UTILITY OR FUTILITY? ASSESSING THE VALIDITY OF PALEOCURRENT ANALYSIS IN THE AMAZONIAN ROCK RECORD
Some of the evidence for this reversal of proto-Amazon flow is based upon paleo-current analyses and detrital zircon provenance analyses. The use of paleocurrent analyses to extrapolate the behavior of a large, complex river system such as the modern Amazon or the pre-Amazonian river system has not been fully validated.
The accessible rock record of the proto-Amazon river system is sparse. However, that system as proposed is comparable to the modern Amazon River system apart from the overall flow direction: the modern system may therefore serve as a well-documented proxy for the ancient system. Here, we analyze the modern Amazon River system using hydrologic analysis of recently-released one-arcsecond SRTM data to assess the potential of reconstructing its behavior based on the rock record it would hypothetically leave. Within the modern Amazon River system water flows in all directions, with an eastward flow only predominant in the largest of its tributary rivers. We will present a detailed analysis of this system to address whether or not the eastward flow predominance could be recovered from its hypothetical rock record and whether the current evidence from the extant rock record is sufficient to draw the conclusion of westward flow that has been drawn up to this point.