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Morphotectonic records of neotectonic activity in the vicinity of North Almora Thrust Zone, Central Kumaun Himalaya

Kothyari, Girish Ch, Kandregula, Raj Sunil, Luirei, Khayingshing
Geomorphology 2017 v.285 pp. 272-286
bedrock, mass movement, rivers, sediments, tectonics, temporal variation, terraces, valleys, watersheds, Himalayan region
The landform development and valley floor morphology of active regions is significantly controlled by tectonic processes. In the present study the upper catchments of Kosi and Gagas river valleys have been investigated with special emphasis on aggradational landforms to explain the spatial and temporal variability of aggradation/incision in response to tectonic activity during the late Quaternary and Holocene in Central Kumaun Himalaya. Major tectonic elements such as the North Almora thrust (NAT), Rasiyari fault (RF), and Gagas fault (GF) are considered to be controlling the development of landforms in the region. The valleys have preserved debris flow terraces, bedrock strath terraces, and fluviolacustrine terraces that provide signatures of tectonic activity. Morphostratigraphy of the terraces reveals that the oldest landforms are preserved in the hanging wall block of the NAT, RF, and along the GF. Reconstructions based on morphostratigraphy through the application of optical chronology suggests multiple phases of fluvial aggradation in the upper catchment of the Kosi and Gagas rivers that were initiated around 34ka. The youngest phase of aggradation is dated to be around early to mid-Holocene (7–1ka). Based on terrace morphology, four major phases of enhanced uplift have been estimated during 34, 15.8, 7, and 3ka. The older uplift event dated to be around 34ka is represented uplift along GF, which accommodated onset of valley-fill aggradation in Gagas valley. The 15.8ka event represents uplift along RF, which led to the generation of debris flow from adjacent hillslopes. The 7ka event represents uplift of a hanging wall block of the NAT and deposition of debris flow terraces. However, the youngest 3ka event represents enhanced uplift, which is responsible for the incision of the older valley fill sediments and bedrock. Following this, a phase of accelerated incision/erosion owing to an increase in uplift rate occurred, as evident from the strath terraces between 7 and 1ka.