The pattern of rainfall in the Washington Cascades strongly affects long-term erosion rates in the mountain range and may cause bedrock to be pulled up towards the Earths surface faster in some places than others, according to a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded study published in this weeks issue of the journal Nature. The results are the first convincing evidence of such effects, on mountain-range scales.
"The data strongly suggest that precipitation controls erosion rates across the Cascades, and that the regional climate may also exert a strong control on the distribution and scale of tectonic rock uplift and deformation of the range," said Peter Reiners, lead author of the study and a geologist at Yale University.
"Geologists usually think of erosion wearing away mountains," says David Fountain, program director in NSFs division of earth sciences, which funded the research. "These results, however, show us that erosion can be an important player in uplift of mountain ranges, especially in mountainous regions that receive heavy precipitation."
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