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Earthquake-triggered increase in sediment delivery from an active mountain belt

By Simon J. Dadson, Niels Hovius, Hongey Chen, W. Brian Dade, Jiun-Chuan Lin, Mei-Ling Hsu, Ching-Weei Lin, Ming-Jame Horng, Tien-Chien Chen, John Milliman and Colin P. Stark


In tectonically active mountain belts, earthquake-triggered landslides deliver large amounts of sediment to rivers. We quantify the geomorphic impact of the 1999 Mw 7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan, which triggered >20,000 landslides. Coseismic weakening of substrate material caused increased landsliding during subsequent typhoons. Most coseismic landslides remained confined to hillslopes. Downslope transport of sediment into the channel network occurred during later storms. The sequential processes have led to a factor-of-four increase in unit sediment concentration in rivers draining the epicentral area and increased the magnitude and frequency of hyperpycnal sediment delivery to the ocean. Four years after the earthquake, rates of hillslope mass wasting remain elevated in the epicentral area. \u

Topics: Earth Sciences
Year: 2004
DOI identifier: 10.1130/G20639.1
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