Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rainfall controls cascade mountains’ erosion and bedrock uplift patters

11.12.2003


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 Earth’s surface faster in some places than others, according to a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded study published in this week’s 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 NSF’s 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."


Using a dating method that determines when and how fast erosion brings bedrock toward the surface of the Earth, Reiners and his co-researchers found evidence to support long-standing theories about the interplay of climate, erosion and tectonics.

"People have thought the scale and pattern of rock uplift is mostly controlled by deep, plate-tectonic forces," he said. "Based on our findings, the pattern of bedrock uplift is closely tied to climate through erosion."

Rainfall is heavy in parts of the Pacific Northwest because mountains in the region cast enormous rain shadows. Moist air moving east from the Pacific rises and cools as it encounters the ranges, dumping large amounts of rain and snow on the west side of the Cascades, where it rains about 10 times more than in most places in Washington. The east sides and the summits are relatively dry.

Co-authors of the paper include Todd Ehlers of the University of Michigan and Sara Mitchell and David Montgomery of the University of Washington.

Media Contacts:
NSF: Cheryl Dybas, 703-292-7734, cdybas@nsf.gov
Yale University: Jacqueline Weaver, 203-432-8555, jacqueline.weaver@yale.edu
NSF Program Contact: David Fountain, dfountai@nsf.gov

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5 billion. National Science Foundation funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 30,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 10,000 new funding awards. The National Science Foundation also awards over $200 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Receive official National Science Foundation news electronically through the e-mail delivery system, NSFnews. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to join-nsfnews@lists.nsf.gov In the body of the message, type "subscribe nsfnews" and then type your name. (Ex.: "subscribe nsfnews John Smith")

Cheryl Dybas | National Science Foundation
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov
http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht A close-up look at an uncommon underwater eruption
11.01.2018 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

nachricht Environmental history told by sludge: Global warming lets the dead zones in the Black Sea grow
10.01.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Breaking bad metals with neutrons

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

ISFH-CalTeC is “designated test centre” for the confirmation of solar cell world records

16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>