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Drainage and erosion of Cambodia's Great Lake in the middle-late Holocene: the combined role of climatic drying, base-level fall and river capture

Darby, Stephen E.; Langdon, Peter G.; Best, James L; Leyland, Julian; Hackney, Christopher; Marti, Mackenzie; Morgan, Peter R.; Ben, Savuth; Aalto, Rolf; Parsons, Daniel R.; Nicholas, Andrew P.; Leng, Melanie J.

Authors

Stephen E. Darby

Peter G. Langdon

James L Best

Julian Leyland

Christopher Hackney

Mackenzie Marti

Peter R. Morgan

Savuth Ben

Rolf Aalto

Andrew P. Nicholas

Melanie J. Leng



Abstract

We provide evidence for a large-scale geomorphic event in Cambodia’s great lake, the Tonlé Sap, during the middle Holocene. The present-day hydrology of the basin is dominated by an annual flood pulse where water from the Mekong River raises the lake level by c. 8m during the monsoon season. We present new subsurface geophysical data, allied to new and past core studies, which unequivocally show a period of major mid-Holocene erosion across the entire Tonlé Sap basin that is coincident with establishment of the lake’s flood pulse. We argue that this widespread erosion, which removed at least 1.2 m of sediment across the lake’s extent, was triggered by up to three, likely interacting, processes: (1) base-level lowering due to mid-Holocene sea-level fall, leading to (2) capture of the Tonlé Sap drainage by the Mekong River, and (3) a drying climate that also reduced lake level. Longer-term landscape evolution was thus punctuated by a rapid, river capture- and base-level fall-induced, lake drainage that established the ecosystem that flourishes today. The scale of change induced by this mid-Holocene river capture event demonstrates the susceptibility of the Tonlé Sap to ongoing changes in local base-level and hydrology induced by anthropogenic activity, such as damming and sand mining, within the Mekong River Basin.

Citation

Leng, M. J., Nicholas, A. P., Morgan, P. R., Hackney, C. R., Langdon, P. G., Best, J. L., …Penh, D. (2020). Drainage and erosion of Cambodia's Great Lake in the middle-late Holocene: the combined role of climatic drying, base-level fall and river capture. Quaternary science reviews, 236, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106265

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 9, 2020
Online Publication Date Apr 8, 2020
Publication Date May 15, 2020
Deposit Date Mar 9, 2020
Publicly Available Date Apr 9, 2022
Journal Quaternary Science Reviews
Print ISSN 0277-3791
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 236
Article Number 106265
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106265
Public URL https://hull-repository.worktribe.com/output/3467395

Files

This file is under embargo until Apr 9, 2022 due to copyright reasons.

Contact D.Parsons@hull.ac.uk to request a copy for personal use.




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