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Tectonically Active Landscapes

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9012-1
320 pages
April 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Tectonically Active Landscapes (1405190124) cover image


This book explores how mountainous landscapes respond to tectonic deformation. It integrates previously unpublished concepts and ideas with recent articles about hills and streams. Readers will learn which landforms change quickly in response to uplift, which parts of the landscape are slowest to adjust to tectonic perturbations, and which landform characteristics are most useful for describing tectonically active and inactive terrains.

Study areas include diverse landscapes and tectonic settings: seacoasts, soil-mantled hills, and lofty mountains. The humid Southern Alps of New Zealand change quickly because of rapid uplift and erosion. The semiarid Panamint Range of southeastern California has such miniscule annual stream power that tectonic landforms persist for millions of years.

Tectonically Active Landscapes addresses diverse key topics about tectonics and topography. It is essential reading for research geologists and advance-level undergraduate and graduate students in the earth sciences.

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Table of Contents

Preface x


1 Study Regions.

1.1 Introduction 2

1.2 North America-Pacific Plate Boundary 4

1.2.1 Walker Lane-Eastern California Shear Zone 4 Panamint Range 7

1.2.2 Sierra Nevada 8

1.2.3 Diablo Range 12

1.2.4 Mendocino Triple Junction 14

1.3 Australia-Pacific Plate Boundary 16

1 4 India-Asia Plates Collision 20

1 5 Aegean Transtension 21


2 Drainage Basins.

2.1 Hydraulic Coordinates 26

2.2 Basin Shapes 27

2.2.1 Panamint Range Watersheds 27

2.3 Divide Migration and Stream Capture 30

2.3.1 Stream Capture and Changing Geomorphic Processes 30

2.3.2 Drainage-Basin Evolution in a Fold and Thrust Belt 39 Wrench-Fault Tectonics 39 Mt. Diablo Fold and Thrust Belt 40

2.4 Tectonically Translocated Watersheds 43

3 Hillslopes.

3.1 Hillslope Model Boundaries 49

3.2 Late Quaternary Tectonic Deformation of the Diablo Range Study Area 50

3.3 Sediment Flux and Denudation Rates 56

3.4 Ridgecrests 57

3.4.1 California Coast Ranges 57

3.4.2 Badlands 61

3.5 Canyonlands 62

3.5.1 The Loop of the San Juan River 64 Footslopes 69

3.6. Cross-Valley Shapes 72

3.6.1 Lithologic Controls 72

3.6.2 Tectonic Controls 74

3.7 Tectonic Signatures in Hillslopes 77

4 Tectonic Controls on Hillslope Denudation.

4.1 Sediment Yield 85

4.1.1 Influences of Rock Uplift 85

4.1.2 Lithologic Controls 89

4.2. Mass Movements 90

4.2.1 Rain, Ground-Water Levels, and Landslide Thresholds 91 Ground-Water-Induced Stresses in Hillslopes 91 Rain and Hillslope Stability 96

4.2.2 Landslides of Tectonically Active Regions 102


5 A Debate About Steady State.

5.1 A Century of Conceptual Models 113

5.2 Hillslope Degradation 119

5.3 Erosion of Mountain Ranges 123

5.3.1 Southern Alps 123

5.4.2 Sierra Nevada and Appalachian Mountains 128

5.4 Non-Steady State Erosion of Tectonically Active and Inactive Fluvial Systems 131

6 Influences of Erosion on Tectonic Deformation and Fault Propagation.

6.1 Exfoliation 134

6.2 Ridgecrest Spreading 134

6.3 Erosional Controls of Fault Zone Partitioning 139

6.4 Consequences of Erosion Induced by Long-Term Plate Collision 141

6.5 Fault Propagation 150

6.5.1 Normal Faulting 151 Nevada Basin and Range Province 151 Greece 152

6.5.2 Thrust Faulting 156 New Zealand 156 California 166

7 Tectonic Geomorphology of a Plate Boundary.

7.1 Walker Lane-Eastern California Shear Zone 177

7.1.1 Panamint Range 182

7.2 Sierra Nevada Microplate 188

7.2.1 Present Topography 188

7.2.2 Geomorphic Responses to an Uplift Event 189

7.3 Mendocino Triple Junction 203

7.3.1 Marine Terraces 203

7.3.2 Stream Channels 212 Independent Variables for Coastal Fluvial Systems 212 Fluvial System Responses to a Shifting Plate Boundary 215

References Cited 227


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Author Information

William B. Bull is an applied geologist educated at Colorado and Stanford Universities. He worked 12 years for the U.S. Geological Survey as an engineering geologist and groundwater hydrologist and then changed career goals by moving to the University of Arizona where he taught geomorphology for 28 years. He continues to study how the hills and streams of mountain ranges respond to uplift and global climate changes of the past million years.
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"I recommend this book to anyone working in the field of seismic hazards assessment, to tectonics researchers, and to students of tectonics." (Environmental & Engineering Geoscience, 3 August 2011)

"One of the appealing aspects of the book is that Bull uses a limited suite of landscapes with an array of climatic, lithologic and tectonic characteristics to highlight case studies. . . This work is well-suited for use as an upper level undergraduate textbook or as a resource for graduate students." (Geological Magazine, 2010)

"Drawing on over 40 years of experience, this is the second geomorphology and neotectonics textbook that Bull has written in the last three years. Both books are well written and have a highly personal style." (Geological Magazine, 2010)

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