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Title: 'Humped' soil production function: eroding Arnhem Land, Australia.
Authors: Heimsath, AM
Fink, D
Hancock, GR
Keywords: Soils
Erosion
Australia
Beryllium 10
Aluminium 26
Weathering
Issue Date: 30-Sep-2009
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Citation: Heimsath, A. M., Fink, D., & Hancock, G. R. (2009). 'Humped' soil production function: eroding Arnhem Land, Australia. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 34(12), 1674-1684.
Abstract: We report erosion rates and processes, determined from in situ-produced beryllium-10 (Be-10) and aluminum-26 (Al-26), across a soil-mantled landscape of Arnhem Land, northern Australia. Soil production rates peak under a soil thickness of about 35 cm and we observe no soil thicknesses between exposed bedrock and this thickness. These results thus quantify a well-defined 'humped' soil-production function, in contrast to functions reported for other landscapes. We compare this function to a previously reported exponential decline of soil production rates with increasing soil thickness across the passive margin exposed in the Bega Valley, south-eastern Australia, and found remarkable similarities in rates. The critical difference in this work was that the Arnhem Land landscapes were either bedrock or mantled with soils greater than about 35 cm deep, with peak soil production rates of about 20 m/Ma under 35-40 cm of soil, thus supporting previous theory and modeling results for a humped soil production function. We also show how coupling point-specific with catchment-averaged erosion rate measurements lead to a better understanding of landscape denudation. Specifically, we report a nested sampling scheme where we quantify average erosion rates from the first-order, upland catchments to the main, sixth-order channel of Tin Camp Creek. The low (similar to 5 m/Ma) rates from the main channel sediments reflect contributions from the slowly eroding stony highlands, while the channels draining our study area reflect local soil production rates (similar to 10 m/Ma off the rocky ridge; similar to 20 m/Ma from the soil mantled regions). Quantifying such rates and processes help determine spatial variations of soil thickness as well as helping to predict the sustainability of the Earth's soil resource under different erosional regimes. © 2009, Wiley-Blackwell. The definitive version is available at www3.interscience.wiley.com
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/esp.1859
http://apo.ansto.gov.au/dspace/handle/10238/2851
ISSN: 0197-9337
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