Heinrich events and tectonic uplift as possible drivers for late Quaternary fluvial dynamics in the western Peruvian Andes

Willem Viveen, Jorge Sanjurjo-Sanchez, Miluska A. Rosas, Veerle Vanacker, Juan Carlos Villegas-Lanza

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4 Citas (Scopus)


Late Quaternary fluvial valley development in Peru is considered to be driven by summer insolation maxima in the precession cycle, which coincide with increased precipitation and rising lake levels in the central Andes. Our literature review, however, indicates that fluvial aggradation does not always coincide with summer insolation maxima but may also occur during transitions between insolation maxima and minima or even during summer insolation minima. Tectonic uplift as a driver of fluvial incision has not been considered in the current terrace formation models, despite the Peruvian margin being located above an active subduction zone. We present new chronologic, stratigraphic and geomorphic data of the Cañete River valley over the past 102 ± 6 ka. We mapped its fluvial terraces (11.5°-13° southern latitude) along a 75-km long reach perpendicular to the strike of the Andes. Five fluvial terraces and one floodplain level were identified with relative elevations of up to 181.1 m above the floodplain. Thirty-three (pIR) IRSL ages of eight fluvial terraces and one alluvial fan sediment sample showed that their ages in part correspond to summer insolation maxima of the precession cycle, but that a better match exists with pluvial periods that coincided with Heinrich events of the northern hemisphere and rising lake levels in the Andes. The chronology of terraces of the Cañete River agrees with those of previously studied fluvial systems between 7° and 16° southern latitude in Peru, suggesting a regional-scale fluvial response possibly to the Heinrich events. Reconstructed longitudinal profiles and terrace ages were utilised to calculate vertical incision rates. We calculated a mean rate of 1.8 ± 0.10 mm a−1 over the last 102 ± 6 ka, but incision rates varied considerably within this time period possibly in response to changes in the Qs: Qw ratio as a consequence of increased sediment input during the wet Heinrich events. A set of 1338 GNSS measurements of daily, vertical crustal deformation of the years 2009–2015 showed a continuous and positive trend in interseismic, accumulative vertical crustal movements with a time-averaged, crustal uplift rate of 1.9 ± 3.6 mm a−1. The positive trend in vertical movements, together with data from literature suggest landscape rejuvenation along the forearc and western Cordillera in central Peru. It is proposed that maximally ∼0.5 mm a−1 of the total incision over the past 102 ka may possibly be related to nonrecoverable, interseismic deformation. Climate change-driven variations in the Qs:Qw ratio are superimposed on the long-term tectonic uplift trend, and both are considered the main drivers of fluvial incision.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo103972
PublicaciónGlobal and Planetary Change
EstadoPublicada - nov. 2022


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