Degree Year

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Geology

Advisor(s)

Amanda Schmidt

Keywords

Tibetan Plateau, River, Sinuosity, Bedrock, Landslides, Climate, Erosion rates

Abstract

Average sinuosity of bedrock rivers across the eastern Tibetan Plateau (including the Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Irrawaddy, and Tsang Po) ranges from 1.20-1.41. From 25°-30°N, sinuosity marginally increases east to west; over the entire distance of each river, sinuosity increases north to south. Increases in sinuosity parallel a regional tectonic gradient in an area with a marginal climate gradient. Several past studies correlate sinuous bedrock rivers in mountainous regions with gradients in climate, arguing that landslides are the main mechanism by which bedrock rivers increase sinuosity. Other studies find correlations between tectonics and increasing landslide frequency. To investigate the role of these and other factors in increasing bedrock river sinuosity, I tested correlations between river sinuosity and bedrock, landslides, climate, and erosion rates. I found no linear correlation between sinuosity and bedrock type, landslides, climate, or erosion rates. These results indicate that none of the proposed correlating factors- are related to increasing sinuosity in this area, and that testing for other tectonic and geomorphic proxies including slope and mean local relief could provide insight.

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Geology Commons

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