Temporal variability in detrital ¹⁰Be concentrations in a large Himalayan catchment

Dingle, E. H., Sinclair, H. D., Attal, M., Rodés, Á. and Singh, V. (2018) Temporal variability in detrital ¹⁰Be concentrations in a large Himalayan catchment. Earth Surface Dynamics, 6(3), pp. 611-635. (doi: 10.5194/esurf-6-611-2018)

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Accurately quantifying sediment fluxes in large rivers draining tectonically active landscapes is complicated by the stochastic nature of sediment inputs. Cosmogenic ¹⁰Be concentrations measured in modern river sands have been used to estimate 102- to 104-year sediment fluxes in these types of catchments, where upstream drainage areas are often in excess of 10000km2. It is commonly assumed that within large catchments, the effects of stochastic sediment inputs are buffered such that ¹⁰Be concentrations at the catchment outlet are relatively stable in time. We present 18 new ¹⁰Be concentrations of modern river and dated Holocene terrace and floodplain deposits from the Ganga River near to the Himalayan mountain front (or outlet). We demonstrate that ¹⁰Be concentrations measured in modern Ganga River sediments display a notable degree of variability, with concentrations ranging between  ∼ 9000 and 19000atomsg−1. We propose that this observed variability is driven by two factors. Firstly, by the nature of stochastic inputs of sediment (e.g. the dominant erosional process, surface production rates, depth of landsliding, degree of mixing) and, secondly, by the evacuation timescale of individual sediment deposits which buffer their impact on catchment-averaged concentrations. Despite intensification of the Indian Summer Monsoon and subsequent doubling of sediment delivery to the Bay of Bengal between  ∼ 11 and 7ka, we also find that Holocene sediment ¹⁰Be concentrations documented at the Ganga outlet have remained within the variability of modern river concentrations. We demonstrate that, in certain systems, sediment flux cannot be simply approximated by converting detrital concentration into mean erosion rates and multiplying by catchment area as it is possible to generate larger volumetric sediment fluxes whilst maintaining comparable average ¹⁰Be concentrations.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Elizabeth H. Dingle is funded under a NERC PhD Studentship (NE/L501566/1), and 10Be analysis was undertaken at the SUERC CIAF (under grant application 9150.1014).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rodes, Dr Angel
Authors: Dingle, E. H., Sinclair, H. D., Attal, M., Rodés, Á., and Singh, V.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Earth Surface Dynamics
Publisher:European Geosciences Union
ISSN (Online):2196-632X
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Earth Surface Dynamics 6(3): 611-635
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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