Numerical modelling of erosion processes in the Himalayas of Nepal: effects of spatial variations of rock strength and precipitation
V. Godard, J. Lavé, R. Cattin, 2006. "Numerical modelling of erosion processes in the Himalayas of Nepal: effects of spatial variations of rock strength and precipitation", Analogue and Numerical Modelling of Crustal-Scale Processes, S. J. H. Buiter, G. Schreurs
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The interplay between tectonics and erosion has a predominant control on the evolution of the morphology of mountain belts. Here we investigate the modalities of deformation in Central Nepal on a c. 100 ka time scale in response to tectonic and externai forcings, through the use of a finite-element thermomechanical model coupled with an integrative denudation formulation that accounts for fluvial incision and hillslope land-sliding. We study the complex coupling existing between tectonics and erosion, with special emphasis on the influences of rock strength and rainfall distributions. Our results underline the key role played by lithologie variations in the elevation of both rivers and mean topogra-phy. We show that the location of the Main Frontal Thrust is mainly controlied by the low erodability of the unconsolidated sandstone in the Siwaliks Hills. As previously suspected (Burbank et al. 2003), our simulations demonstrate that the pattern of uplift in Nepal is mainly dependent on both erodability and fault geometry, rather than on rainfall distribution.