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

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https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2017-35
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Short communication
20 Jun 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf) and is expected to appear here in due course.
SHORT COMMUNICATION: Massive Erosion in Monsoonal Central India Linked to Late Holocene Landcover Degradation
Liviu Giosan1, Camilo Ponton1,2,a, Muhammed Usman3, Jerzy Blusztajn1, Dorian Fuller4, Valier Galy5, Negar Haghipour3, Joel E. Johnson6, Cameron McIntyre3,7,b, Lucas Wacker7, and Timothy Eglinton3,5 1Geology & Geophysics, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
2MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
3Geological Institute, ETH Zürich, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
4Institute of Archaeology, University College London, London, UK
5Marine Chemistry & Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
6Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire, USA
7Laboratory of Ion Beam Physics, ETH Zürich, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland
anow at: Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, 1200 E. California Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
bnow at: Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center, E. Kilbride, G75 0QF, UK
Abstract. Soil erosion plays a crucial role in transferring sediment and carbon from land to sea, yet little is known about the rhythm and rates of soil erosion prior to the most recent few centuries. Here we reconstruct a Holocene erosional history from central India, as integrated by the Godavari River in a sediment core from the Bay of Bengal. We quantify terrigenous fluxes, fingerprint sources for the lithogenic fraction and assess the age of the exported terrigenous carbon. Taken together, our data show that the monsoon decline in the late Holocene, later exacerbated by the Neolithic adoption and Iron Age extensification of agriculture on the Deccan Plateau, significantly increased soil erosion and the age of exported organic carbon. Despite a constantly elevated sea level since the middle Holocene, this erosion acceleration led to rapid continental margin growth. We conclude that in monsoon conditions, aridity boosts rather than supresses sediment and carbon export acting as a veritable monsoon erosional pump modulated by landcover conditions.

Citation: Giosan, L., Ponton, C., Usman, M., Blusztajn, J., Fuller, D., Galy, V., Haghipour, N., Johnson, J. E., McIntyre, C., Wacker, L., and Eglinton, T.: SHORT COMMUNICATION: Massive Erosion in Monsoonal Central India Linked to Late Holocene Landcover Degradation, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2017-35, in review, 2017.
Liviu Giosan et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version      Supplement - Supplement
 
RC1: 'Comments', Piret Plink-Bjorklund, 03 Jul 2017 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
AC1: 'Response to interactive comment on “SHORT COMMUNICATION: Massive Erosion in Monsoonal Central India Linked to Late Holocene Landcover Degradation” by Liviu Giosan et al. by P. Plink-Bjorklund (Referee)', Liviu Giosan, 27 Sep 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
 
SC1: 'Interactive comment on “SHORT COMMUMNICATION: Massive Erosion in Monsoonal Central India Linked to Late Holocene Landcover Degradation” by Liviu Giosan et al.', YOGESH KULKARNI, 20 Aug 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
AC2: 'Response to interactive comment on “SHORT COMMUNICATION: Massive Erosion in Monsoonal Central India Linked to Late Holocene Landcover Degradation” by Liviu Giosan et al. by Y. Kulkarni', Liviu Giosan, 27 Sep 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
 
SC2: 'Interactive comment on “SHORT COMMUNICATION: Massive Erosion in Monsoonal Central India Linked to Late Holocene Landcover Degradation” by Liviu Giosan et al.', YOGESH KULKARNI, 21 Aug 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
AC3: 'Response to interactive comment on “SHORT COMMUNICATION: Massive Erosion in Monsoonal Central India Linked to Late Holocene Landcover Degradation” by Liviu Giosan et al. by Y. Kulkarni', Liviu Giosan, 27 Sep 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
 
RC2: 'Review of esurf-2017-35', Anonymous Referee #2, 27 Aug 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
AC4: 'Response to Interactive comment on “SHORT COMMUNICATION: Massive Erosion in Monsoonal Central India Linked to Late Holocene Landcover Degradation” by Liviu Giosan et al. by Anonymous Referee', Liviu Giosan, 27 Sep 2017 Printer-friendly Version Supplement 
Liviu Giosan et al.
Liviu Giosan et al.

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Short summary
A reconstruction of erosion in the Core Monsoon Zone of India provides unintuitive but fundamental insights: in contrast to semiarid regions that experience enhanced erosion during erratic rain events, the monsoon is annual and acts as a veritable erosional pump accelerating when the landcover is minimal. The existence of such a monsoon erosional pump promises to reconcile conflicting views on the land-sea sediment and carbon transfer as well as the monsoon evolution at longer timescales.
A reconstruction of erosion in the Core Monsoon Zone of India provides unintuitive but...
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