Dating of river terraces along Lefthand Creek, western High Plains, Colorado, reveals punctuated incision

Dating of river terraces along Lefthand Creek, western High Plains, Colorado, reveals punctuated... The response of erosional landscapes to Quaternary climate oscillations is recorded in fluvial terraces whose quantitative interpretation requires numerical ages. We investigate gravel-capped strath terraces along the western edge of Colorado's High Plains to constrain the incision history of this shale-dominated landscape. We use 10Be and 26Al cosmogenic radionuclides (CRNs), optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), and thermally transferred OSL (TT-OSL) to date three strath terraces, all beveled in shale bedrock and then deposited upon by Lefthand Creek, which drains the crystalline core of the Front Range. Our study reveals: (i) a long history (hundreds of thousands of years) of fluvial occupation of the second highest terrace, T2 (Table Mountain), with fluvial abandonment at 92±3ka; (ii) a brief occupation of a narrow and spatially confined terrace, T3, at 98±7ka; and (iii) a 10–25 thousand year period of cutting and fluvial occupation of a lower terrace, T4, marked by the deposition of a lower alluvial unit between 59 and 68ka, followed by deposition of an upper alluvial package at 40±3ka. In conjunction with other recent CRN studies of strath terraces along the Colorado Front Range (Riihimaki et al., 2006; Dühnforth et al., 2012), our data reveal that long periods of lateral planation and fluvial occupation of strath terraces, sometimes lasting several glacial-interglacial cycles, are punctuated by brief episodes of rapid vertical bedrock incision. These data call into question what a singular terrace age represents, as the strath may be cut at one time (its cutting-age) and the terrace surface may be abandoned at a much later time (its abandonment age), and challenge models of strath terraces that appeal to simple pacing by the glacial-interglacial cycles. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Geomorphology Elsevier

Dating of river terraces along Lefthand Creek, western High Plains, Colorado, reveals punctuated incision

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0169-555X
eISSN
1872-695X
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.04.044
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The response of erosional landscapes to Quaternary climate oscillations is recorded in fluvial terraces whose quantitative interpretation requires numerical ages. We investigate gravel-capped strath terraces along the western edge of Colorado's High Plains to constrain the incision history of this shale-dominated landscape. We use 10Be and 26Al cosmogenic radionuclides (CRNs), optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), and thermally transferred OSL (TT-OSL) to date three strath terraces, all beveled in shale bedrock and then deposited upon by Lefthand Creek, which drains the crystalline core of the Front Range. Our study reveals: (i) a long history (hundreds of thousands of years) of fluvial occupation of the second highest terrace, T2 (Table Mountain), with fluvial abandonment at 92±3ka; (ii) a brief occupation of a narrow and spatially confined terrace, T3, at 98±7ka; and (iii) a 10–25 thousand year period of cutting and fluvial occupation of a lower terrace, T4, marked by the deposition of a lower alluvial unit between 59 and 68ka, followed by deposition of an upper alluvial package at 40±3ka. In conjunction with other recent CRN studies of strath terraces along the Colorado Front Range (Riihimaki et al., 2006; Dühnforth et al., 2012), our data reveal that long periods of lateral planation and fluvial occupation of strath terraces, sometimes lasting several glacial-interglacial cycles, are punctuated by brief episodes of rapid vertical bedrock incision. These data call into question what a singular terrace age represents, as the strath may be cut at one time (its cutting-age) and the terrace surface may be abandoned at a much later time (its abandonment age), and challenge models of strath terraces that appeal to simple pacing by the glacial-interglacial cycles.

Journal

GeomorphologyElsevier

Published: Oct 15, 2017

References

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