ProjectPATAGONIA_1 – Quantifying tectonic and glacial controls on topography: Patagonia, South America

Basic data

Quantifying tectonic and glacial controls on topography: Patagonia, South America
1/1/2017 to 12/31/2019
Abstract / short description:
Glacial erosion is hypothesized to exert a first order control on mountain topography. Global correlations between snowline altitudes and orogen hypsometry generally confirm this hypothesis. However, major discrepancies from this trend exist. Tectonic controls on glaciated topography constitute an underappreciated combination of forcing factors that could be the source of these discrepancies and are the focus of this proposal. Recent research suggests the Patagonian Andes are a prime example of a dominant glacial control on variations in topography. However, these topographic variations are associated with a major tectonic boundary characterized by a fourfold drop in convergence rates and oceanicBridge collision. In this revised proposal, we evaluate the hypothesis that latitudinal topographic variations in the Patagonian Andes are controlled by climate driven gradients in glacial erosion efficiency. Furthermore, we hypothesize that differential rock uplift due to recent faulting driven by oblique ridge collision inboard of the Chilean Triple Junction is linked to observed shortBwavelength changes in topography. We will measure new bedrock thermochronometer data from across fault systems with possible displacement linked to oceanicB ridge collision. Detrital thermochronometer data will be collected from latitudinally varying glaciated catchments to quantify elevation dependent variations in glacial erosion. Together, these new (and existing) data will be used to evaluate four endBmember testable outcomes that discern the tectonic vs. glacial controls on short wavelength variations in Patagonian topography.
south america
surface processes

Involved staff


Mineralogy and Geodynamics Research Area
Department of Geoscience, Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Department of Geoscience
Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen


Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

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