Transient sediment supply in a high-altitude Alpine environment evidenced through a 10Be budget of the Etages catchment (French Western Alps)

Delunel, Romain; Van der Beek, Peter A.; Bourlès, Didier L.; Carcaillet, Julien; Schlunegger, Fritz (2014). Transient sediment supply in a high-altitude Alpine environment evidenced through a 10Be budget of the Etages catchment (French Western Alps). Earth surface processes and landforms, 39(7), pp. 890-899. Wiley 10.1002/esp.3494

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Although beryllium-10 (10Be) concentrations in stream sediments provide useful synoptic views of catchment-wide erosion rates, little is known on the relative contributions of different sediment supply mechanisms to the acquisition of their initial signature in the headwaters. Here we address this issue by conducting a 10Be-budget of detrital materials that characterize the morphogenetic domains representative of high-altitude environments of the European Alps. We focus on the Etages catchment, located in the Ecrins-Pelvoux massif (southeast France), and illustrate how in situ 10Be concentrations can be used for tracing the origin of the sand fraction from the bedload in the trunk stream. The landscape of the Etages catchment is characterized by a geomorphic transient state, high topographic gradients, and a large variety of modern geomorphic domains ranging from glacial environments to scarcely vegetated alluvial plains. Beryllium-10 concentrations measured in the Etages catchment vary from similar to 1 x 104 to 4.5 x 105 atoms per gram quartz, while displaying consistent 10Be signatures within each representative morphogenetic unit. We show that the basic requirements for inferring catchment-wide denudation from 10Be concentration measurements are not satisfied in this small, dynamic catchment. However, the distinct 10Be signature observed for the geomorphic domains can be used as a tracer. We suggest that a terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide (TCN) budget approach provides a valuable tool for the tracing of material origin in basins where the let nature do the averaging' principles may be violated.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences > Exogenous Geology

UniBE Contributor:

Delunel, Romain and Schlunegger, Fritz

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

0197-9337

Publisher:

Wiley

Language:

English

Submitter:

Fritz Schlunegger

Date Deposited:

01 May 2015 15:31

Last Modified:

06 Oct 2015 11:28

Publisher DOI:

10.1002/esp.3494

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.67903

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/67903

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