3 years ago

Exhumation and topographic evolution of the Namche Barwa Syntaxis, eastern Himalaya

The Namche Barwa Syntaxis, as one of the most tectonically active regions, remains an appropriate place to explore the relationship between tectonics, surface processes, and landscape evolution. Two leading models have been proposed for the formation and evolution of this syntaxis, including the tectonic aneurysm model and the syntaxis expansion model. Here we use a multi-disciplinary approach based on low-temperature thermochronometry, numerical modeling, river profile and topographic analyses to investigate the interactions between tectonics, erosion, and landscape evolution and to test these models. Our results emphasize the presence of young cooling ages (i.e., <1Ma) along the Parlung River, to the north of the syntaxis. Using numerical modeling we argue that a recent increase in exhumation rate is required to expose these young ages. Our river analysis reveals spatial variations in channel steepness, which we interpret to reflect the rock uplift pattern. By establishing the relationship between erosion rates and topographic features, we find that erosion rates are poorly to weakly correlated with topographic features, suggesting that the landscape is still evolving. Altogether, these results seem better explained by a mechanism that involves a northward expansion of the syntaxis, which causes high rock uplift rates to the north of the syntaxis and a transient state of topography adjusting to an evolving tectonic setting.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0040195117304511

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