Tectonic Geomorphology of Active Folding and Development of Transverse Drainages

Edward A. Keller, Duane E. DeVecchio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Research during the past decade on the tectonic geomorphology of active folding has mainly addressed two fundamental questions: (1) How do growing folds propagate laterally? And (2) How does transverse drainage develop across an active fold belt? Some folds in fold-and-thrust belts propagate laterally. Individual folds may propagate in one or both directions, and two folds may propagate toward each other, producing a suture zone and a longer segmented structure. Folds may also propagate laterally past one another to form an en echelon arrangement. However, rates of lateral propagation and incision of streams that traverse growing folds remain poorly defined. Adequate chronology to quantify fold growth and erosion is often not available and therefore remains one of the most significant limitations to understanding the evolution of active surface folds. As a result, structural and geomorphic analyses are utilized, which are useful but not adequate for quantifying fold growth processes. Development of transverse drainage across folds is a complex process related to the rate of uplift, lateral and vertical fold growth (including change in fold width), development of water and wind (wind) gaps, lateral diversion of channels, and change in channel geometry and unit stream power. Understanding lateral propagation has important implications for earthquake hazard. If fault length is assumed to increase with fault displacement, then the folds they produce should also increase in length. Hypothetically, as folds propagate laterally due to displacement on the underlying faults, coseismic displacement along the faults themselves may have a preferred propagation direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTreatise on Geomorphology
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780128182352
ISBN (Print)9780128182345
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Antecedent drainage
  • Earthquake hazard
  • Folding
  • Lateral propagation
  • River gap
  • Western transverse ranges
  • Wind gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)

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