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Since Plio-Pleistocene time, southward migration of shortening in the eastern part of the Greater Caucasus into the Kura foreland basin has progressively formed the Kura fold–thrust belt and Alazani piggyback basin, which separates the Kura fold–thrust belt from the Greater Caucasus. Previous work argued for an eastward propagation of the Kura fold–thrust belt, but this hypothesis was based on coarse geological maps and speculative ages for units within the Kura fold–thrust belt. Here we investigate the initiation of deformation within the Gombori range in the western Kura fold–thrust belt and evaluate this eastward propagation hypothesis. Sediments exposed in the Gombori range have a Greater Caucasus source, despite the modern drainage network in the NE Gombori range, which is dominated by NE-flowing rivers. Palaeocurrent analyses of the oldest and youngest syntectonic units indicate a switch happened between ~2.7 Ma and 1 Ma from dominantly SW-directed flow to palaeocurrents more similar to the modern drainage network. A single successful 26Al–10Be burial date indicates the youngest syntectonic sediments are 1.0 ± 1.0 Ma, which, while not a precise age, is consistent with original mapping suggesting these sediments are of Akchagylian–Apsheronian (2.7–0.88 Ma) age. These results, along with recent updated dating of thrust initiation in the eastern Kura fold–thrust belt, suggest that deformation within the Kura fold–thrust belt initiated synchronously or nearly synchronously along-strike. We additionally use topographic analyses to show that the Gombori range continues to be a zone of active deformation.
About 5400 cal yr BP, a large landslide formed a > 400-m-tall dam in the upper Marsyandi River, central Nepal. The resulting lacustrine and deltaic deposits stretched > 7 km upstream, reaching a thickness of 120 m. 14C dating of 7 wood fragments reveals that the aggradation and subsequent incision occurred remarkably quickly (∼ 500 yr). Reconstructed volumes of lacustrine (∼ 0.16 km3) and deltaic (∼ 0.09 km3) deposits indicate a bedload-to-suspended load ratio of 1:2, considerably higher than the ≤ 1:10 that is commonly assumed. At the downstream end of the landslide dam, the river incised a new channel through ≥ 70 m of Greater Himalayan gneiss, requiring a minimum bedrock incision rate of 13 mm/yr over last 5400 yr. The majority of incision presumably occurred over a fraction of this time, suggesting much higher rates. The high bedload ratio from such an energetic mountain river is a particularly significant addition to our knowledge of sediment flux in orogenic environments.
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