The quantification of rates for the competing forces of tectonic uplift and erosion has important implications for understanding topographic evolution. Here, we quantify the complex interplay between tectonic uplift, topographic development, and erosion recorded in the hanging walls of several active reverse faults in the Ventura basin, southern California, USA. We use cosmogenic 26Al/10Be isochron burial dating and 10Be surface exposure dating to construct a basin-wide geochronology, which includes burial dating of the Saugus Formation: an important, but poorly dated, regional Quaternary strain marker. Our ages for the top of the exposed Saugus Formation range from 0.36 +0.18/−0.22 Ma to 1.06 +0.23/−0.26 Ma, and our burial ages near the base of shallow marine deposits, which underlie the Saugus Formation, increase eastward from 0.60 +0.05/−0.06 Ma to 3.30 +0.30/−0.41 Ma. Our geochronology is used to calculate rapid long-term reverse fault slip rates of 8.6−12.6 mm yr−1 since ca. 1.0 Ma for the San Cayetano fault and 1.3−3.0 mm yr−1 since ca. 1.0 Ma for the Oak Ridge fault, which are both broadly consistent with contemporary reverse slip rates derived from mechanical models driven by global positioning system (GPS) data. We also calculate terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN)-derived, catchment-averaged erosion rates that range from 0.05−1.14 mm yr−1 and discuss the applicability of TCN-derived, catchment-averaged erosion rates in rapidly uplifting, landslide-prone landscapes. We compare patterns in erosion rates and tectonic rates to fluvial response times and geomorphic landscape parameters to show that in young, rapidly uplifting mountain belts, catchments may attain a quasi-steady-state on timescales of <105 years even if catchment-averaged erosion rates are still adjusting to tectonic forcing.
Tectonic controls on Quaternary landscape evolution in the Ventura basin, southern California, USA, quantified using cosmogenic isotopes and topographic analyses
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A. Hughes, D.H. Rood, D.E. DeVecchio, A.C. Whittaker, R.E. Bell, K.M. Wilcken, L.B. Corbett, P.R. Bierman, B.J. Swanson, T.K. Rockwell; Tectonic controls on Quaternary landscape evolution in the Ventura basin, southern California, USA, quantified using cosmogenic isotopes and topographic analyses. GSA Bulletin 2022; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/B36076.1
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