Articles | Volume 9, issue 5
Earth Surf. Dynam., 9, 1301–1322, 2021
Earth Surf. Dynam., 9, 1301–1322, 2021

Research article 30 Sep 2021

Research article | 30 Sep 2021

Escarpment retreat rates derived from detrital cosmogenic nuclide concentrations

Yanyan Wang and Sean D. Willett

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Cited articles

Audet, P. and Bürgmann,, R.: Dominant role of tectonic inheritance in supercontinent cycles, Nat. Geosci., 4, 184–187,, 2011. 
Balco, G., Stone, J. O., Lifton, N. A., and Dunai, T. J.: A complete and easily accessible means of calculating surface exposure ages or erosion rates from 10Be and 26Al measurements, Quat. Geochronol., 3, 174–195,, 2008. 
Beauvais, A., Ruffet, G., Hénocque, O., and Colin, F.: Chemical and physical erosion rhythms of the West African Cenozoic morphogenesis: the 39Ar40Ar dating of supergene K-Mn oxides, J. Geophys. Res.-Earth Surf., 113, F04007,, 2008. 
Beauvais, A., Bonnet, N. J., Chardon, D., Arnaud, N., and Jayananda, M.: Very long-term stability of passive margin escarpment constrained by 40Ar/39Ar dating of K-Mn oxides, Geology, 44, 299–302,, 2016. 
Bonnet, N. J., Beauvais, A., Arnaud, N., Chardon, D., and Jayananda, M.: Cenozoic lateritic weathering and erosion history of Peninsular India from 40Ar/39Ar dating of supergene K-Mn oxides, Chem. Geol., 446, 33–53,, 2016. 
Short summary
Although great escarpment mountain ranges are characterized by high relief, modern erosion rates suggest slow rates of landscape change. We question this interpretation by presenting a new method for interpreting concentrations of cosmogenic isotopes. Our analysis shows that erosion has localized onto an escarpment face, driving retreat of the escarpment at high rates. Our quantification of this retreat rate rationalizes the high-relief, dramatic landscape with the rates of geomorphic change.