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Floodplain evolution in a small, tectonically active basin of northern California

Constantine, José Antonio, Pasternack, Gregory B. and Johnson, Michael L. 2003. Floodplain evolution in a small, tectonically active basin of northern California. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 28 (8) , pp. 869-888. 10.1002/esp.510

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Sediment cores were collected along floodplains in the Navarro River basin of coastal northern California to examine the controls on floodplain evolution in a tectonically active setting. Sedimentary strata were subsampled for organic content, bulk density, and grain size measurements. Organic samples were analysed for 14C age, which yielded net-averaged sedimentation rates for all cores. Overbank deposition rates decreased at all study sites through time and declined in the downstream direction. The ability of intermediary-order streams to store sediment in floodplains decreased the ability of highest-order streams to record sediment-pulse events. The effects of anthropogenic disturbance, primarily logging, on long-term overbank deposition rates were minimal. Climatic variability, by affecting sediment loading in the channel network, is the principal control on floodplain evolution through the Holocene. A hypothetical model is proposed to explain overbank deposition rates in the Navarro basin, which may be extrapolated to the northern-coastal California region during the late Pleistocene and Holocene. The complexities observed in sediment storage and routing in this study imply that caution should be made when extrapolating sediment-yield measurements obtained at river mouths or coastal shelves to geomorphic events within small, tectonically active basins.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Uncontrolled Keywords: overbank deposition; floodplain stratigraphy; climate change; land-use change; Navarro
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0197-9337
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2017 02:50

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