2024 CSDMS meeting-091


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Landscape effects of self-formed waterfalls

Sophie Rothman, (She/her),University of Nevada, Reno Reno Nevada, United States. sophie.rothman@nevada.unr.edu
Joel Scheingross, University of Nevada, Reno Reno Nevada, United States.
Scott McCoy, University of Nevada, Reno Reno Nevada, United States.

River profiles are shaped by a combination of tectonic forcing, climatic history, and internal feedbacks. One example of internal dynamics is the self-formation of waterfalls in steep channels, which can cause erosion rates to both accelerate (‘fast waterfalls’) or decelerate (‘slow waterfalls) relative to waterfall-free reaches. We previously used a 1D stream power model with a waterfall rule to show that the self-formation of waterfalls above a threshold slope can alter river long profiles over km scales. In the 1D model, the formation of fast waterfalls results in a uniform-gradient zone maintained by a dynamic equilibrium, while slow waterfalls can cause autogenic knickpoints. However, it is not clear how these findings alter river profile form in a 2D setting in which hillslopes and channels are linked and adjacent basins can interact. Here, we ask the question: are long profile signatures from waterfall formation enhanced or erased by additional internal feedbacks, such as hillslope diffusion and planform channel adjustment? To address this knowledge gap, we implemented our waterfall model in a 2D setting, using Landlab and specifically the SPACE and hillslope diffusion components. Our results in 2D show agreement with the initial 1D implementation, and additional results show that self-formation of waterfalls can alter landscape-scale metrics, including drainage density and slope-area relationships. Additional exploration of natural variability, including stochastic rock strength show that increasing natural variability can expand the length of the affected profile.