Vol17 No.10: 2297-2320
【Title】Assessment of tectonic control on the development of low mountains moderate relief in the Outer Carpathians (Southern Poland)
【Author】Janusz GODZIEK;, Krzysztof GAIDZIK
【Addresses】1 Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Silesia, Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland; 2 Institute of Earth Sciences, University of Silesia, Będzińska 60, 41-200 Sosnowiec, Poland
【Corresponding author】Krzysztof GAIDZIK
【Citation】Godziek J, Gaidzik K (2020) Assessment of tectonic control on the development of low mountains moderate relief in the Outer Carpathians (Southern Poland). Journal of Mountain Science 17(10). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-020-6121-4
【Abstract】Inherited tectonic structures, ongoing tectonic deformation, and variations in relative rock uplift rates play an important role in conditioning the processes of relief development. Their influence among other factors, such as climate and lithology, can be quantified using landscape analysis, and geomorphometric indices, in particular. The usage of landscape analysis in recent years is increasing systematically due to the constant improvement of the digital elevation models and GIS software that significantly facilitate this approach. In this study, we aim to recognize the influence of tectonic structures and processes on relief development in the low mountains with moderate relief of the Soła River catchment in the Western Outer Carpathians. To this end, we calculated geomorphometric indices (river longitudinal profile, stream-length gradient index, minimum bulk erosion, relief ratio, circulatory ratio, elongation ratio, and hypsometric integral) for the Soła River and its 47 sub-catchments using a 25-m spatial resolution Digital Terrain Elevation Data Level 2. Additionally, we identified lineaments and knickpoints and correlated the computed results with local and regional fault networks, variations in lithology, and climate fluctuations. Obtained results indicate a significant impact of inherited tectonic structures on the relief development of the Soła River catchment, i.e., directions of principal ridges and valleys follow the orientation of main folds and faults recorded in this area. Anomalously high values of minimum bulk erosion, river gradient, and stream-length gradient index allowed us to define two areas with higher relative uplift rates: 1) the Soła Gorge and 2) the Beskid Żywiecki Mts. Polish Outer Carpathians are generally considered as an area of low strain rate and low seismic activity. However, the possibility of neotectonic processes should be considered in geohazard estimations. Observed bends in the direction of river valleys that do not correspond with changes in lithology could be related to active strike-slip faults. These are probably the reactivated basement structures, copied in the thin-skinned nappe cover, as a result of the accommodation of the Mur-Žilina Fault Zone resulting from the tectonic push of the Alcapa (Alpine-Carpathian-Pannonian) microplate against the European plate. Thus, the role of recent tectonic activity in relief development of the Soła River catchment even though appears to be subsidiary at the most, should not be excluded.
【Keywords】Tectonics; Landscape analysis; Relief development; Geomorphometric indices; Digital elevation model; Outer Carpathians