2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 302-4
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM


LARIMER, Jeffrey E., Geological Sciences, University of Idaho, 875 Perimeter Dr, MS 3022, Moscow, ID 83844-3022, Moscow, ID 83843 and YANITES, Brian J., Geological Sciences, University of Idaho, 875 Perimeter Dr, MS 3022, Moscow, ID 83844-3022

Throughout the tributaries of Salmon River watershed, there is an observable break in slope that separates the low relief (<400 m deep valleys) headwaters from the high relief (1200-1600 m deep valleys) main stem of the Salmon River gorge. This transience was triggered by baselevel lowering along the Salmon River sometime during the late Cenozoic. However, the timing of the incision is unknown as is the mechanism that drove it. To provide insight into the drivers of landscape evolution in this region, we integrate field data with numerical modeling to constrain the timing of incision and gorge formation. We present 10Be cosmogenic radionuclide concentrations from bedload sediment in ten different tributaries of the mainstem Salmon located between the South Fork and the Little Salmon. The samples record basin wide erosion rates ranging from ~0.05 mm/yr in relict topography to ~0.15 mm/yr in refreshed topography over the last 103-104 yrs. These erosion rates combined with topographic metrics using channel slope and drainage area are used to calibrate an erosion model for rivers draining the Idaho Batholith rocks. Using the calibrated model, we quantify the migration of knickpoints from the mouth of the tributary to their present location in order to constrain a date for the regional baselevel change. Preliminary model results suggest an increase in the incision rate of the Salmon River occurred roughly 8 million years ago and maintains the same rate today. Finally, we discuss the implications of this date in relation to the cessation of the Columbia River Basalts (~10-15 Ma), the arrival of the Yellowstone hotspot to the Snake River plain (~8-10Ma), and the integration of the Snake River basin (~4 Ma).