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Catchment-wide denudation rates at the margin of NE Tibet from in situ-produced cosmogenic 10Be

Authors

  • Luigi Palumbo,

    1. Institut für Geologie und Paläontologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Corrensstr. 24, 48149 Münster, Germany
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  • Ralf Hetzel,

    1. Institut für Geologie und Paläontologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Corrensstr. 24, 48149 Münster, Germany
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  • Mingxin Tao,

    1. The Oil and Gas Research Center at Beijing Normal University/College of Resources Sciences and Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875; and Key Laboratory of Petroleum Resources Research, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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  • Xiaobin Li

    1. The Oil and Gas Research Center at Beijing Normal University/College of Resources Sciences and Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875; and Key Laboratory of Petroleum Resources Research, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
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Luigi Palumbo, Institut für Geologie und Paläontologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Corrensstr. 24, 48149 Münster, Germany. Tel.: +49 (0)251 83 33908; fax: +49 (0)251 8333933; e-mail: luigi.palumbo@uni-muenster.de

Abstract

Terra Nova, 23, 42–48, 2011

Abstract

We present denudation rates for catchments in the Qilian Shan and two mountain ranges in its foreland, which differ markedly in elevation and catchment morphology. Catchments with mean slope angles below ∼25° yield 10Be-derived denudation rates <∼200 mm ka−1 and have narrow and symmetric slope–frequency distributions, which become broader as the mean slope angle increases. Denudation rates for catchments with mean hillslope angles steeper than ∼25° range from ∼100 to ∼800 mm ka−1. Field observations suggest that these higher and more variable rates are the result of erosion by bedrock landslides, which contribute to mass transport on the hillslopes. Six catchments aligned along the mountain front of the central Qilian Shan have reached threshold values of slope and relief. These basins also show remarkably similar slope–frequency distributions with negative skewness and a pronounced peak at a slope angle of 30°–35°. We hypothesize that these catchments have attained an erosional steady state.

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