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Monsoonal hillslope processes determine grain size-specific suspended sediment fluxes in a trans-Himalayan river

  • Sediments in rivers record the dynamics of erosion processes. While bulk sediment fluxes are easily and routinely obtained, sediment caliber remains underexplored when inferring erosion mechanisms. Yet sediment grain size distributions may be the key to discriminating their origin. We have studied grain size-specific suspended sediment fluxes in the Kali Gandaki, a major trans-Himalayan river. Two strategically located gauging stations enable tracing of sediment caliber on either side of the Himalayan orographic barrier. The data show that fine sediment input into the northern headwaters is persistent, while coarse sediment comes from the High Himalayas during the summer monsoon. A temporally matching landslide inventory similarly indicates the prominence of monsoon-driven hillslope mass wasting. Thus, mechanisms of sediment supply can leave strong traces in the fluvial caliber, which could project well beyond the mountain front and add to the variability of the sedimentary record of orogen erosion.

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Author:Martin Struck, Christoff Andermann, Niels HoviusORCiDGND, Oliver KorupORCiDGND, Jens M. Turowski, Raj Bista, Hari P. Pandit, Ranjan K. Dahal
ISSN:0094-8276 (print)
ISSN:1944-8007 (online)
Parent Title (English):Geophysical research letters
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
Place of publication:Washington
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2015
Year of Completion:2015
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Himalayas; erosion; grain size; landslide; river transport; suspended sediments
First Page:2302
Last Page:2308
Funder:Potsdam Research Cluster for Georisk Analysis, Environmental Change and Sustainability (PROGRESS); German Academic Exchange Service; German Helmholtz Association [PD-039]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert