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Natural and human forcing in recent geomorphic change; case studies in the Rio de la Plata basin

Abstract: An analysis of geomorphic system's response to change in human and natural drivers in some areas within the Río de la Plata basin is presented. The aim is to determine whether an acceleration of geomorphic processes has taken place in recent years and, if so, to what extent it is due to natural (climate) or human (land-use) drivers. Study areas of different size, socio-economic and geomorphic conditions have been selected: the Río de la Plata estuary and three sub-basins within its watershed. Sediment cores were extracted and dated (210Pb) to determine sedimentation rates since the end of the 19th century. Rates were compared with time series on rainfall as well as human drivers such as population, GDP, livestock load, crop area, energy consumption or cement consumption, all of them related to human capacity to disturb land surface. Data on river discharge were also gathered. Results obtained indicate that sedimentation rates during the last century have remained essentially constant in a remote Andean basin, whereas they show important increases in the other two, particularly one located by the São Paulo metropolitan area. Rates in the estuary are somewhere in between. It appears that there is an intensification of denudation/sedimentation processes within the basin. Rainfall remained stable or varied very slightly during the period analysed and does not seem to explain increases of sedimentation rates observed. Human drivers, particularly those more directly related to capacity to disturb land surface (GDP, energy or cement consumption) show variations that suggest human forcing is a more likely explanation for the observed change in geomorphic processes. It appears that a marked increase in denudation, of a ?technological? nature, is taking place in this basin and leading to an acceleration of sediment supply. This is coherent with similar increases observed in other regions.

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 Autoría: Bonachea J., Bruschi V.M., Hurtado M.A., Forte L.M., da Silva M., Etcheverry R., Cavallotto J.L., Dantas M.F., Pejon O.J., Zuquette L.V., Bezerra M.A.d.O., Remondo J., Rivas V., Gómez-Arozamena J., Fernández G., Cendrero A.,

 Fuente: Science of the Total Environment Volume 408, Issue 13, Pages 2674 - 2695 June 2010

Editorial: Elsevier

 Fecha de publicación: 01/06/2010

Nº de páginas: 22

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.03.004

ISSN: 0048-9697,1879-1026

Proyecto español: CGL2006-11431

Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.03.004