2019 CSDMS meeting-112
Lithologic and Climatic Controls on Rock Properties in the Guadalupe Mountains
The controls exerted on stream channel form by rock properties contribute to landscape morphology. Here we focus on understanding the effects of bedrock properties on surface processes and landscape evolution in the Guadalupe Mountains of South Eastern New Mexico. We surveyed bedrock reaches in three different watersheds, taking rock samples, Schmidt hammer measurements, and videos of reaches. We used structure for motion to generate orthomosaics of surveyed reaches from the video. We then traced fractures and determined fracture intensity, average length of fractures per square meter, for each reach. XRD data taken from samples collected in the field, along with carbonate dissolution techniques, demonstrates the minerology of reaches. In relatively small watersheds there is little climate variation which is demonstrated using PRISM climate data. Lithologic variance and channel steepness are the main control on differences in rock properties within stream channels. Steeper channels cut across more bedding planes than shallow reaches, influencing both fracture intensity and Schmidt hammer values. At the landscape scale rock strength is reflective of differential weathering due to differences in climate for similar rock types. Results from this study will help to reconcile our understanding of the effect of climate and lithology on surface processes at different scales. It will also create a widely applicable methodology for measuring, interpreting, and comparing various metrics of rock properties.