Using 10Be and 26Al measured in sediment and bedrock, we quantify rates of upland erosion and sediment supply to a small basin in northwestern New Mexico. This and many other similar basins in the southwestern United States have been affected by cycles of arroyo incision and backfilling several times in the past few millennia. The sediment generation (275 ± 65 g m−2 yr−1) and bedrock equivalent lowering rates (102 ± 24 m myr−1) we determine are sufficient to support at least three arroyo cycles in the past 3,000 years, consistent with rates calculated from a physical sediment budget within the basin and regional rates determined using other techniques. Nuclide concentrations measured in different sediment sources and reservoirs suggest that the arroyo is a good spatial and temporal integrator of sediment and associated nuclide concentrations from throughout the basin, that the basin is in steady-state, and that nuclide concentration is independent of sediment grain size. Differences between nuclide concentrations measured in sediment sources and reservoirs reflect sediment residence times and indicate that subcolluvial bedrock weathering on hillslopes supplies more sediment to the basin than erosion of exposed bedrock.
Additional publication details
Rates of sediment supply to arroyos from upland erosion determined using in situ produced cosmogenic 10Be and 26Al