Climatic controls on alluvial-fan activity, Coastal Cordillera, northern Chile
Adrian J. Hartley, Anne E. Mather, Elizabeth Jolley, Peter Turner, 2005. "Climatic controls on alluvial-fan activity, Coastal Cordillera, northern Chile", Alluvial Fans: Geomorphology, Sedimentology, Dynamics, A. M. Harvey, A. E. Mather, M. Stokes
Download citation file:
A description of the distribution, drainage basin characteristics, surface morphology, depositional process and age of 64 alluvial fan systems from both flanks of the hyper-arid Coastal Cordillera of northern Chile between 22°15′S and 23°40′S is presented. The coastal fans on the western flank of the Coastal Cordillera are dominated by debris-flow deposits fed from steep catchments. Two drainage basin types are recognized: type A drainage basins are small (10–30 km2) and do not cut back beyond the main coastal watershed; and type B drainage basins are large (up to 400 km2) and cut inland beyond the coastal watershed. The western Central Depression fans on the eastern flank of the Coastal Cordillera are characterized by sheetflood deposition fed from relatively shallow catchments in small drainage basins (10–50 km2). The surface morphology, sedimentation rates, a luminescence date and regional cosmogenic radionucleide data suggest that these fans have been inactive for at least the last 230 000 years and probably for much of the Neogene.
Figures & Tables
Alluvial fans are important sedimentary environments. They trap sediment delivered from mountain source areas, and exert an important control on the delivery of sediment to downstream environments, to axial drainages and to sedimentary basins. They preserve a sensitive record of environmental change within the mountain source areas. Alluvial fan geomorphology and sedimentology reflect not only drainage basin size and geology, but change in response to tectonic, climatic and base-level controls. One of the challenges facing alluvial fan research is to resolve how these gross controls are reflected in alluvial fan dynamics and to apply the results of studies of modern fan processes and Quaternary fans to the understanding of sedimentary sequences in the rock record. This volume includes papers based on up-to-date research, and focuses on three themes: alluvial fan processes, dynamics of Quaternary alluvial fans and fan sedimentary sequences. Linking the papers is an emphasis on the controls of fan geomorphology, sedimentology and dynamics. This provides a basis for integration between geomorphological and sedimentological approaches, and an understanding how fluvial systems respond to tectonic, climatic and base-level changes.