Lithological control on topographic relief evolution in a slow tectonic setting (Anti-Atlas, Morocco) - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Earth and Planetary Science Letters Year : 2022

Lithological control on topographic relief evolution in a slow tectonic setting (Anti-Atlas, Morocco)


Topographic relief results from the complex interactions between tectonics and erosional surface processes, which are primarily mediated by bedrock erodibility and climatic conditions. Ancient orogens offer a favourable setting to isolate the contribution of lithology, as tectonically driven rock uplift is typically negligible and rock strength variability can exert a critical role on the evolution of the topography. The Anti-Atlas in NW Africa is a late Paleozoic orogen comprising a well-preserved, elevated, relict landscape delimited by non-lithological knickpoints, that was uplifted during a regional late Cenozoic phase of topographic rejuvenation. Here, we combine a geomorphic analysis with 10Be-derived denudation rates to quantify bedrock erodibility and get insight into the surface evolution of the Anti-Atlas and the adjacent Siroua Massif. Specifically, we show that 10Be basin-wide denudation rates for the relict landscape are rather uniform and range from 5 to 12 m/Myr. These rates agree with long-term rates estimated from different methods suggesting that the relict topography archives erosional quasi-erosional steady-state conditions at least since the latest Cretaceous. The uniformly low 10Be denudation rates in the relict topography are consistent despite the variability in channel steepness and topographic relief that correlates with changes in rock type. The expansion of this analysis to the denudation rates of the downstream portion of the landscape, allows to demonstrate a linear relationship between denudation and channel steepness for catchments draining quartz bearing lithologies. This provides the chance to constrain a narrow range of bedrock erodibility values for different rock-types (quartzite, granitic and sedimentary rocks). These values are comparable with estimates from other slowly deforming settings. Specifically, our compilation from tectonically inactive to slow tectonic regions indicates that bedrock erodibility does not change significantly across different climatic zones and precipitation regimes. This highlights the critical role of lithology in controlling the production of topographic relief in post-orogenic/slow tectonic settings. Finally, we calculate the predicted denudation rates for the steeper portions of the landscape that adjusted to the new uplift rates based on the linear correlation between erosion rates and normalized steepness indices. These rates range from 20 to 50 m/Myr and agree with the direct measurements from two catchments.
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insu-03824748 , version 1 (21-10-2022)



Romano Clementucci, Paolo Ballato, Lionel Siame, Claudio Faccenna, Ahmed Yaaqoub, et al.. Lithological control on topographic relief evolution in a slow tectonic setting (Anti-Atlas, Morocco). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2022, 596, ⟨10.1016/j.epsl.2022.117788⟩. ⟨insu-03824748⟩
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