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Title: Cosmogenic nuclide and solute flux data from central Cuban rivers emphasize the importance of both physical and chemical mass loss from tropical landscapes
Abstract. We use 25 new measurements of in situ produced cosmogenic 26Al and 10Bein river sand, paired with estimates of dissolved load flux in river water,to characterize the processes and pace of landscape change in central Cuba.Long-term erosion rates inferred from 10Be concentrations in quartzextracted from central Cuban river sand range from3.4–189 Mg km−2 yr−1 (mean 59, median 45). Dissolved loads (10–176 Mg km−2 yr−1; mean 92, median 97), calculated from stream soluteconcentrations and modeled runoff, exceed measured cosmogenic-10Be-derived erosion rates in 18 of 23 basins. This disparity mandatesthat in this environment landscape-scale mass loss is not fully representedby the cosmogenic nuclide measurements. The 26Al / 10Be ratios are lower than expected for steady-state exposure or erosion in 16 of 24 samples. Depressed 26Al / 10Be ratios occur in many of the basins that have the greatest disparity between dissolved loads (high) and erosion rates inferred from cosmogenic nuclide concentrations (low). Depressed 26Al / 10Be ratios are consistentwith the presence of a deep, mixed, regolith layer providing extendedstorage times on slopes and/or burial and extended storage during fluvialtransport. River water chemical analyses indicate that many basins with lower 26Al / 10Be ratios and high 10Be concentrations are underlain at least in part by evaporitic rocks that rapidly dissolve. Our data show that when assessing more » mass loss in humid tropical landscapes,accounting for the contribution of rock dissolution at depth is particularly important. In such warm, wet climates, mineral dissolution can occur many meters below the surface, beyond the penetration depth of most cosmic rays and thus the production of most cosmogenic nuclides. Our data suggest the importance of estimating solute fluxes and measuring paired cosmogenic nuclides to better understand the processes and rates of mass transfer at a basin scale. « less
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435 to 453
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National Science Foundation
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