The geomorphic expression of two fluvial systems, the Rio de Aguas and the Rambla de los Feos, in southeast Spain reflects their adjustment to differential epeirogenic uplift and local tectonic activity during the Quaternary. Regional uplift of a depositional marine surface resulted in the development of a southward-flowing drainage network during late Pliocene–early Pleistocene time. Disruption of this consequent drainage began as the Alhamilla-Cabrera Sierras and the Sorbas basin were differentially uplifted relative to the surrounding basins. The ancestral Feos drainage responded by incision across the uplift through a combination of superimposition and antecedence. Differential uplift of the Sorbas basin enhanced headward erosion of strike-oriented drainages and promoted capture of the ancestral Feos drainage by the Rio de Aguas during the late Pleistocene. Stratigraphic relations and soil development indicate that epeirogenic uplift and local tectonics, together with climatic fluctuations, have influenced the development of the drainage systems throughout the Quaternary.

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