Landscape evolution in active mountain chains can be dominated by gravitational slope movements. This is observed in a large portion of the Reno river catchment, Apennines, Italy, where weak rocks, such as clayshales, are subject to earthflows that control hillslope morphology and supply sediments to the channel network. In this paper, we evaluate the sediment flux generated by earthflows and compare it with Holocene-averaged deposition rates to assess the contribution of mass movements to landscape evolution. Present-day hillslope sediment flux is estimated by combining measured displacement rates (72 inclinometers) and spatial attributes of earthflows and historical frequency of reactivations. Averaged sediment yield (~1.6x103 t/km2/yr) compares well with similar studies on earthflow-dominated landscapes, despite notable differences in methodology. In the study area, the connectivity between hillslopes and the stream network is well developed and no significant sediment sinks influence the sediment transport processes. We document best estimates of regional sediment fluxes and related uncertainties, based on available data. Coarse limestone fragments, present in the clayshales, are used as a natural sediment tracer to allow a comparison with sedimentation rates taking place at the mouth of the intramontane catchment. Here, available borehole logs, 14C datings and stratigraphic correlations of the alluvial fan are used to obtain an estimate of the deposition that took place during Holocene times. Taking also into account the role of solute transport, sedimentation rates are compared to earthflow sediment production rates. Results show a good agreement and demonstrate that earthflows are the primary mass wasting process in these weak rock lithologies. We document best estimates of regional sediment fluxes and related uncertainties. Present earthflow sediment production outpaces Holocene-averaged sedimentation rates by a factor of two. The gap between sediment production and deposition can be partly justified by uncertainties associated with our estimates and by time-scale differences. With this respect, the dynamic equilibrium between erosion and deposition, is likely affected by intra-Holocene oscillations at a short time scale (10 to 1 ky) attributable to climate variability. Terraced deposits documenting sedimentary episodes would also support such interpretation.

Earthflow sediment production and Holocene sediment record in a large Apennine catchment

SIMONI, ALESSANDRO;PONZA, ALESSIO;PICOTTI, VINCENZO;BERTI, MATTEO;DINELLI, ENRICO
2013

Abstract

Landscape evolution in active mountain chains can be dominated by gravitational slope movements. This is observed in a large portion of the Reno river catchment, Apennines, Italy, where weak rocks, such as clayshales, are subject to earthflows that control hillslope morphology and supply sediments to the channel network. In this paper, we evaluate the sediment flux generated by earthflows and compare it with Holocene-averaged deposition rates to assess the contribution of mass movements to landscape evolution. Present-day hillslope sediment flux is estimated by combining measured displacement rates (72 inclinometers) and spatial attributes of earthflows and historical frequency of reactivations. Averaged sediment yield (~1.6x103 t/km2/yr) compares well with similar studies on earthflow-dominated landscapes, despite notable differences in methodology. In the study area, the connectivity between hillslopes and the stream network is well developed and no significant sediment sinks influence the sediment transport processes. We document best estimates of regional sediment fluxes and related uncertainties, based on available data. Coarse limestone fragments, present in the clayshales, are used as a natural sediment tracer to allow a comparison with sedimentation rates taking place at the mouth of the intramontane catchment. Here, available borehole logs, 14C datings and stratigraphic correlations of the alluvial fan are used to obtain an estimate of the deposition that took place during Holocene times. Taking also into account the role of solute transport, sedimentation rates are compared to earthflow sediment production rates. Results show a good agreement and demonstrate that earthflows are the primary mass wasting process in these weak rock lithologies. We document best estimates of regional sediment fluxes and related uncertainties. Present earthflow sediment production outpaces Holocene-averaged sedimentation rates by a factor of two. The gap between sediment production and deposition can be partly justified by uncertainties associated with our estimates and by time-scale differences. With this respect, the dynamic equilibrium between erosion and deposition, is likely affected by intra-Holocene oscillations at a short time scale (10 to 1 ky) attributable to climate variability. Terraced deposits documenting sedimentary episodes would also support such interpretation.
Simoni A.; Ponza A.; Picotti V.; Berti M.; Dinelli E.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/134571
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