Quantification of river-capture-induced base-level changes and landscape development, Sorbas Basin, SE Spain
M. Stokes, A. E. Mather, A. M. Harvey, 2002. "Quantification of river-capture-induced base-level changes and landscape development, Sorbas Basin, SE Spain", Sediment Flux to Basins: Causes, Controls and Consequences, S.J. Jones, L.E. Frostick
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The Aguas/Feos river system of the Sorbas Basin, SE Spain was captured by an aggressive subsequent stream c. 100 ka. The consequence of the capture event was twofold: (1) basin-scale drainage reorganization via beheading of the southward flowing Aguas/Feos system and re-routing the drainage eastwards into the Vera Basin; and (2) the creation of a new, lower base level and associated upstream propagation of a wave of incision.
The sequence of pre- and post-capture events are well established from previous studies of the Quaternary terrace record. Using these studies, this paper makes the first attempt to quantify the impact of river capture in terms of spatial and temporal variations in rates of incision, sediment flux and surface lowering. This was carried out through construction of 43 valley cross-sections from the‘captured’(Upper Aguas),‘beheaded’(Feos) and‘capturing’streams (Lower Aguas) within the central-southern parts of the Sorbas Basin. Dated pre- and post-capture terrace and corresponding strath levels were plotted on to the valley cross-sections enabling incision amounts, rates and valley cross-sectional areas to be calculated. Sediment fluxes were calculated using a mean valley section method. Surface lowering calculations were made through reconstruction of the top basinfill surface and subtraction from the modern contour values.
The lowering of base level has resulted in a dramatic increase in incision upstream of the capture site by a factor of 4 to 20. This in turn has been associated with significant pre- and post-capture changes in valley shape. The increased incision resulted in dramatic post-capture increases in valley erosion
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There is an increasing trend in the Earth sciences towards the integration of many subdisciplines. The sedimendatry basin, is a fundamental focal point of many studies, which as a consequence often neglects the complimentary drainage basin or catchment. Sedimentary basins provide a record of Earth history, reflecting the geographical, lithological, oceanographic and ecological development through the rock record. Drainage basins in comparison record ephemeral landscape evolution, where topography is eroded and provides the flux of sediment to the basin. The basin fill reflects the sediment flux from the hinterland and provides evidence of the dynamic geomorphic processes. In context the drainage system and sedimentary basin can be regarded as a ‘production line’ with sedimentary record giving valuable insight into long-term landscape evolution and geomorphological processes illuminating the evolution of sedimentary basins.
This volume assesses the current position of understanding sediment supply to basins with the integration of the many sub-disciplines in the Earth sciences. It documents a mix of hinterland and sedimentary basin studies with a gradation from orogenic belts to the deep marine. The authors represent a wide spectrum of Earth scientist, with leaders in the science providing review papers and new-directive papers in their field of specialization.