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Chronology of sediment accumulation and surface erosion in the western Peruvian Andes in response to climate variations during the Quaternary: cosmogenic nuclide analysis, OSL dating and modelling

English title Chronology of sediment accumulation and surface erosion in the western Peruvian Andes in response to climate variations during the Quaternary: cosmogenic nuclide analysis, OSL dating and modelling
Applicant Schlunegger Fritz
Number 121680
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Geologie Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Geology
Start/End 01.01.2009 - 31.12.2011
Approved amount 598'603.00
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Keywords (6)

Quaternary terraces; climate and surface processes; modelling; OSL dating; cosmogenic nuclides; Peru

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
We will explore the sedimentary and geomorphic response to the current precipitation pattern, and to climate change, in the western escarpment of the Peruvian Andes. In this mountain belt, sediment production on hillslopes by weathering, and sediment transfer by channelized processes are strongly controlled by the pattern of precipitation rates. The seasonal climate related to the easterlies scales production rates of sediment in the headwaters. Episodic rainfall events that are related to the westerlies result in the transfer of sediment from the higher areas of the drainage basin to the Pacific. We have found that orbital changes in the strengths of these wind systems resulted in transient geomorphic features that are present as cut-and-fill terraces. We have seen a strong benefit of using landscape evolution models to explore these field-based results from a conceptual point of view.Research will be carried out by two PhD projects, and one postdoctoral research package. The first PhD project explores the landscape's response to the modern climate, and to climate changes. This will be achieved by exploring the morphometry of the topography, and by measuring denudation rates based on concentrations of river-born cosmogenic nuclides in modern and terrace deposits. The second PhD project focuses on the reconstruction of the sedimentology and petrography of valley fill deposits in a detailed chronological framework. These deposits possibly formed as response of the sediment routing system to climate change. Ages of the valley will be established using the method of optically stimulated luminescence dating. The Postdoctoral project includes the exploration of the drainage basin response to precipitation rates and climate change scenarios from a theoretical point of view. Specifically, we need a conceptual understanding of the timescales of sediment flux through a sediment routing system compared with the scales of climate and climate change in the study basins. This conceptual exploration requires the application of a landscape evolution model calibrated with field-based data. The modelling is technically and scientifically demanding and requires the expertise of a postdoctoral research fellow.The importance of this project lies in the strong interest in understanding the relationship between climate and topography. In particular, it has been recognised that climate plays an important role in modulating fluvial and hillslope erosion rates and imprints the mountain landscape. However, the response of topography to climate and particularly to climate changes is complex and depends on multiple factors such as the magnitude and rate of the change and its effects on sediment production, local storage, and dynamic transport, all of which are strongly scale dependent. Understanding the landscape's response to the magnitudes and timescales of change, reconciling geological process rates with present day short-term rates of change, are fundamental to understanding the topographic evolution of mountain landscapes.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Climatic Forcing on Channel Profiles in the Eastern Cordillera of the Coroico Region, Bolivia
Fritz Schlunegger Kevin Norton Gerold Zeilinger (2011), Climatic Forcing on Channel Profiles in the Eastern Cordillera of the Coroico Region, Bolivia, in Journal of Geology, 119, 97-107.
Cosmogenic isotope burial dating of fluvial sediments from the Lower Rhine Embayment, Germany
A. Dehnert O. Kracht F. Preusser N. Akçar H.A. Kemna P. Kubik C. Schlüchter (2011), Cosmogenic isotope burial dating of fluvial sediments from the Lower Rhine Embayment, Germany, in Quaternary Geochronology, 6, 313-325.
Erosion rates and mechanisms of knickzone retreat inferred from 10Be measured across strong climate gradients on the northern and central Andes Western Escarpment
Luca M. Abbühl Kevin P. Norton John D. Jansen Fritz Schlunegger Ala Aldahan Göran Possnert (2011), Erosion rates and mechanisms of knickzone retreat inferred from 10Be measured across strong climate gradients on the northern and central Andes Western Escarpment, in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 36, 1464-1473.
Migrating deformation in the Central Andes from enhanced orographic rainfall
Kevin Norton Fritz Schlunegger (2011), Migrating deformation in the Central Andes from enhanced orographic rainfall, in Nature Communications, 2, 548-555.
El Niño forcing on 10Be-based surface denudation rates in the northwestern Peruvian Andes?
Luca M. Abbühl Kevin P. Norton Fritz Schlunegger Oliver Kracht Ala Aldahan Göran Possnert (2010), El Niño forcing on 10Be-based surface denudation rates in the northwestern Peruvian Andes?, in Geomorphology, 123, 257-268.
Glacial conditioning as an erosional driving force in the Central Alps
Kevin Norton Luca Abbühl Fritz Schlunegger (2010), Glacial conditioning as an erosional driving force in the Central Alps, in Geology, 38(7), 655-658.
Late Pleistocene fans and terraces in the Majes valley, southern Peru, and their relation to climatic variations
Damian Steffen Fritz Schlunegger Frank Preusser (2010), Late Pleistocene fans and terraces in the Majes valley, southern Peru, and their relation to climatic variations, in International Journal of Earth Sciences, 99, 1975-1989.
Sedimentology-based reconstructions of paleoclimate changes in the Central Andes in response to the uplift of the Andes, Arica region between 19 and 21°S latitude, northern Chile
Fritz Schlunegger Florian Kober Gerold Zeilinger Ruedi von Rotz (2010), Sedimentology-based reconstructions of paleoclimate changes in the Central Andes in response to the uplift of the Andes, Arica region between 19 and 21°S latitude, northern Chile, in International Journal of Earth Sciences, 99, 123-137.
Drainage basin response to climate change in the Pisco valley, Peru
Damian Steffen Fritz Schlunegger Frank Preusser (2009), Drainage basin response to climate change in the Pisco valley, Peru, in Geology, 37(6), 491-494.
OSL quartz age underestimation due to unstable signal components
Damian Steffen Frank Preusser Fritz Schlunegger (2009), OSL quartz age underestimation due to unstable signal components, in Quaternary Geochronology, 4, 353-362.
Exploring  fading  in  single  grain  feldspar  IRSL  measurements  
Trauerstein M. Lowick S.E Preusser F. Rufer D. Schlunegger F., Exploring  fading  in  single  grain  feldspar  IRSL  measurements  , in Quaternary Geochronology.
Hillslope Processes in Temperate Environments
Fritz Schlunegger Kevin Norton Rafael Caduff, Hillslope Processes in Temperate Environments, in Treatise on Geomorphology.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
ETZ Zürich, Dr. Peter Kubik Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dept. Physical Geology and Quat. Geology, Prof. Preusser Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
ETH Zürich, Peter Molnar Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Univ. Bern, Dr. Naki Akçar Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Tandem Laboratory, Uppsala, Prof. Aldahan Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
William and Mary Univ., Prof. G.S. Hancock United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Dr. Oliver Kracht; NGU Norway, former NF Postdoc Norway (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Physikalisches Institut, Univ. Bern, Dr. R. Fischer Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Tandem Laboratory, Uppsala, Dr. Possnert Sweden (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Andes reach for the rain, says geologist Swssinof.ch Italian-speaking Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2011

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
105188 Quaternary accumulation and erosion of sediment in the drainage basins of the western escarpment of the Peruvian Andes: The role of climate variations 01.06.2005 Project funding (Div. I-III)
126784 Quaternary glaciation and environmental history of the Alps: Establishing chronologies for proglacial deposits from northern Switzerland 01.02.2010 Project funding (Div. I-III)
107448 The response of surface processes to variations in climate: cosmogenically-derived erosion rates in the Andes, and numerical models 01.01.2006 Project funding (Div. I-III)
137516 Chronology of surface erosion in the western Peruvian Andes in response to climate variations: Calibration by OSL dating and multiple cosmogenic nuclide analyses 01.01.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)

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