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Comptes Rendus Géoscience
Volume 338, n° 16
pages 1184-1193 (décembre 2006)
Doi : 10.1016/j.crte.2006.09.006
Received : 2 February 2006 ;  accepted : 8 September 2006
Growing mountain ranges and quenched river networks
Croissance des réseaux hydrographiques dans les chaînes de montagnes
 

Sébastien Castelltort a, , Guy Simpson b
a Laboratoire de tectonique, université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, 4, place Jussieu, 75252 Paris cedex 05, France 
b Department of Earth Sciences, ETH-Zürich, Sonneggstraße 5, CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland 

Corresponding author.
Abstract

River networks in mountain ranges owe their existence to the competing effects of tectonic uplift and climate-controlled erosion. However, paradoxically, the universal geometric properties of river networks are independent of both tectonics and climate. Currently, this paradox has still not been resolved. Here we propose a solution that consists in considering that the geometry of river networks is established on the lowland margins of incipient uplifts, and is quenched into the erosion zone as the mountain belts widen with time. In our model, the geometry of river networks simply reflects the downward coalescence of alluvial rivers on un-dissected surfaces outside of mountain belts, and is therefore independent of erosion processes. To cite this article: S. Castelltort, G. Simpson, C. R. Geoscience 338 (2006).

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.
Résumé

Les réseaux hydrographiques dans les chaînes de montagne doivent leur existence aux actions combinées du soulèvement tectonique et du climat (via les flux dʼeau). Cependant, et paradoxalement, les propriétés géométriques bien connues dʼorganisation des réseaux sont essentiellement indépendantes des contextes tectoniques et climatiques. Nous proposons une explication à ce paradoxe, dans laquelle la géométrie des réseaux hydrographiques sʼacquiert dans les plaines aux pieds des reliefs naissants, et est ensuite progressivement piégée dans la zone en érosion quand la chaîne sʼélargit. Ainsi, la géométrie des réseaux de rivières reflète simplement la coalescence dʼamont en aval des rivières sur des surfaces non encore incisées à lʼextérieur des chaînes de montagnes et est, pour cette raison, essentiellement indépendante des processus dʼérosion. Pour citer cet article : S. Castelltort, G. Simpson, C. R. Geoscience 338 (2006).

The full text of this article is available in PDF format.

Keywords : Landscape evolution, River network, Dendritic networks, Network growth, Tectonic geomorphology

Mots-clés : Évolution du paysage, Réseaux hydrographiques, Réseaux dendritiques, Croissance des réseaux, Géomorphologie tectonique




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