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Title: Towards the steady state? A long-term river incision deceleration pattern during Pleistocene entrenchment (Upper Ebro River, Northern Spain)
Authors: Benito-Calvo, Alfonso
Moreno García, Davinia
Fujioka, Toshiyuki
López, Gloria I.
Martín-González, Fidel
Martínez-Fernández, Adrián
Hernando-Alonso, Isabel
Karampaglidis, Theodoros
Bermúdez de Castro, José María
Gutiérrez, Francisco Javier
Keywords: Fluvial terraces;ESR dating;TCN dating;OSL dating;Incision deceleration;Steady state
Issue Date: Jun-2022
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Global and Planetary Change, 2022, 213, 103813
Abstract: Pleistocene fluvial incision acceleration resulting in narrow and deeply entrenched valleys has been widely described and is generally attributed to uplift rate increase or greater climatic severity. In this paper, the long-term downcutting pattern of the Upper Ebro River and driving mechanisms are assessed, and we reconstruct the valley incision recorded by an outstanding sequence of 22 river terraces. Dating of 8 fluvial levels by means of the ESR, TCN, and OSL techniques, spanning the last 1.2 Ma, reveals a long-term incision deceleration pattern. The estimated age-incision model indicates a decrease in the incision rates, showing a long-term deceleration during the final Early Pleistocene (from 0.42 to 0.18 m/ka), and a tendency towards a steady state or base level stabilization from the Middle Pleistocene (0.15–0.03 m/ka) to the Late Pleistocene (0.03 m/ka). This incision pattern does not support climate change as a long-term incision-acceleration driver by itself, demonstrating the need for base level lowering effects to have operated. Upper Ebro deceleration incision is explained by the headward attenuation of the incision wave induced by the opening of the Ebro Cenozoic Basin in a geodynamic context characterized by an absence of significant uplift over the last million years. This trend could have changed the aggressor-victim roles of the rivers involved in fluvial captures at the drainage divide. The documented incision deceleration pattern differs from that reported for other valleys in the Iberian Peninsula, suggesting that the degree of maturity of the fluvial systems depends on their relative position with respect to the capture point, in addition to tectonic and lithostructural factors. In the Late Pleistocene-Holocene, a short-lived incision rate increase is recorded, corresponding to the last terrace dissection phase, during the transition from the last glacial MIS 2 to the interglacial MIS 1.
ISSN: 0921-8181
DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2022.103813
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Type: Article
Appears in Collections:Paleobiología
Cartografía Digital y Análisis 3D
Datación por Luminiscencia
Datación por Resonancia Paramagnética Electrónica
Geocronología y Geología

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