Scherler, Dirk; Schwanghart, Wolfgang

Drainage divides are organized into tree-like networks that may record information about drainage divide mobility. However, views diverge about how to best assess divide mobility. Here, we apply a new approach of automatically extracting and ordering drainage divide networks from digital elevation models to results from landscape evolution model experiments. We compared landscapes perturbed by strike-slip faulting and spatiotemporal variations in erodibility to a reference model to assess which topographic metrics (hillslope relief, flow distance, and inline-formulaχ) are diagnostic of divide mobility. Results show that divide segments that are a minimum distance of inline-formula∼5 km from river confluences strive to attain constant values of hillslope relief and flow distance to the nearest stream. Disruptions of such patterns can be related to mobile divides that are lower than stable divides, closer to streams, and often asymmetric in shape. In general, we observe that drainage divides high up in the network, i.e., at great distances from river confluences, are more susceptible to disruptions than divides closer to these confluences and are thus more likely to record disturbance for a longer time period. We found that across-divide differences in hillslope relief proved more useful for assessing divide migration than other tested metrics. However, even stable drainage divide networks exhibit across-divide differences in any of the studied topographic metrics. Finally, we propose a new metric to quantify the connectivity of divide junctions.



Scherler, Dirk / Schwanghart, Wolfgang: Drainage divide networks – Part 2: Response to perturbations. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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Rechteinhaber: Dirk Scherler

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