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

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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
12 Feb 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).
Tectonic controls of Holocene erosion in a glaciated orogen
Byron A. Adams1,a and Todd A. Ehlers1 1Department of Geosciences, Univsität Tübingen, D-72074, Germany
anow at: the School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1RJ, UK
Abstract. Recent work has highlighted a strong, worldwide, glacial impact of orogen erosion rates over the last 2 Ma. While it may be assumed that glaciers increased erosion rates when active, the degree to which past glaciations influence Holocene erosion rates through the adjustment of topography is not known. In this study, we investigate the influence of long-term tectonic and post-glacial topographic controls on erosion in a glaciated orogen, the Olympic Mountains, USA. We present 14 new 10Be and 26Al analyses which constrain Holocene erosion rates across the Olympic Mountains. Basin-averaged erosion rates scale with basin-averaged values of 5-km local relief, channel steepness, and hillslope angle throughout the range, similar to observations from non-glaciated orogens. These erosion rates are not related to mean annual precipitation or the marked change in Pleistocene alpine glacier size across the range, implying that glacier modification of topography and modern precipitation parameters do not exert strong controls on these rates. Rather, we find that despite intense spatial variations in glacial modification of topography, patterns of recent erosion are similar to those from estimates of long-term tectonic rock uplift. This is consistent with a tectonic model where erosion and rock uplift patterns are controlled by the deformation of the Cascadia subduction zone.
Citation: Adams, B. A. and Ehlers, T. A.: Tectonic controls of Holocene erosion in a glaciated orogen, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss.,, in review, 2018.
Byron A. Adams and Todd A. Ehlers
Byron A. Adams and Todd A. Ehlers
Byron A. Adams and Todd A. Ehlers


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