Planar landforms as markers of denudation chronology: an inversion of East Pyrenean tectonics based on landscape and sedimentary basin analysis
Marc Calvet, Yanni Gunnell, 2008. "Planar landforms as markers of denudation chronology: an inversion of East Pyrenean tectonics based on landscape and sedimentary basin analysis", Landscape Evolution: Denudation, Climate and Tectonics over Different Time and Space Scales, K. Gallagher, S. J. Jones, J. Wainwright
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For over half a century the Pyrenees were considered to be a mountain range in which compressional structures were ancient (pre-Oligocene) but topography was young due to late Neogene tectonic uplift. Sufficient time had been afforded for a ‘peneplain’ to form at low elevations, undergo vertical uplift and remain partially preserved at high elevations until present times. This model of topographic growth has since been challenged by alternative theories. One of these postulates that topography in active orogens is in a steady-state, hence mountain ranges must be monocyclic and their ‘peneplains’ must have formed at high altitudes during continental convergence as a result of raised foreland base levels. Here we investigate Pyrenean denudation chronology using a range of evidence including provenance stratigraphy, the cross-cutting relations between topographic and tectonic features, and the age of regolith based on fossil faunas and floras. We find that the Eastern Pyrenees underwent a punctuated topographic evolution until recent times driven primarily by tectonic forcing, including kilometre-scale rock and surface uplift after 12 Ma. Climatic and eustatic inputs were subsidiary driving mechanisms.
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Landscape Evolution: Denudation, Climate and Tectonics over Different Time and Space Scales
The morphology of Earth’s surface reflects the interaction of climate, tectonics and denudational processes operating over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. These processes can be considered catastrophic or continuous; depending on the timescale of observation or interest. Recent research had required integration of historically distinct subjects such as geomorphology, sedimentology, climatology and tectonics. Together, these have provided new insights into absolute and relative rates of denudation, and the factors that control the many dynamic processes involved. Specific subject areas covered are sediment transport processes and the timescales of competing processes, the role of the geological record and landscapes in constraining different processes, the nature of landscape evolution at different spatial scales and in contrasting geological environments.