Water research at the University of Glasgow

Rivers as agents of landscape evolution

Rivers as agents of landscape evolution

River incision is a slow process driven by interaction between mobile material and the underlying bedrock. The Yangtze River has cut gorges through several mountain ranges, but over geological timescales significant changes in river course have occurred. Dating these changes of course and linking them to the uplift of the surrounding rocks enables landscape history to be determined. This is of significance for our understanding of landscape processes and the development of mountain ranges, but also provides constraints on upscaling modern process rates to much longer timescales. Samples collected from the modern river, its tributaries and terraces of the palaeo-Yangtze are being separated for determinations of ages and erosion rates using (U-Th)/He and cosmogenic nuclide methods, both to be undertaken at SUERC. Analysis of the modern and palaeo valleys of the Yangtze is being used to provide constraints over the timing and rate of river incision. The photos (L-R) show the modern Yangtze at the ‘First Bend’, a nearby confluence of two tributaries, and a terrace deposit form the palaeo-Yangtze River.

Funded By: China Earthquake Administration
Principal Investigator(s): Prof Trevor Hoey
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