|Review of ”How steady are steady-state mountain belts? – a re-examination of the Olympic Mountains (Washington State, USA)” by Michel et al. (second version)|
The authors have in general responded well to all the comments raised by the reviewers. However, there is a tendency that the authors try to explain their way out of the comments instead of making changes to the manuscript. For instance, both reviewers have argued that they find the 2D flux calculation needless. The fix for these comments has been to elaborate even more on the text, which just makes the manuscript longer and protracted. In the interest of making the paper clearer, more transparent and more readable, the authors may want the change this strategy.
Below are a few comments that remained while reading the revised text.
1. Perhaps my comment was not clear earlier, regarding the use of Pecube in 3D. My suggestion was to use Pecube in 3D in inversion mode. However, I agree with the authors that this could be a next step, and something for the future. But such approach would allow you to include all available data, also the ones with only one thermochron, all together. An inversion like that would not be able to fit all data, but would find the best suitable model on the basis of all data.
2. Also related to the thermos-kinematic modeling, the new comment on time-step sensitivity is not very clear (new manuscript lines 255-257). If there is nothing to gain from the sensitivity analysis I don’t see the need to include it. However, that being said, I am not sure that the original comment by reviewer 2 has been adequately met, since the authors only have tested a larger timestep and not a smaller one. But perhaps reviewer 2 has commented on this as well – the original comment by reviewer 2 on this could have been clearer.
3. A minor comment regarding the flux calculations. I appreciate the efforts the authors have made to elaborate on this. However, I still feel that the authors could be a bit more specific, and simply mention explicitly that “the variable with the greatest uncertainty is the sediment thickness” is actually “the variable with the greatest uncertainty is the sediment thickness back in time, that has now been subducted below the Olympic Mountains”. Since the authors mention that this is the variable with the largest uncertainty, I would think that they would include something on this in their new section 5.5 (on the actual numbers used for sediment thickness).
4. It is a matter of taste, and I will leave it up to the authors to decide on this, but I just want to stress once again that you don’t need to include both the 2D and 3D for influx/outflux in order to argue that the 3D is different/better. Of course 3D is different and better when there are large spatial variations in the pattern you are integrating. This is not “a new and unexpected observation” as you phrase it in your reply. Also, it is not necessary to do both 2D and 3D to link with previous work (especially since you do not discuss the actual difference between your 2D and the previous work). Your comparison of 2D/3D ends up being obvious and in fact dispensable. In the interest of making your paper clear and transparent, I would still suggest to leave it out. You can still argue that the 3D is better, just by referring to previous work.