River basins as dynamic markers of crustal deformation Conference Paper uri icon


  • River channels and drainage basins are textbook examples of geomorphic features that can be used as indicators of tectonic deformation. Although examples of fault-offset rivers abound and have been widely used to quantify tectonic deformation, the use of entire river basins as markers of large-scale deformation remains controversial, primarily because rivers are not passive features of the Earth's surface, but are dynamic entities capable of independent lateral incision, or discrete jumps as river capture reorganizes river networks. Through the study of river basins in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, we find that passively deformed and dynamically reorganized river basins co-exist in the same mountain range with some river basins resisting reorganization and thus documenting deformation over geological time scales (10Myr). Other river basins evolve, but the reorganization …

publication date

  • April 1, 2012