DOI: 10.3390/quat6030047 ISSN:

The Processes of Aggradation and Incision in the Channels in the Terek River Basin, the North Caucasus: The Hydrological Fluvial Archives of the Recent Past

Aleksey Sidorchuk
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes

The rates of incision and aggradation in the channels in the Terek River basin (North Caucasus) for the last 50–85 years were estimated at 18 gauging stations. The stage–discharge method (annual low water stages at the same discharges) was applied. The stability of the Terek River channel was recorded on the tectonically subsiding Tersko–Kuma Lowland. On the subsiding Kabardian Plain, channel aggradation up to 14 mm a−1 was registered. The rapid (~32 mm a−1) incision of the Terek River occurs within the antecedent valley of the rising Sunzha Ridge, causing regressive erosion and incision (~25 mm a−1) of rivers on the Ossetian Plain, despite its tectonic subsiding. The rivers in the uplifting mountains of the North Caucasus transport the sediments delivered from slopes as climatically controlled debris flows. Aggradation and incision here alternate without a visible overall trend. The rates of modern channel bed deformations are 10 to 100 times higher than the mean rates of tectonic movements. The main effect of tectonics is the changes in river channel slopes, which cause changes in the bed load transport budget and channel bed deformation. Human-made constructions induce rapid deformations in the channels but have a local effect.

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