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Keywords:

  • Optically stimulated luminescence dating;
  • Pinjaur Dun;
  • Quaternary alluvial fans;
  • Sub-Himalaya;
  • tectonics and climate;
  • terraces

Abstract

Quaternary alluvial fans in the tectonically active Pinjaur Dun, an intramontane valley in the Sub-Himalaya, were deposited in front of the Nalagarh Thrust and were influenced both by tectonics and glacial climate fluctuations. The surface morphology indicates that an earlier set of first-order fans (Qf1) became entrenched and onlapped by a series of second-order fans (Qf2). The younger fan segments were then cut by a pair of terraces (T1 and T2). Quartz optically stimulated luminescence dating establishes that the Qf1 aggradational phase was initiated before 96·5 ± 25·3 ka and terminated after 83·7 ± 16·3 ka. This was followed by a period of incision, before Qf2 fan deposition started at 72·4 ± 13·4 ka and continued until 24·5 ± 4·9 ka. Sediment was deposited on the T1 (upper) and T2 (lower) terraces at 16·3 ± 2·1 and 4·5 ka, respectively, recording a return to overall degradation punctuated by minor deposition on terraces. The period of incision separating the younger and older fan deposits coincided with enhanced SW monsoon precipitation. The subsequent development of the Qf2 fans and their progradation until 20 ka suggest erosional unloading of the thrust hangingwall during a tectonically quiescent phase. Toe cutting, deposition of axial river and lacustrine facies, and retreat of Qf2 around 45 ka, indicate fanward shift of the axial river due to tilting of the valley towards the NE in response to reactivation of the Nalagarh Thrust. The cessation of Qf2 deposition around 20 ka and the onset of through-fan entrenchment suggest reduced sediment supply but relatively high stream power during the last glacial maxima (LGM). The prolonged stream incision since the cessation of Qf2 deposition, with only minor depositional phases at 16·3 ± 2·1 and 4·5 ka, resulted from high water discharge and low sediment input during intensification of the SW monsoon and vegetation changes in the hinterland.