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Yukon River incision drove organic carbon burial in the Bering Sea during global climate changes at 2.6 and 1 MaAbstract. River erosion affects the carbon cycle and thus climate by exporting terrigenous carbon to seafloor sediment and by nourishing CO2-consuming marine life. The Yukon River–Bering Sea system preserves rare source-to-sink records of these processes across profound changes in global climate during the past 5 million years (Ma). Here, we expand the terrestrial erosion record by dating terraces along the Charley River, Alaska, and explore linkages among previously published Yukon Rivertributary incision chronologies and Bering Sea sedimentation. Cosmogenic26Al/10Be isochron burial ages of Charley River terraces match previously documented central Yukon River tributary incision from 2.6 to 1.6 Ma during Pliocene–Pleistocene glacial expansion, and at 1.1 Ma during the 1.2–0.7 Ma Middle Pleistocene climate transition. Bering Sea sediments preserve 2–4-fold rate increases of Yukon River-derived continental detritus, terrestrial and marine organic carbon, and silicate microfossil deposition at 2.6–2.1 and 1.1–0.8 Ma. These tightly coupled records demonstrate elevated terrigenous nutrient and carbon export and concomitant Bering Sea productivity in response to climate-forced Yukon River incision. Carbon burial related to accelerated terrestrial erosion may contribute to CO2 drawdown across the Pliocene–Pleistocene and Middle Pleistocene climate transitions observed in many proxy records worldwide.
Geomorphic expression and slip rate of the Fairweather fault, southeast Alaska, and evidence for predecessors of the 1958 ruptureAbstract Active traces of the southern Fairweather fault were revealed by light detection and ranging (lidar) and show evidence for transpressional deformation between North America and the Yakutat block in southeast Alaska. We map the Holocene geomorphic expression of tectonic deformation along the southern 30 km of the Fairweather fault, which ruptured in the 1958 moment magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Digital maps of surficial geology, geomorphology, and active faults illustrate both strike-slip and dip-slip deformation styles within a 10°–30° double restraining bend where the southern Fairweather fault steps offshore to the Queen Charlotte fault. We measure offset landforms along the fault and calibrate legacy 14C data to reassess the rate of Holocene strike-slip motion (≥49 mm/yr), which corroborates published estimates that place most of the plate boundary motion on the Fairweather fault. Our slip-rate estimates allow a component of oblique-reverse motion to be accommodated by contractional structures west of the Fairweather fault consistent with geodetic block models. Stratigraphic and structural relations in hand-dug excavations across two active fault strands provide an incomplete paleoseismic record including evidence for up to six surface ruptures in the past 5600 years, and at least two to four events in the past 810 years. The incompletemore »