Climate-driven late Quaternary fan surface abandonment in the NW Himalaya
Published:October 23, 2020
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Elizabeth N. Orr, Lewis A. Owen, Sourav Saha, Marc W. Caffee, 2020. "Climate-driven late Quaternary fan surface abandonment in the NW Himalaya", Untangling the Quaternary Period: A Legacy of Stephen C. Porter, Richard B. Waitt, Glenn D. Thackray, Alan R. Gillespie
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We defined the timing of surface abandonment for 10 alluvial and debris-flow fans across contrasting climatic settings in the NW Himalaya of northern India using cosmogenic 10Be surface exposure dating. Debris-flow fans in the Garhwal, Kullu, and Lahul-Spiti regions of the monsoon-influenced Greater Himalaya were largely abandoned during the Mid- to Late Holocene. Large alluvial fans and smaller debris-flow fans in the semiarid Ladakh region of the Greater and Tethyan Himalaya have surface ages that extend throughout the last glacial. Regional events of landform abandonment and incision were defined for the monsoon-influenced western Himalaya ranges and the semiarid western Himalaya ranges over the past ~120 k.y. In the monsoon-influenced and semiarid western Himalaya ranges, these regional events were limited to the Holocene and from ca. 40 ka, respectively. The timing of fan surface abandonment and regional landform abandonment events coincided with periods of weakening monsoon strength and cooling, and local and regional glacier advances. Regional incision events from the monsoon-influenced and semiarid western Himalaya regions were recognized across various climatic conditions due to the ubiquitous nature of erosion in mountain settings. This study showed that climate-driven processes and glaciation were important drivers in fan sedimentation, catchment sediment flux, and the topographic evolution of the NW Himalaya during the late Quaternary.