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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
06 Apr 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf) and is expected to appear here in due course.
10Be systematics in the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra catchment: the cosmogenic nuclide legacy of the eastern Himalayan syntaxis
Maarten Lupker1,6, Jérôme Lavé2, Christian France-Lanord2, Marcus Christl3, Didier Bourlès4, Julien Carcaillet5, Colin Maden6, Rainer Wieler6, Mustafizur Rahman7, Devojit Bezbaruah8, and Liu Xiaohan9 1Geological Institute, D-ERDW, ETH Zürich, Zürich, 8092, Switzerland
2CRPG, UMR 7358 CNRS-Univ. de Lorraine, Vandoeuvre les Nancy, 54500, France
3Institute of Particle Physics, D-PHYS, ETH Zürich, Zürich, 8093, Switzerland
4CEREGE, UMR 34 UAM-CNRS-IRD, Aix-en-Provence, 13545, France
5ISTerre, Univ. Grenoble Alpes-CNRS, Grenoble, 38000, France
6Insitute of Geochemistry and Petrology, D-ERDW, ETH Zürich, Zürich, 8092, Switzerland
7Department of Soil, Water and Environment, Dhaka University, Dhaka, 1000, Bangladesh
8Department of Applied Geology, Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh, 786004, India
9Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Abstract. The Tsangpo-Brahmaputra River drains the eastern part of the Himalayan range, flowing from the Tibetan Plateau through the eastern Himalayan syntaxis and downstream to the Indo-Gangetic floodplain. As such it is a unique natural laboratory to study how denudation and sediment production processes are transferred to river detrital signals. In this study, we present a new 10Be data set to constrain denudation rates across the catchment and to quantify the impact of rapid erosion within the syntaxis region on cosmogenic nuclide budgets and signals. 10Be denudation rates span around two orders of magnitude across the catchments (ranging from 0.03 mm/yr to > 4 mm/yr) and sharply increase as the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra flows across the eastern Himalaya. The increase in denudation rates however occurs ~ 150 km downstream of the Namche Barwa-Gyala Peri massif (NBGPm), an area which has been previously characterized by extremely high erosion and exhumation rates. We suggest that this downstream lag is mainly due to the physical abrasion of coarse grained, low 10Be concentration, landslide material produced within the syntaxis that dilutes the upstream high concentration 10Be flux from the Tibetan Plateau only after abrasion has transferred sediment to the studied sand fraction. A simple abrasion model produces typical lag distances of 50 to 150 km compatible with our observations. Abrasion effects reduce the spatial resolution over which denudation can be constrained in the eastern Himalayan syntaxis. In addition, we also highlight that denudation rate estimates are dependent on the sediment connectivity, storage and quartz content of the upstream Tibetan Plateau part of the catchment which tends to lead to an overestimation of downstream denudations rates. Taking these effects into account we estimate a denudation rates of ca. 2 to 5 mm/yr for the entire syntaxis and ca. 4 to 28 mm/yr for the NBGPm, which is significantly higher than other to other large catchments. Overall, 10Be concentrations measured at the outlet of the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra in Bangladesh suggest a sediment flux between 780 and 1430 Mt/yr equivalent to a denudation rate between 0.7 and 1.2 mm/yr for the entire catchment.

Citation: Lupker, M., Lavé, J., France-Lanord, C., Christl, M., Bourlès, D., Carcaillet, J., Maden, C., Wieler, R., Rahman, M., Bezbaruah, D., and Xiaohan, L.: 10Be systematics in the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra catchment: the cosmogenic nuclide legacy of the eastern Himalayan syntaxis, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Maarten Lupker et al.
Maarten Lupker et al.
Maarten Lupker et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We use geochemical approaches (10Be) on river sediments to quantify the erosion rates across the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra (TB) catchment in the eastern Himalaya. Our approach confirms the high erosion rates in the eastern Himalayan syntaxis region and we suggest that the abrasion of landslide material in the syntaxis is a key process to explain how erosion signals are transferred to the sediment load.
We use geochemical approaches (10Be) on river sediments to quantify the erosion rates across the...