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Tectonic and climatic controls on Quaternary fluvial processes and river terrace formation in a Mediterranean setting, the Göksu River, southern Turkey

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 April 2019

Nurcan Avşin*
Department of Geography, Yüzüncü Yıl University, 65000 Van, Turkey
Jef Vandenberghe
Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Ronald van Balen
TNO–Geological Survey of the Netherlands, 2595 Utrecht, The Netherlands
Nafiye Güneç Kıyak
Department of Energy Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Beykent University, 34398 Istanbul, Turkey
Tuğba Öztürk
Department of Physics, Faculty of Science and Arts, Isik University, 34980 Istanbul, Turkey
*Corresponding author e-mail address:


Climate and tectonics effect the fluvial evolution of the Mediterranean Mut basin. The basin contains a river terrace staircase of 16 levels (T16–T1) ranging from 365 to 10 m above the current Göksu River in its middle and lower sections. These river terraces records tectonic uplift in the Mut basin. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of the fluvial sediments of the youngest terrace (T16) provides a chronology for the assessment of the important impacts of climatic changes. The ages from the youngest river terrace deposits in T16 may be subdivided into two intervals: (1) 239–194.7 ka during the later part of Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage (MIS) 7, implying that the aggradation of T16 started in (the final phase of) this warm period; and (2) 187.9–171 ka during much of MIS 6. Thus, it appears that the Göksu River continued depositing sediment from an interglacial into a glacial time. The differences in climate-driven fluvial evolution between this Mediterranean fluvial system and the classical, well-studied temperate–periglacial river systems in Europe may be the result of different vegetation cover and greater thaw of more intense snowfalls.

Thematic Set: Fluvial Archives Group (FLAG) Poland
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2019 

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