DOI: 10.1029/2023jf007164 ISSN: 2169-9003

Cosmogenic Nuclide Tracking of Sediment Recycling From a Frontal Siwalik Range in the Northwestern Himalaya

Sanjay Kumar Mandal, René Kapannusch, Dirk Scherler, Jason B. Barnes, Nadja Insel, Alexander L. Densmore
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Geophysics


The Himalayan orogen exports millions of tons of sediment annually to the Indo‐Gangetic foreland basin, derived from both hinterland and foreland fold‐thrust belts (FTB). Although erosion rates in the hinterland are well‐constrained, erosion rates in the foreland FTB and, by extension, the sediment flux have remained poorly constrained. Here, we quantified erosion rates and sediment flux from the Mohand Range in the northwestern Himalaya by modeling and measuring the cosmogenic radionuclide (CRN) 10Be and 26Al concentrations in modern fluvial sediments. Our model uses local geological and geophysical constraints and accounts for CRN inheritance and sediment recycling, which enables us to determine the relative contributions of the hinterland and foreland FTB sources to the CRN budget of the proximal foreland deposits. Our model predictions closely match measured concentrations for a crustal shortening rate across the Mohand Range of 8.0 ± 0.5 mm yr−1 (i.e., approximately 50% of the total shortening across the Himalaya at this longitude) since  Ma. This shortening implies a spatial gradient in erosion rates ranging from 0.42 ± 0.03 to 4.92 ± 0.34 mm yr−1, controlled by the geometry of the underlying structure. This erosion pattern corresponds to an annual sediment recycling of ∼2.0 megatons from the Mohand Range to the downstream Yamuna foreland. Converted to sediment fluxes per unit width along the Himalaya, the foreland FTB accounts for ∼21% ± 5% of the total flux entering the foreland. Because these sediments have lower 10Be concentrations than hinterland‐derived sediment, they would lead to ∼14% overestimation of 10Be‐derived erosion rates, based on Yamuna sediments in the proximal foreland.

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