Resistant river basins as recorder of distributed crustal deformation: examples from New Zealand and Lebanon Academic Article uri icon


  • Rivers are useful markers of crustal deformation because they deform together with the rocks over which they flow. For instance, at the scale of individual faults, offset rivers and alluvial fans have been used to reconstruct past slip rates (1), while the basins of major rivers have been utilized to estimate pervasive crustal strain at the continental scale (2). However, river basins have also been claimed to reorganize into similar equilibrium forms (3) independently of the tectonic regime. According to this latter view, river basins cannot serve as reliable markers of deformation since their boundaries adjust dynamically during deformation by processes of capture and divide migration. Here we show that both views are correct under different conditions, as different basins in the same tectonic field may or may not be persistent and record the history of deformation, depending on the relation …

publication date

  • December 1, 2011