The exhumation of bedrock is controlled by the interplay between tectonics, surface processes, and climate. The highest exhumation rates of centimeters per year are recorded in zones of highly active tectonic convergence such as the Southern Alps of New Zealand or the Himalayan syntaxes, where high rock uplift rates combine with very active surface processes. Using a combination of different thermochronometric systems including trapped-charge thermochronometry, we show that such rates also occur in the Hida Mountain Range, Japanese Alps. Our results imply that centimeter per year rates of exhumation are more common than previously thought. Our thermochronometry data allow the development of time series of exhumation rate changes at the time scale of glacial-interglacial cycles, which show a fourfold increase in baseline rates to rates of ∼10 mm/yr within the past ∼65 k.y. This increase in exhumation rate is likely explained by knickpoint propagation due to a combination of very high precipitation rates, climatic change, sea-level fall, range-front faulting, and moderate rock uplift. Our data resolve centimeter-scale sub-Quaternary exhumation rate changes, which show that in regions with horizontal convergence, coupling between climate, surface processes, and tectonics can exert a significant and rapid effect on rates of exhumation.

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