Late Glacial and Holocene avulsions of the Rio Pastaza Megafan (Ecuador-Peru): Frequency and controlling factors

Carolina Bernal, Frédéric Christophoul, J. Darrozes, Jean Claude Soula, Patrice Baby, J. Burgos

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

33 Citas (Scopus)


The geomorphological study by means of remote sensing imagery of the Rio Pastaza Megafan (Ecuador and northern Peru) reveals the traces of numerous avulsions. One hundred and eight avulsion sites have been defined. The location of these sites, the available radiocarbon ages as well as historical maps of the seventeenth century, enable us to propose an evolution history of the migration and avulsions of the Rio Pastaza since the Last Glacial Maximum. The first avulsions of the Río Pastaza occurred after the LGM in a zone close to and roughly parallel to the sudandean front, where the developed avulsion gave a distributive pattern to the ancient stream of the Río Pastaza in an area located between the modern Río Morona and Pastaza, where they caused the Rio Pastaza to develop a fan-like distributary pattern. This is interpreted as a response to thrust-related forelimb tilt, progressively shifting eastward the Rio Pastaza and the apex of the megafan. This sequence of events ended with the Great Diversion of the Rio Pastaza towards the modern Rios Corrientes and Tigre. Avulsions occurred in the Tigre-Corrientes Area between 9200 and 8,500 years Cal BP. Afterwards, the Río Pastaza was diverted to its present-day north-south course. This last significant avulsion occurred before AD 1691. In the area located between the modern Río Morona and Pastaza, avulsion frequency-probably overestimated-ranges between 100 and 200 years. In the Ríos Tigre and Corrientes area, avulsion frequency-probably underestimated-ranges from 300 to 400 years. Regional tectonics is likely to have triggered most of the avulsions in the Morona Pastaza area but its influence is restricted to this area. The factors controlling the avulsions in the Tigre-Corrientes area are less clear because the frequently described "hydrologic"-driven avulsion as observed in areas characterized by contrasted hydrologic cycles are inconsistent with the characteristics of the hydrologic cycles of the Rio Pastaza.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)1759-1782
Número de páginas24
PublicaciónInternational Journal of Earth Sciences
EstadoPublicada - oct. 2011
Publicado de forma externa


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