10Be erosion rates controlled by transient response to normal faulting through incision and landsliding

Duna C. Roda-Boluda*, Mitch D'Arcy, Alexander C. Whittaker, Delia M. Gheorghiu, Ángel Rodés

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Quantifying erosion rates, and how they compare to rock uplift rates, is fundamental for understanding landscape response to tectonics and associated sediment fluxes from upland areas. The erosional response to uplift is well-represented by river incision and the associated landslide activity. However, characterising the relationship between these processes remains a major challenge in tectonically active areas, in some cases because landslides can preclude obtaining reliable erosion rates from cosmogenic radionuclide (CRN) concentrations. Here, we quantify the control of tectonics and its coupled geomorphic response on the erosion rates of catchments in southern Italy that are experiencing a transient response to normal faulting. We analyse in-situ 10Be concentrations for detrital sediment samples, collected along the strike of faults with excellent tectonic constraints and landslide inventories. We demonstrate that 10Be-derived erosion rates are controlled by fault throw rates and the extent of transient incision and associated landsliding in the catchments. We show that the low-relief sub-catchments above knickpoints erode at uniform background rates of ∼0.10 mm/yr, while downstream of knickpoints, erosion removes ∼50% of the rock uplifted by the faults, at rates of 0.10–0.64 mm/yr. Despite widespread landsliding, CRN samples provide relatively consistent and accurate erosion rates, most likely because landslides are frequent, small, and shallow, and represent the integrated record of landsliding over several seismic cycles. Consequently, we combine these validated 10Be erosion rates and data from a geomorphological landslide inventory in a published numerical model, to gain further insight into the long-term landslide rates and sediment mixing, highlighting the potential of CRN data to study landslide dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-153
Number of pages14
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • cosmogenic nuclides
  • erosion rates
  • incision
  • landslides
  • normal faults
  • transient response


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