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Publications [#278726] of Paul A. Baker

Papers Accepted

  1. Rigsby, CA; Hemric, EM; Baker, PA, Late Quaternary Paleohydrology of the Madre de Dios River, southwestern Amazon Basin, Peru, Geomorphology, vol. 113 no. 3-4 (December, 2009), pp. 158-172, Elsevier BV, ISSN 0169-555X (v. 113, p. 158-172.) [doi]
    (last updated on 2019/09/19)

    Late Quaternary climatic and hydrologic variability triggered changes in fluvial deposition and erosion along the course of the Madre de Dios River, Peru, the largest tributary basin of the Madeira basin, itself the largest tributary basin of the Amazon. Three laterally extensive, Quaternary-age, terrace tracts are present within the Madre de Dios basin. Analysis of sedimentary facies, present in the modern cut banks and terraced sequences, along with radiocarbon dates on fossil wood and leaf material preserved in the terraced strata, allow reconstruction of the Late Quaternary depositional history of the sedimentary sequences, including determination of the approximate timing of aggradation and downcutting episodes and its relationship to the timing of past climate change in this portion of the Amazon basin and beyond. The Quaternary sediments underlying the terraces most often recorded deposition in a coarse-grained meandering fluvial system. The T3 terrace, the highest terrace, is underlain by the Miocene (?) Ipururi Formation, which is unconformably overlain by the late Miocene-Pleistocene (?) (> 48,000 cal yrs BP) Madre de Dios Formation, a multistory coarse-sandy to gravelly channel and point bar complex. The latter was downcut before 29,850 ± 100 cal yrs BP. This downcut landscape was infilled by meandering fluvial strata characterized by gravelly channel deposits in a sequence dominated by floodplain and lateral accretion deposits. These strata were in turn downcut to form the T2 terrace before 11,970 ± 100 cal yrs BP. A third episode of aggradation resulted in the deposition of a sand-dominated meandering channel complex that infilled the T2 valley and was subsequently downcut after 3780 ± 50 cal yrs BP. This most recent terrace is infilled by the modern fluvial sediment, which has been actively aggrading since at least 870 ± 50 cal yrs BP. Importantly, the Madre de Dios fluvial system actively aggraded between 30,000 and 25,000 cal yrs BP, (and likely much younger, as dated samples were, thus far, only found near the base of the T2 sequence). This observation implies that some combination of (1) increased precipitation and decreased temperature, (2) decreased evapotranspiration and increased runoff, (3) increased Andean glacial erosion and increased sediment supply, and (4) decreased atmospheric CO2 (hence decreased rain-forest primary productivity and altered rain-forest physiology/ecology), entering the last glacial maximum period brought about increased floodplain deposition in the southwestern Amazon. Elsewhere in the Amazon basin few, if any, fluvial sediments of this age range have been observed. The start of the next major phase of aggradation coincided with the Younger Dryas and suggested that floodplain sedimentation in the lowlands was again related to cold and wet conditions in the adjacent highlands (and perhaps in the lowlands as well) and that Madre de Dios history was also tied to large-scale global climate. This aggradation may have continued throughout the early and mid-Holocene, until at least 3,780 cal yr BP. If so (and this is uncertain), this episode of sedimentation took place during a dry period. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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