier, Edmond Dushi, and Rexhep Koçi
Solid Earth, 11, 363–378,Short summary
The Patos-Marinza oil field in Central Albania (40.71° N, 19.61° E) is one of the largest onshore oil fields in Europe. More than 7 million oil barrels are extracted per year from sandstone formations in western Albania. The regional seismicity culminated in December 2016, when a seismic sequence developed in the oil field, triggering the opening of a public inquiry. We take advantage of the Sentinel-1 radar images to show that a strong subsidence, probably induced, is taking place in the field.
Maurizio Ercoli, Emanuele Forte, Massimiliano Porreca, Ramon Carbonell, Cristina Pauselli, Giorgio Minelli, and Massimiliano R. Barchi
Solid Earth, 11, 329–348,Short summary
We present a first application of seismic attributes, a well-known technique in the oil and gas industry, to vintage seismic reflection profiles in a seismotectonic study. Our results improve data interpretability, allowing us to detect peculiar geophysical signatures of faulting and a regional seismogenic layer. We suggest a new tool for both seismotectonic research and assessments of the seismic hazard, not only in the central Apennines (Italy), but also in seismically active areas abroad.
Mjahid Zebari, Christoph Grützner, Payman Navabpour, and Kamil Ustaszewski
Solid Earth, 10, 663–682,Short summary
Here, we assessed the maturity level and then relative variation of uplift time of three anticlines along the hanging wall of the Zagros Mountain Front Flexure in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. We also estimated the relative time difference between the uplift time of more mature anticlines and less mature ones to be around 200 kyr via building a landscape evolution model. These enabled us to reconstruct a spatial and temporal evolution of these anticlines.
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We examine the Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan by integrating balanced geologic cross sections with cooling ages from a suite of mineral systems. Interpretations of cooling ages are intrinsically linked to both the motion along faults as well as the location and magnitude of erosion. In this study, we use flexural and thermal kinematic models to understand the sensitivity of predicted cooling ages to changes in fault kinematics, geometry, and topography.
We examine the Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan by integrating balanced geologic cross sections...