Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-888
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2022-888
 
07 Sep 2022
07 Sep 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Short Communication: age2exhume – A Matlab script to calculate steady-state vertical exhumation rates from thermochronologic ages in regional datasets and application to the Himalaya

Peter van der Beek1, and Taylor F. Schildgen2,1, Peter van der Beek and Taylor F. Schildgen
  • 1Institute for Geosciences, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam Germany
  • Both authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Interpreting cooling ages from multiple thermochronometric systems and/or from steep elevation transects with the help of a thermal model can provide unique insights into the spatial and temporal patterns of rock exhumation. This information can, in turn, provide clues to the driving mechanisms of landscape evolution. Although several well-established thermal models allow for a detailed exploration of how cooling (and sometimes exhumation) rates evolved in a limited area or along a transect, information from large, regional datasets has been largely underutilized. Here, we present age2exhume, a thermal model in the form of a Matlab script, which can be used to rapidly provide a synoptic overview of exhumation rates from large, regional thermochronologic datasets. The model incorporates surface temperature based on a defined lapse rate and a local relief correction that is dependent on the thermochronometric system of interest. Other inputs include sample cooling age, uncertainty, thermochronometric system, and an initial (unperturbed) geothermal gradient. The model is simplified in that it assumes steady, vertical rock-uplift and unchanging topography when calculating exhumation rates. For this reason, it does not replace more powerful and versatile thermal-kinematic models, but it has the advantage of simple implementation and rapidly calculated results. In our example dataset, we show exhumation rates calculated from 1785 cooling ages from the Himalaya associated with five different thermochronometric systems. Despite the synoptic nature of the results, we show how they reflect known segmentation patterns and changing exhumation rates in areas that have undergone structural reorganization. Moreover, the rapidly calculated results enable an exploration of the sensitivity of the results to various input parameters, and an illustration of the importance of explicit modelling of thermal fields when calculating exhumation rates from thermochronologic data.

Peter van der Beek and Taylor F. Schildgen

Status: open (until 19 Oct 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-888', Matthew Fox, 16 Sep 2022 reply

Peter van der Beek and Taylor F. Schildgen

Data sets

Thermochronology dataset for Himalaya Schildgen, T. F., van der Beek, P. A. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7053115

Model code and software

age2exhume Matlab scripts van der Beek, P. A., Schildgen, T. F. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7053218

Peter van der Beek and Taylor F. Schildgen

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Short summary
Thermochronometric data can provide unique insights into the patterns of rock exhumation and the driving mechanisms of landscape evolution. Several well-established thermal models allow for a detailed exploration of how cooling rates evolved in a limited area or along a transect, but more regional analyses have been problematic. We present age2exhume, a thermal model that can be used to rapidly provide a synoptic overview of exhumation rates from large regional thermochronologic datasets.