Title

Controls on Erosion Patterns and Sediment Transport in a Monsoonal, Tectonically Quiescent Drainage, Song Gianh, Central Vietnam

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Basin Research

Volume

29

Issue

S1

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Publication Date

4-11-2016

First Page

659

Last Page

683

Abstract

The Song Gianh is a small‐sized (~3500 km2), monsoon‐dominated river in northern central Vietnam that can be used to understand how topography and climate control continental erosion. We present major element concentrations, together with Sr and Nd isotopic compositions, of siliciclastic bulk sediments to define sediment provenance and chemical weathering intensity. These data indicate preferential sediment generation in the steep, wetter upper reaches of the Song Gianh. In contrast, detrital zircon U‐Pb ages argue for significant flux from the drier, northern Rao Tro tributary. We propose that this mismatch represents disequilibrium in basin erosion patterns driven by changing monsoon strength and the onset of agriculture across the region. Detrital apatite fission track and 10Be data from modern sediment support slowing of regional bedrock exhumation rates through the Cenozoic. If the Song Gianh is representative of coastal Vietnam then the coastal mountains may have produced around 132 000–158 000 km3 of the sediment now preserved in the Song Hong‐Yinggehai Basin (17–21% of the total), the primary depocenter of the Red River. This flux does not negate the need for drainage capture in the Red River to explain the large Cenozoic sediment volumes in that basin but does partly account for the discrepancy between preserved and eroded sediment volumes. OSL ages from terraces cluster in the Early Holocene (7.4–8.5 ka), Pre‐Industrial (550–320 year BP) and in the recent past (ca. 150 year BP). The older terraces reflect high sediment production driven by a strong monsoon, whereas the younger are the product of anthropogenic impact on the landscape caused by farming. Modern river sediment is consistently more weathered than terrace sediment consistent with reworking of old weathered soils by agricultural disruption.

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