Bedrock incision, rock uplift and threshold hillslopes in the northwestern Himalayas

Douglas W. Burbank, John Leland, Eric Fielding, Robert S. Anderson, Nicholas Brozovic, Mary R. Reid, Christopher Duncan

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Abstract

The topography of tectonically active mountain ranges reflects a poorly understood competition between bedrock uplift and erosion. Dating of abandoned river-cut surfaces in the northwestern Himalayas reveals that the Indus river incises through the bedrock at extremely high rates (2-12 mm yr-1). In the surrounding mountains, the average angles of hillslopes are steep and essentially independent of erosion rate, suggesting control by a common threshold process. In this rapidly deforming region, an equilibrium is maintained between bedrock uplift and river incision, with landsliding allowing hillslopes to adjust efficiently to rapid river down-cutting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-510
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume379
Issue number6565
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 8 1996

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Cite this

Burbank, D. W., Leland, J., Fielding, E., Anderson, R. S., Brozovic, N., Reid, M. R., & Duncan, C. (1996). Bedrock incision, rock uplift and threshold hillslopes in the northwestern Himalayas. Nature, 379(6565), 505-510. https://doi.org/10.1038/379505a0