How Climate, Uplift and Erosion Shaped the Alpine Topography

Decades of scientific research on the European Alps have helped quantify the vast array of processes that shape the Earth’s surface. Patterns in rock exhumation, surface erosion and topographic changes can be compared to sediment yields preserved in sedimentary basins or collected from modern rivers. Erosion-driven isostatic uplift explains up to ~50% of the modern geodetic rock uplift rates; the remaining uplift reveals the importance of internal processes (tectonics, deep-seated geodynamics) and external processes (glacial rebound, topographic changes). We highlight recent methodological and conceptual developments that have contributed to our present view of the European Alps, and we provide suggestions on how to fill the gaps in our understanding.

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Lazed and Diffused: Untangling Noble Gas Thermochronometry Data for Exhumation Rates

Thermochronometric data can record the thermal history of rocks as they cool from high temperatures at depth to lower temperatures at the surface. This provides a unique perspective on the tectonic processes that form topography and the erosional processes that destroy it. However, quantitatively interpreting such data is a challenge because multiple models can do an equally good job at reproducing the data. In this article, we describe how inverse modeling can be used to improve quantitative interpretations of noble gas thermochronometric data on a variety of scales, ranging from mountain belts to individual mineral grains.

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