Abstract

In the debate on the causes of uplift and landscape evolution of the Alps, most studies focus on regions that were glaciated at some stage during the last 2 m.y. In these areas, it is difficult to separate glacial-driven versus tectonically driven rates of erosion. Here, we present 10Be-derived erosion rates from unglaciated catchments in the Koralpe range at the eastern end of the Alps. This region features strong geomorphologic evidence for landscape transience with young valleys incised into a smooth relict landscape. Erosion rates average 49 ± 8 mm/k.y. for catchments located on the relict landscape and 137 ± 15 mm/k.y. for catchments in the incised landscape. From these data, we estimate the onset of incision at 4 ± 1 Ma, the surface uplift at 350 ± 90 m, and a total relative base-level fall of 540 ± 140 m. Our results are in close agreement with both the magnitude and the age of onset of uplift of the Styrian Basin and the northern Molasse Basin, as well as the incision rate of the Mur River into the Styrian karst. The inferred timing of the onset of uplift around 4 Ma relates to interpreted basin inversion in the Pannonian Basin. Since this uplift event appears to have involved both the Pannonian Basin and the entire eastern end of the Alpine mountain range, we suggest that it may have occurred in response to a deep-seated process in the lithosphere. As such, we argue for tectonic drivers for the post-Miocene uplift in the eastern Alps.

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