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Planar landforms as markers of denudation chronology: an inversion of East Pyrenean tectonics based on landscape and sedimentary basin analysis

By
Marc Calvet
Marc Calvet
1
Department of Geography
,
Médi-Terra, Université de Perpignan
,
France
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Yanni Gunnell
Yanni Gunnell
2
Department of Geography, UUMR 8591 CNRS
,
France
(e-mail: gunnell@univ-paris-diderot.fr)
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Published:
January 01, 2008

Abstract

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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Contents

Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Landscape Evolution: Denudation, Climate and Tectonics over Different Time and Space Scales

K. Gallagher
K. Gallagher
Université de Rennes
,
France
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S. J. Jones
S. J. Jones
University of Durham
,
UK
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J. Wainwright
J. Wainwright
University of Sheffield
,
UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
296
ISBN electronic:
9781862395442
Publication date:
January 01, 2008

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