Pace of Landscape Change and Pediment Development in the Northeastern Sonoran Desert, United States

Phillip H. Larson, Scott B. Kelley, Ronald Dorn, Yeong Bae Seong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Pediments of the Sonoran Desert in the United States have intrigued physical geographers and geomorphologists for nearly a century. These gently sloping bedrock landforms are a staple of the desert landscape that millions visit each year. Despite the long-lived scientific curiosity, an understanding of the processes operating on the pediment has remained elusive. In this study we revisit the extensive history of pediment research. We then apply geospatial, field, and laboratory cosmogenic 10Be nuclide dating and back-scattered electron microscopy methods to assess the pace and processes of landscape change on pediment systems abutting the Salt River in Arizona. Our study focuses on the Usery pediments linked to base-level fluctuations (river terraces) of the Salt River. Relict pediment surfaces were reconstructed with dGPS data and kriging methodologies utilized in ArcGIS—based on preserved evidence of ancient pediment surfaces. 10Be ages of Salt River terraces established a chronology of incision events, where calculating the volume between the reconstructed relict pediment and modern surface topography established minimum erosion rates (∼41 mm/ka to ∼415 mm/ka). Pediment area and length appear to have a positive correlation to erosion rate and development of planar pediment surfaces. Field and laboratory observations reveal that pediment systems adjust and stabilize at each Salt River terrace. Relief reduction across the pediment begins with pediment channel incision via headward erosion. Next, tributary drainage capture begins and collapses interfluves. Lateral stream erosion promotes planation where the porosity of decayed granite along channel banks exceeds the bedrock underneath ephemeral channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1195-1216
Number of pages22
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Volume106
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Fingerprint

pediment
landscape change
desert
river
erosion
river terrace
salt
fluctuation
bank
erosion rate
geography
bedrock
event
methodology
history
planation
evidence
electron microscopy
kriging
landform

Keywords

  • base level
  • desert geomorphology
  • landscape evolution
  • surface reconstruction
  • weathering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

Pace of Landscape Change and Pediment Development in the Northeastern Sonoran Desert, United States. / Larson, Phillip H.; Kelley, Scott B.; Dorn, Ronald; Seong, Yeong Bae.

In: Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Vol. 106, No. 6, 01.11.2016, p. 1195-1216.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{c378a7427adc42c6a286a26da691b2b1,
title = "Pace of Landscape Change and Pediment Development in the Northeastern Sonoran Desert, United States",
abstract = "Pediments of the Sonoran Desert in the United States have intrigued physical geographers and geomorphologists for nearly a century. These gently sloping bedrock landforms are a staple of the desert landscape that millions visit each year. Despite the long-lived scientific curiosity, an understanding of the processes operating on the pediment has remained elusive. In this study we revisit the extensive history of pediment research. We then apply geospatial, field, and laboratory cosmogenic 10Be nuclide dating and back-scattered electron microscopy methods to assess the pace and processes of landscape change on pediment systems abutting the Salt River in Arizona. Our study focuses on the Usery pediments linked to base-level fluctuations (river terraces) of the Salt River. Relict pediment surfaces were reconstructed with dGPS data and kriging methodologies utilized in ArcGIS—based on preserved evidence of ancient pediment surfaces. 10Be ages of Salt River terraces established a chronology of incision events, where calculating the volume between the reconstructed relict pediment and modern surface topography established minimum erosion rates (∼41 mm/ka to ∼415 mm/ka). Pediment area and length appear to have a positive correlation to erosion rate and development of planar pediment surfaces. Field and laboratory observations reveal that pediment systems adjust and stabilize at each Salt River terrace. Relief reduction across the pediment begins with pediment channel incision via headward erosion. Next, tributary drainage capture begins and collapses interfluves. Lateral stream erosion promotes planation where the porosity of decayed granite along channel banks exceeds the bedrock underneath ephemeral channels.",
keywords = "base level, desert geomorphology, landscape evolution, surface reconstruction, weathering",
author = "Larson, {Phillip H.} and Kelley, {Scott B.} and Ronald Dorn and Seong, {Yeong Bae}",
year = "2016",
month = "11",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/24694452.2016.1201420",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "106",
pages = "1195--1216",
journal = "Annals of the American Association of Geographers",
issn = "2469-4452",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Pace of Landscape Change and Pediment Development in the Northeastern Sonoran Desert, United States

AU - Larson, Phillip H.

AU - Kelley, Scott B.

AU - Dorn, Ronald

AU - Seong, Yeong Bae

PY - 2016/11/1

Y1 - 2016/11/1

N2 - Pediments of the Sonoran Desert in the United States have intrigued physical geographers and geomorphologists for nearly a century. These gently sloping bedrock landforms are a staple of the desert landscape that millions visit each year. Despite the long-lived scientific curiosity, an understanding of the processes operating on the pediment has remained elusive. In this study we revisit the extensive history of pediment research. We then apply geospatial, field, and laboratory cosmogenic 10Be nuclide dating and back-scattered electron microscopy methods to assess the pace and processes of landscape change on pediment systems abutting the Salt River in Arizona. Our study focuses on the Usery pediments linked to base-level fluctuations (river terraces) of the Salt River. Relict pediment surfaces were reconstructed with dGPS data and kriging methodologies utilized in ArcGIS—based on preserved evidence of ancient pediment surfaces. 10Be ages of Salt River terraces established a chronology of incision events, where calculating the volume between the reconstructed relict pediment and modern surface topography established minimum erosion rates (∼41 mm/ka to ∼415 mm/ka). Pediment area and length appear to have a positive correlation to erosion rate and development of planar pediment surfaces. Field and laboratory observations reveal that pediment systems adjust and stabilize at each Salt River terrace. Relief reduction across the pediment begins with pediment channel incision via headward erosion. Next, tributary drainage capture begins and collapses interfluves. Lateral stream erosion promotes planation where the porosity of decayed granite along channel banks exceeds the bedrock underneath ephemeral channels.

AB - Pediments of the Sonoran Desert in the United States have intrigued physical geographers and geomorphologists for nearly a century. These gently sloping bedrock landforms are a staple of the desert landscape that millions visit each year. Despite the long-lived scientific curiosity, an understanding of the processes operating on the pediment has remained elusive. In this study we revisit the extensive history of pediment research. We then apply geospatial, field, and laboratory cosmogenic 10Be nuclide dating and back-scattered electron microscopy methods to assess the pace and processes of landscape change on pediment systems abutting the Salt River in Arizona. Our study focuses on the Usery pediments linked to base-level fluctuations (river terraces) of the Salt River. Relict pediment surfaces were reconstructed with dGPS data and kriging methodologies utilized in ArcGIS—based on preserved evidence of ancient pediment surfaces. 10Be ages of Salt River terraces established a chronology of incision events, where calculating the volume between the reconstructed relict pediment and modern surface topography established minimum erosion rates (∼41 mm/ka to ∼415 mm/ka). Pediment area and length appear to have a positive correlation to erosion rate and development of planar pediment surfaces. Field and laboratory observations reveal that pediment systems adjust and stabilize at each Salt River terrace. Relief reduction across the pediment begins with pediment channel incision via headward erosion. Next, tributary drainage capture begins and collapses interfluves. Lateral stream erosion promotes planation where the porosity of decayed granite along channel banks exceeds the bedrock underneath ephemeral channels.

KW - base level

KW - desert geomorphology

KW - landscape evolution

KW - surface reconstruction

KW - weathering

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84987887266&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84987887266&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/24694452.2016.1201420

DO - 10.1080/24694452.2016.1201420

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84987887266

VL - 106

SP - 1195

EP - 1216

JO - Annals of the American Association of Geographers

JF - Annals of the American Association of Geographers

SN - 2469-4452

IS - 6

ER -