Time-varying drainage basin development and erosion on volcanic edifices
Abstract. The erosional state of a landscape is often assessed through a series of metrics that quantify the morphology of drainage basins and divides. Such metrics have been well-explored in tectonically-active environments to evaluate the role of different processes in sculpting topography, yet relatively few works have applied these analyses to radial landforms such as volcanoes. We quantify drainage basin geometries on volcanic edifices of varying ages using common metrics (e.g., Hack’s Law, drainage density, number of basins that reach the edifice summit, as well as basin hypsometry integral, length, width, relief, and average topographic slope). Relating these measurements to the log-mean age of activity for each edifice, we find that drainage density, basin hypsometry, basin length, and basin width quantify the degree of erosional maturity for these landforms. We also explore edifice drainage basin growth and competition by conducting a divide mobility analysis on the volcanoes, finding that young volcanoes are characterized by nearly-uniform basin geometries in unstable configurations that are prone to divide migration. Finally, we analyze basin spatial geometries and outlet spacing on edifices, discovering an evolution in radial basin configurations that differ from typical linear mountain ranges. From these, we present a novel conceptual model for edifice degradation that allows new interpretations of composite volcano histories and provides predictive quantities for edifice morphologic evolution.
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