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Annual Sediment Transport Dynamics in the Narayani Basin, Central Nepal: Assessing the Impacts of Erosion Processes in the Annual Sediment Budget

Abstract : Identifying the roles of erosional processes in the denudation of mountain ranges requires a better understanding of erosional sensitivity to climatic, topographic, or lithologic controls. We analyzed erosion in the Narayani River basin (draining central Nepal and presenting contrasted lithologic and geochemical signatures in its outcropping rocks and a wide variety of erosional processes and climatic conditions) to assess the relative contributions of erosion processes to the annual sediment export. By combining acoustic Doppler current profiler measurements with depth profiles and daily surface samplings of the suspended load, we propose a simplified model to precisely calculate sediment fluxes at the basin outlet. We estimate an equivalent erosion rate of 1:8 þ0:35 À0:2 mm/year for the year 2010, similar to the average value of 1:6 þ0:35 À0:2 mm/year estimated from 15 years of records and long-term (~ky) denudation rates of 1.7 mm/year derived from cosmogenic nuclides. The stability of erosion is attributed to efficient buffering behavior and spatial integration in the drainage system. Strong relations between rainfall events and the sediment export suggest that the system is mainly supply limited. Combining physical calculation of sediment fluxes with grain size analyses and geochemical tracers (hydroxyl isotopic compositions, carbonate contents, and total organic carbon content), we estimate that glacial and soil erosion do not contribute more than 10% and a few percentage, respectively, to the total budget and are only detectable during premonsoon and early monsoon periods. During the monsoon, erosion by landslides and mass wasting events overwhelms the sediment budget, confirming the dominant role of these erosional processes in active mountain chains.
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Guillaume Morin, Jérôme Lavé, Christian France-Lanord, Thomas Rigaudier, Ananta Prasad Gajurel, et al.. Annual Sediment Transport Dynamics in the Narayani Basin, Central Nepal: Assessing the Impacts of Erosion Processes in the Annual Sediment Budget. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, American Geophysical Union/Wiley, 2018, 123 (10), pp.2341-2376. ⟨10.1029/2017JF004460⟩. ⟨hal-02152837⟩

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