2022 CSDMS meeting-059

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Examining connections between tectonic stress fields, fault development, and drainage patterns on a global scale

Boontigan Kuhasubpasin, (She/Her),University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles California, United States. boontigan@ucla.edu
Carolina Lithgow-Betelloni, University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles California, United States.
Seulgi Moon, University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles California, United States.

The tectonic stress fields induced by lateral and vertical variations in the lithosphere induce crustal deformation and lead to the development of fault and topography. Surface deformation and faulting influence channel processes, which may result in changes in drainage patterns. However, there are few studies that systematically compare and examine the connections among the lithospheric stress field, fault development, and observed drainage patterns on global scales. Here, we compare the directions of the lithospheric stress field, the development of fault and topography, and drainage flow patterns. First, we model the lithospheric stress field by computing the gravitational potential energy based on the crustal structure from Crust 1.0 augmented by a thermodynamically derived mantle thickness and density. We obtain the orientations of most and least compressive horizontal stresses and their inferred regimes and compare those with the World Stress Map (2016). We then extract the directions of active faults from the Global Earthquake Model Global Active Faults Database. Lastly, we extract the river flow paths and drainage network patterns from a digital elevation model from the steepest descent direction in the eight-direction flow. Our results show that there is a general correspondence between the predicted and observed patterns of fault orientation and river flow directions with the horizontal most compressive stress direction. The predicted correspondence among stress field, fault, and drainage patterns vary depending on the stress regime and channel order. We find that some locations show river flow patterns consistent with the predicted directions from fault and topographic development based on Anderson’s fault theory, but there are certain locations that show measurable deviations from the predicted patterns. We investigate those areas to better understand the interaction among shallow subsurface stress fields, surface topography, and drainage patterns.