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    Modeling fluvial incision and transient landscape evolution: influence of dynamic channel adjustment

    Attal, M. and Tucker, G.E. and Whittaker, A.C. and Cowie, P.A. and Roberts, Gerald P. (2008) Modeling fluvial incision and transient landscape evolution: influence of dynamic channel adjustment. Journal of Geophysical research - Earth Surface 113 , ISSN 0148-0227.

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    Channel geometry exerts a fundamental control on fluvial processes. Recent work has shown that bedrock channel width depends on a number of parameters, including channel slope, and is not solely a function of drainage area as is commonly assumed. The present work represents the first attempt to investigate the consequences of dynamic, gradient-sensitive channel adjustment for drainage-basin evolution. We use the Channel-Hillslope Integrated Landscape Development (CHILD) model to analyze the response of a catchment to a given tectonic perturbation, using, as a template, the topography of a well-documented catchment in the footwall of an active normal fault in the Apennines (Italy) that is known to be undergoing a transient response to tectonic forcing. We show that the observed transient response can be reproduced to first order with a simple detachment-limited fluvial incision law. Transient landscape is characterized by gentler gradients and a shorter response time when dynamic channel adjustment is allowed. The differences in predicted channel geometry between the static case (width dependent solely on upstream area) and dynamic case (width dependent on both drainage area and channel slope) lead to contrasting landscape morphologies when integrated at the scale of a whole catchment, particularly in presence of strong tilting and/or pronounced slip-rate acceleration. Our results emphasize the importance of channel width in controlling fluvial processes and landscape evolution. They stress the need for using a dynamic hydraulic scaling law when modeling landscape evolution, particularly when the relative uplift field is nonuniform.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Natural Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2011 10:36
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:51


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