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  • 2020-2023  (4)
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  • 1
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    In:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)
    Publication Date: 2022-11-17
    Description: Erosion and sedimentation constantly rework topography created by tectonics but also modulate stresses in the underlying crust by redistributing surficial loads. Decades of numerical modeling further suggest that surface processes help focus deformation onto fewer, longer-lived faults at tectonic plate boundaries. However, because the surface evolution parameters used in these models are not quantitatively calibrated against real landscapes and because the history of fault activity can be difficult to infer from the geological record, the sensitivity of tectonic deformation to a realistic range of erosional efficiency remains unknown. Here, we model the growth of half-grabens, where slip on a master normal fault shapes an adjacent mountain range as it accommodates crustal stretching. We subject our simulations to fluvial incision acting at rates assessed by morphometric analysis of rivers draining natural rift systems. Increasing erosional efficiency within the geologically documented range alleviates the energy cost of topographic growth and increases the total extension that can be accommodated by half-graben master faults by as much as ∼50%. Efficient erosion favors an eventual basin-ward relocalization of strain, preventing the development of horst structures. This behavior is consistent with structural and morphometric observations across 12 normal fault-bounded ranges, suggesting that surface erodibility and climatic conditions have a measurable impact on the tectonic makeup of Earth’s plate boundaries.
    Language: English
    Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2022-01-10
    Description: Along subduction margins, the morphology of the near shore domain records the combined action of erosion from ocean waves and permanent tectonic deformation from the convergence of plates. We observe that at subduction margins around the globe, the edge of continental shelves tends to be located above the downdip end of seismic coupling on the megathrust. Coastlines lie farther landward at variable distances. This observation stems from a compilation of well‐resolved coseismic and interseismic coupling data sets. The permanent interseismic uplift component of the total tectonic deformation can explain the localization of the shelf break. It contributes a short wave‐length gradient in vertical deformation on top of the structural and isostatic deformation of the margin. This places a hinge line between seaward subsidence and landward uplift above the downdip end of high coupling. Landward of the hinge line, rocks are uplifted in the domain of wave‐base erosion and a shelf is maintained by the competition of rock uplift and wave erosion. Wave erosion then sets the coastline back from the tectonically meaningful shelf break. We combine a wave erosion model with an elastic deformation model to illustrate how the downdip end of high coupling pins the location of the shelf break. In areas where the shelf is wide, onshore geodetic constraints on seismic coupling are limited and could be advantageously complemented by considering the location of the shelf break. Subduction margin morphology integrates hundreds of seismic cycles and could inform the persistence of seismic coupling patterns through time.
    Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
    Format: application/pdf
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2022-01-28
    Description: Marine terraces are a cornerstone for the study of paleo sea level and crustal deformation. Commonly, individual erosive marine terraces are attributed to unique sea-level high stands based on the reasoning that marine platforms could only be significantly widened at the beginning of an interglacial. However, this logic implies that wave erosion is insignificant at other times. We postulate that the erosion potential at a given bedrock elevation datum is proportional to the total duration of sea-level occupation at that datum. The total duration of sea-level occupation depends strongly on rock uplift rate. Certain rock uplift rates may promote the generation and preservation of particular terraces while others prevent them. For example, at rock uplift of ~1.2 mm/yr, the Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5e (ca. 120 ka) high stand reoccupies the elevation of the MIS 6d–e mid-stand, favoring creation of a wider terrace than at higher or lower rock uplift rates. Thus, misidentification of terraces can occur if each terrace in a sequence is assumed to form uniquely at successive interglacial high stands and to reflect their relative elevations. Developing a graphical proxy for the entire erosion potential of sea-level history allows us to address creation and preservation biases at different rock uplift rates.
    Language: English
    Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2022-02-09
    Description: Die langfristige Sicherheit der Endlagerung radioaktiver Abfälle in tiefen geologischen Formationen beruht auch darauf, dass der einschlusswirksame Gebirgsbereich nicht durch Erosion in einem Zeitraum von einer Million Jahren freigelegt wird. Mit geologischen Daten und numerischen Modellen der Landschaftsentwicklung kann quantifiziert werden, wie schnell beispielsweise Gletscher, Flüsse und tektonische Prozesse die Landschaft verändern und wie wahrscheinlich es ist, dass ein Endlager durch diese Prozesse an die Erdoberfläche gelangt.
    Language: German
    Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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