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Time scale bias in erosion rates of glaciated landscapes

Ganti, Vamsi and von Hagke, Christoph and Scherler, Dirk and Lamb, Michael P. and Fischer, Woodward W. and Avouac, Jean-Philippe (2016) Time scale bias in erosion rates of glaciated landscapes. Science Advances, 2 (10). Art. No. e1600204. ISSN 2375-2548. PMCID PMC5052011. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1600204.

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Deciphering erosion rates over geologic time is fundamental for understanding the interplay between climate, tectonic, and erosional processes. Existing techniques integrate erosion over different time scales, and direct comparison of such rates is routinely done in earth science. On the basis of a global compilation, we show that erosion rate estimates in glaciated landscapes may be affected by a systematic averaging bias that produces higher estimated erosion rates toward the present, which do not reflect straightforward changes in erosion rates through time. This trend can result from a heavy-tailed distribution of erosional hiatuses (that is, time periods where no or relatively slow erosion occurs). We argue that such a distribution can result from the intermittency of erosional processes in glaciated landscapes that are tightly coupled to climate variability from decadal to millennial time scales. In contrast, we find no evidence for a time scale bias in spatially averaged erosion rates of landscapes dominated by river incision. We discuss the implications of our findings in the context of the proposed coupling between climate and tectonics, and interpreting erosion rate estimates with different averaging time scales through geologic time.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Materials CentralArticle
Ganti, Vamsi0000-0003-2165-6052
von Hagke, Christoph0000-0002-4386-5106
Scherler, Dirk0000-0003-3911-2803
Lamb, Michael P.0000-0002-5701-0504
Fischer, Woodward W.0000-0002-8836-3054
Avouac, Jean-Philippe0000-0002-3060-8442
Alternate Title:Timescale dependence of erosion rates in glaciated versus fluvial landscapes
Additional Information:© 2016, The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). Submitted 2 February 2016; Accepted 29 August 2016; Published 5 October 2016. We thank R. DiBiase, I. Larsen, and L. Malatesta for fruitful discussions and K. Whipple, F. Pazzaglia, R. Schumer, J. Braun, and anonymous reviewers for critical comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Funding: We are grateful for financial support from Caltech (California Institute of Technology). Terrestrial Hazard Observation and Reporting Center (made possible by Foster and Coco Stanback) (M.P.L. and W.W.F.) and Tectonics Observatory (to C.v.H. and J.-P.A.) at Caltech provided additional financial support. National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics 2 synthesis postdoctoral program, Imperial College London Junior Research Fellowship (V.G.), and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (D.S.) are acknowledged for additional support. Author contributions: V.G., C.v.H., and D.S. compiled the data. M.P.L., V.G., and C.v.H. conceived this study. V.G. performed all the numerical simulations. V.G. and C.v.H. analyzed the compiled data and wrote the manuscript with input from other authors. All authors contributed to interpretation and discussion of the results. Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests. Data and materials availability: All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in the paper are present in the paper and/or the Supplementary Materials. Additional data related to this paper may be requested from the authors.
Group:Seismological Laboratory, Caltech Tectonics Observatory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Foster and Coco Stanback Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Tectonics ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
National Center for Earth-Surface DynamicsUNSPECIFIED
Imperial College LondonUNSPECIFIED
Alexander von Humboldt FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Erosion, climate variability, power-law, timescale dependence, glaciers, river incision
Issue or Number:10
PubMed Central ID:PMC5052011
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161017-081801040
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:V. Ganti, C. von Hagke, D. Scherler, M. P. Lamb, W. W. Fischer, J.-P. Avouac, Time scale bias in erosion rates of glaciated landscapes. Sci. Adv. 2, e1600204 (2016)
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:71137
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Oct 2016 17:12
Last Modified:14 Apr 2022 17:25

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