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Title: Cosmogenic nuclide-derived downcutting rates of canyons within large limestone plateaus of southern Massif Central (France) reveal a different regional speleogenesis of karst networks
Authors: Malcles, Oswald
Vernant, Philippe
Fink, David
Cazes, Gaël
Ritz, Jean-François
Fujioka, Toshiyuki
Chéry, Jean
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Copernicus Publications
Citation: EGUsphere, 2023, [Preprint]
Abstract: We present 27 new burial ages based on 26Al / 10Be ratios of terrestrial cosmogenic radionuclides measured in clasts and sediments deep within 12 caves in the southern Massif Central, France. Our results together with previously published burial ages, verifies that cave morphogenesis has been continuously active in this region for at least the past ~6 Myrs. Combining sample burial ages with their associated cave elevation above modern stream bed gives a mean regional incision rate of 88 ± 5 m/Ma for the Grands Causses area. South of the Cevennes Fault zone bordering the Grands Causses, the incision rate is 43 ± 5 m/Ma, suggesting that this difference might be accommodated by the fault zone. Sediment burial ages from caves which are not located on river valley flanks or cliff walls are surprisingly too young relatively to the expected age calculated using this regional average river incision rate. This suggests that the classical epigenic speleogenesis model that presumes a direct correlation between cave level development and regional base level lowering does not apply for the study area. Therefore, we propose that regional speleogenesis is mainly controlled by removal of ghost-rocks by regressive erosion from river canyons to central parts of the plateaus, emptying incipient primokarst passages to create cave systems. Our results suggest a continuum process from hypogene primokarst composed of ghost-rocks filled passages to epigene karst dynamic emptying these passages and creating cave networks. We propose this is a major process in the southern Massif Central that initiates the speleogenesis and control the geometry of the networks. In this region tiered karst cannot be associated with major incising rivers but must be explained by former ghost-rocks (or hypogene) processes.
DOI: 10.5194/egusphere-2023-765
Editor version:
Type: Preprint
Appears in Collections:Geocronología y Geología

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