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Isolating lithologic versus tectonic signals of river profiles to test orogenic models for the Eastern and Southeastern Carpathians
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  • Boris Gailleton,
  • Hugh Denny Sinclair,
  • Simon Marius Mudd,
  • Emma L. Graf,
  • Liviu Matenco
Boris Gailleton
GFZ Potsdam

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Hugh Denny Sinclair
University of Edinburgh
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Simon Marius Mudd
University of Edinburgh
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Emma L. Graf
University of Edinburgh
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Liviu Matenco
Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University
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Fluvial morphology is affected by a wide range of forcing factors, which can be external, such as faulting and changes in climate, or internal, such as variations in rock hardness or degree of fracturing. It is a challenge to separate internal and external forcing factors when they are co-located or occur coevally. Failure to account for both factors leads to potential misinterpretations. For example, steepening of a channel network due to lithologic contrasts could be misinterpreted as a function of increased tectonic displacements. These misinterpretations are enhanced over large areas, where landscape properties needed to calculate channel steepness (\textit{e.g.} channel concavity) can vary significantly in space. In this study, we investigate relative channel steepness over the Eastern Carpathians, where it has been proposed that active rock uplift in the Southeastern Carpathians gives way N- and NW-wards to ca. 8 Myrs of post-orogenic quiescence. We develop a technique to quantify relative channel steepness based on a wide range of concavities, and show that the main signal shows an increase in channel steepness from east to west across the range. Rock hardness measurements and geological studies suggest this difference is driven by lithology. When we isolate channel steepness by lithology to test for ongoing rock uplift along the range, we find steeper channels in the south of the study area compared to the same units in the North. This supports interpretations from longer timescale geological data that active rock uplift is fastest in the southern Southeastern Carpathians.
Aug 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface volume 126 issue 8. 10.1029/2020JF005970