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  1. Temporal and spatial variations of tectonic rock uplift are generally thought to be the main controls on long-term erosion rates in various landscapes. However, rivers continuously lengthen and capture drainages in strike-slip fault systems due to ongoing motion across the fault, which can induce changes in landscape forms, drainage networks, and local erosion rates. Located along the restraining bend of the San Andreas Fault, the San Bernardino Mountains provide a suitable location for assessing the influence of topographic disequilibrium from perturbations by tectonic forcing and channel reorganization on measured erosion rates. In this study, we measured 17 new basin-averaged erosion rates using cosmogenic 10Be in river sands (hereafter, 10Be-derived erosion rates) and compiled 31 10Be-derived erosion rates from previous work. We quantify the degree of topographic disequilibrium using topographic analysis by examining hillslope and channel decoupling, the areal extent of pre-uplift surface, and drainage divide asymmetry across various landscapes. Similar to previous work, we find that erosion rates generally increase from north to south across the San Bernardino Mountains, reflecting a southward increase in tectonic activity. However, a comparison between 10Be-derived erosion rates and various topographic metrics in the southern San Bernardino Mountains suggests that the presence of transient landscape features such as relict topography and drainage-divide migration may explain local variations in 10Be-derived erosion rates. Our work shows that coupled analysis of erosion rates and topographic metrics provides tools for assessing the influence of tectonic uplift and channel reorganization on landscape evolution and 10Be-derived erosion rates in an evolving strike-slip restraining bend.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 17, 2024
  2. Abstract

    We examine major reorganizations of the terrestrial ecosystem around Mono Lake, California during the last deglacial period from 16,000–9,000 cal yr BP using pollen, microcharcoal, and coprophilous fungal spores (Sporormiella) from a deep-water sediment core. The pollen results record the assemblage, decline, and replacement of a mixed wooded community of Sierran and Great Basin taxa with Alkali Sink and Sagebrush Steppe biomes around Mono Lake. In particular, the enigmatic presence ofSequoiadendron-type pollen and its extirpation during the early Holocene hint at substantial biogeographic reorganizations on the Sierran-Great Basin ecotone during deglaciation. Rapid regional hydroclimate changes produced structural alterations in pine–juniper woodlands facilitated by increases in wildfires at 14,800 cal yr BP, 13,900 cal yr BP, and 12,800 cal yr BP. The rapid canopy changes altered the availability of herbaceous understory plants, likely putting pressure on megafauna populations, which declined in a stepwise fashion at 15,000 cal yr BP and 12,700 cal yr BP before final extirpation from Mono Basin at 11,500 cal yr BP. However, wooded vegetation communities overall remained resistant to abrupt hydroclimate changes during the late Pleistocene; instead, they gradually declined and were replaced by Alkali Sink communities in the lowlands as temperature increased into the Early Holocene, and Mono Lake regressed.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024