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Allogenic and Autogenic Signals in the Stratigraphic Record of the Deep-Sea Bengal Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Article number7973
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>22/05/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Scientific Reports
Number of pages13
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The Himalayan-sourced Ganges-Brahmaputra river system and the deep-sea Bengal Fan represent Earth’s largest sediment-dispersal system. Here we present detrital zircon U-Pb provenance data from Miocene to middle Pleistocene Bengal Fan turbidites, and evaluate the influence of allogenic forcing vs. autogenic processes on signal propagation from the Himalaya to the deep sea. Our data record the strong tectonic and climatic forcing characteristic of the Himalayan system: after up to 2500 km of river transport, and >1400 km of transport by turbidity currents, the U-Pb record faithfully represents Himalayan sources. Moreover, specific U-Pb populations record Miocene integration of the Brahmaputra drainage with the Asian plate, as well as the rapid Plio-Pleistocene incision through, and exhumation of, the eastern Himalayan syntaxis. The record is, however, biased towards glacial periods when rivers were extended across the shelf in response to climate-forced sea-level fall, and discharged directly to slope canyons. Finally, only part of the record represents a Ganges or Brahmaputra provenance end-member, and most samples represent mixing from the two systems. Mixing or the lack thereof likely represents the fingerprint of autogenic delta-plain avulsions, which result in the two rivers delivering sediment separately to a shelf-margin canyon or merging together as they do today.