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The Buffalo National River in northwest Arkansas preserves an extensive Quaternary record of fluvial bedrock incision and aggradation across lithologies of variable resistance. In this work, we apply optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating to strath and fill terraces along the Buffalo River to elucidate the role of lithology and climate on the development of the two youngest terrace units (Qtm and Qty). Our OSL ages suggest a minimum strath planation age of ca. 250 ka for the Qtm terraces followed by a ca. 200 ka record of aggradation. Qtm incision likely occurred near the last glacial maximum (LGM), prior to the onset of Qty fill terrace aggradation ca. 14 ka. Our terrace ages are broadly consistent with other regional terrace records, and comparison with available paleoclimatic archives suggests that terrace aggradation and incision occurred during drier and wetter hydrological conditions, respectively. Vertical bedrock incision rates were also calculated using OSL-derived estimates of Qtm strath planation and displayed statistically significant spatial variability with bedrock lithology, ranging from ~35 mm/ka in the higher resistance reaches and ~16 mm/ka in the lower resistance reaches. In combination with observations of valley width and terrace distribution, these results suggest that vertical processes outpace lateral ones in lithologic reaches with higher resistance.
We examine the Holocene loess record in the Heye Catchment on the margins of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and China Loess Plateau (CLP) to determine: the region to which the Heye Catchment climate is more similar; temporal change in wind strength; and modification of the loess record by mass wasting and human activity. Luminescence and radiocarbon dating demonstrate loess deposited in two periods: >11–8.6 ka and <5.1 ka. The 8.6–5.1 ka depositional hiatus, which coincides with the Mid-Holocene Climatic Optimum, is more similar to the loess deposition cessation in the TP than to the loess deposition deceleration in the CLP. Grain-size analysis suggests the Heye loess is a mixture of at least three different grain-size distributions and that it may derive from multiple sources. A greater proportion of coarse sediments in the older loess may indicate stronger winds compared with the more recent depositional period. Gravel incorporated into younger loess most likely comes from bedrock exposed in slump scarps. Human occupation of the catchment, for which the earliest evidence is 3.4 ka, postdates the onset of slumping; thus the slumps may have created a livable environment for humans.
Analysis of patterns of faulting and hydrogeology, stratigraphic and sedimentologic studies, and luminescence dating of aeolian deposits in China Lake basin provide new perspectives on the origins and development of Late Holocene dunes and sand ramps in the seismically active Indian Wells Valley of eastern California. Aeolian dune and sand sheet deposits were sourced from alluvial material derived from granitic rocks of the south-eastern Sierra Nevada and are concentrated in areas with sand-stabilizing phreatophyte vegetation influenced by high groundwater levels along the active oblique-normal Little Lake and Paxton Ranch faults, which locally form barriers to groundwater flow. Three episodes of sand accumulation are recognized (2.1 ± 0.1 to 2.0 ± 0.1 ka, 1.8 ± 0.2 to 1.6 ± 0.2 ka, and 1.2 ± 0.1 to 0.9 ± 0.1 ka) during conditions in which sediment supplied to the basin during periods of enhanced rainfall and runoff was subsequently reworked by wind into dunes and sand ramps at the transition to more arid periods. Understanding the role tectonics plays in influencing the hydrogeology of seismically active lake basins provides insights to accurately interpret landscape evolution and any inferences made on past hydroclimate variability in a region.
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