Long-term glacial erosion of active mountain belts: Example of the Chugach- St. Elias Range, Alaska

James A. Spotila, Jamie T. Buscher, Andrew J. Meigs, Peter W. Reiners

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

120 Scopus citations

Abstract

An emerging paradigm that equates glaciers to "buzz saws" of exceptional erosional efficiency has been strengthened by short-term (<102 yr) sediment yields from southern Alaska. New low-temperature cooling ages from this area, the glaciated Chugach-St. Elias Mountains, constrain long-term (106 yr) exhumation rates. Vertically averaged exhumation rates reach ∼3 mm/yr, but are an order of magnitude lower than rates based on short-term sediment yields. Whereas these exhumation rates are not exceptional for orogenic belts, denudation patterns are strongly correlated with the distribution of glaciers, and erosion appears to keep pace with convergence and uplift. These findings imply a coupling between glacially dominated erosion and tectonics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-504
Number of pages4
JournalGeology
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • (U-Th)/He-dating
  • Denudation
  • Glacial erosion
  • Mountain building
  • Southeast Alaska
  • Tectonics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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