Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
Research article
14 Mar 2019
Research article |  | 14 Mar 2019

How steady are steady-state mountain belts? A reexamination of the Olympic Mountains (Washington state, USA)

Lorenz Michel, Christoph Glotzbach, Sarah Falkowski, Byron A. Adams, and Todd A. Ehlers

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Cited articles

Adam, J., Klaeschen, D., Kukowski, N., and Flueh, E.: Upward delamination of Cascadia Basin sediment infill with landward frontal accretion thrusting caused by rapid glacial age material flux, Tectonics, 23, TC3009,, 2004. 
Adams, B. A. and Ehlers, T. A.: Deciphering topographic signals of glaciation and rock uplift in an active orogen: a case study from the Olympic Mountains, USA: Signals of glaciation and rock uplift in the Olympic Mountains, Earth Surf. Proc. Land., 42, 1680–1692,, 2017. 
Adams, B. A. and Ehlers, T. A.: Tectonic controls of Holocene erosion in a glaciated orogen, Earth Surf. Dynam., 6, 595–610,, 2018. 
Adams, B. A., Hodges, K. V., Whipple, K. X., Ehlers, T. A., van Soest, M. C., and Wartho, J.: Constraints on the tectonic and landscape evolution of the Bhutan Himalaya from thermochronometry: Late Cenozoic Evolution of Bhutan, Tectonics, 34, 1329–1347,, 2015. 
Batt, G. E. and Brandon, M. T.: Lateral thinking: 2-D interpretation of thermochronology in convergent orogenic settings, Tectonophysics, 349, 185–201,, 2002. 
Short summary
Mountain-building processes are often investigated by assuming a steady state, meaning the balance between opposing forces, like mass influx and mass outflux. This work shows that the Olympic Mountains are in flux steady state on long timescales (i.e., 14 Myr), but the flux steady state could be disturbed on shorter timescales, especially by the Plio–Pleistocene glaciation. The contribution highlights the temporally nonsteady evolution of mountain ranges.